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Mon 15 Sep 2014 12:28 PM

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'Qatar is still stealing our citizens': Bahrain

Bahraini official says its Gulf neighbour is continuing to lure selected Bahraini families with privileges, despite promising to stop

'Qatar is still stealing our citizens': Bahrain
Bahrain has seen near daily protests since the start of the unrest in early 2011

Bahrain has accused Qatar of continuing to steal its citizens contrary to an agreement to improve relations between the neighbouring states.

Interior Ministry Under Secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa also said Bahrainis were illegally renouncing their citizenship in favour of the privileges being offered by Qatar, Gulf Daily News reported.

Sheikh Rashid said citizenship could only be renounced with the approval of the interior ministry.

Those who breached the law could be sued, he said.

“The issue of national citizenship is a cornerstone of Bahrain's sovereignty,” GDN quoted him as saying.

In early August Sheikh Rashid said Qatar was formally selecting Bahraini families to change their citizenships, offering them “privileges”. At the time he said the GCC pact that allows citizens the freedom to move and work in any of the six member states made changing nationality unnecessary.

Later that month Qatar reported agreed to stop offering citizenship to members of other Gulf states.

Qatar has been in a high level diplomatic row with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with the later three recalling their ambassadors from Doha in March.

The key issues include Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, this week it was revealed Qatari rulers had asked seven senior members of the organisation to leave its borders.

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Jason 6 years ago

As if the Bahraini Government is not doing the same with people from all parts of the world! Why doesn't the Bahraini government try harder to lure its own citizens to KEEP their citizenship instead of blaming others for its own failure.

Nick 6 years ago

It simple Jason - they don't have the same resources as Qatar and cannot offer the same level of support to their citizens. The Bahraini Gov is making serious efforts to provide for their citizens and their coffers are being boosted by the Marshall cash - witness the public housing drive going on here right now.
BTW I am a Canadian whose Bahraini born son (Bahraini mother) cannot get a Canadian passport despite my Canadian heritage going back 400 years, however every Egyptian, Lebanese, Pakistani etc. that can get themselves over there gets a passport no questions asked, those in glass houses etc etc.

khalid 6 years ago

hello Nick,
why would the Canadian government not issue your son with a Canadian passport?
you are the father with a Canadian citizenship.
99% he should receive it. unless ?

procan 6 years ago

Nick why do you not move back home and you can bring your family.

Nick Szalay 6 years ago

Dear Khalid,

They will not issue him a passport as I was born in London and he was born in Bahrain, they will not give a passport if 2 consecutive generations are born outside Canada, this is a recently changed law and a direct result of their open immigration policy. Don't get me wrong immigration is a great and creates a vibrant society but at the expense of existing citizens ...... seems harsh to me!


Simple, I want to remain in Bahrain where I am happy and his mother is from, I believe my and my son's citizenship should not be linked to where I live - can you imagine a Bahrain or Emirati not getting citizenship for their children because they live in Canada or UK? I can't.

tony 6 years ago

Seriously, Bahrain gives citizenship to Sunnis from other countries in order to have the population be Sunnis. And then they complain about Qatar!

khalid 6 years ago

Dear Nick,
it is unfortunate for your son to be in this situation. what nationality/passport has he acquired ?
the UK has a very similar law. however, based on my limited knowledge, if you can prove your child will be stateless if he is unable to acquire any other nationality/passport; then a 'special case' might be applied.
moreover, did you not know about this law ?

Nick Szalay 6 years ago

Dear Khalid,

I do know about this and this is the avenue that I am now pursuing, lets see what happens, he has to have a passport from somewhere!