No nationality for the children of Bahraini women

For decades, Bahraini women have been striving, in cooperation with human rights organizations and women’s associations, to amend Bahrain’s law regarding the right to grant the mother’s nationality to her children from a non-Bahraini father.  As this issue represents one of the most important basic social and humanitarian issues in Bahrain, as it has many negative consequences on the community and family levels.

When a Bahraini woman marries a non-Bahraini, her children are considered “non-citizens” and deprived of their basic rights such as higher education, permanent residency, political participation, the right to own property, housing services and loans, employment, a sense of stability and security, and others.

And according to Article No. 4 “Paragraph B” of the Bahraini Nationality Law, “a Bahraini woman cannot pass her nationality on to her children unless their father is unknown, or without a nationality, or if their paternal lineage is not legally proven.”  This article contradicts Article No. 18 of the Constitution of Bahrain, which affirms that all people are equal in dignity, rights and duties.

Among the cases that were monitored, the citizen Amira, who is married to a foreign man, and has two children, Amira was unable to grant her children citizenship, and they became foreigners even though they were born and raised in Manama, and they are deprived of their most basic rights, which are scholarships, housing  employment, and others.  Amira’s condition is like that of thousands of women who face the same tragic reality and hope to respond to their demands and change this dangerous reality by giving everyone their right.

In addition, female citizens who are unable to pass their nationality on to their children suffer from the problem of inheriting their children. A woman cannot protect her children’s inheritance under the pretext that a foreigner has no right to own property in Bahrain.  Here, we must mention that Article 9, Paragraph 2, of CEDAW state the following: The countries that have ratified the Convention must grant women an equal right with men with regard to the nationality of their children.  Bahrain is a party to this convention in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women, as the Bahraini nationality law violates at least 6 articles of the convention.

Based on the foregoing, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the government of Bahrain to:

  1. Maintain and respect the status and rights of women, and provide justice to all members of society
  2. Ensure that the Bahraini nationality law is compatible with international agreements, especially those that concern the right to grant nationality.
  3. Ensure the fulfillment of all its international obligations in the field of human rights, equality between women and men, and non-discrimination.