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The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR) published a report on: Deprivation of nationality in Saudi Arabia: a quarter of a million people, and a suffering for nearly half a century
The report pointed out that there are nearly 250 thousand inhabitants residing in Saudi Arabia without nationalities and talked about the various sufferings experienced by them due to the nonexistence of a legal status qualifying them for enjoying their civil and political rights. The report clarified that their situations are getting more complex although they have submitted complaints to the official bodies in Saudi Arabia and despite the promises made by Saudi officials.
The organization observed that the Interior Ministry had divided the Bidoon (stateless) into four groups: they are, the “Four Tribes group” (Anza, Shammar, Otaibah and Bani Khalid tribes), whose suffering ended after the issuance of decrees related to naturalization, the “Allied Tribes” who none of them obtained the nationality, the “Expired Cards” group, and the “Expired Cards” group, who have only identification certificates.
The report indicated that the foreigners in Saudi Arabia have more fortune in obtaining citizenship, since there is a law for granting them nationalities regardless of its difficulty, whereas, the Bidoon do not have any law or similar mechanism for naturalization.
The report talked about partial steps initiated by the authorities to rectify the Bidoon’s conditions, but in 2006, the law of naturalization was suspended due to fraudulence and through a secret and immediate decision made by the Interior Ministry, which the organization considered as a collective and unjustified punishment.
ESOHR confirmed that no one of the “Allied Tribes” was naturalized and an Order was issued considering all amended data as forged. In addition, the official committees which addressed the Bidoon’s issue has made discrimination towards the “Allied Tribes”, since they consider that they do not belong in origin to the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore they are not worthy of nationality.
Informed sources also reported to ESOHR that the Bidoon’s file was invested in political aspects through facilitating the travel of some Bidoon to Bahrain for purposes related to demographic and religious objectives.
With regard to the Public Citizenship System, the report emphasized that it differentiates between man and woman, where the Saudi woman cannot pass on the nationality to her Bidoon husband or to her children.
In 2015, the validity of all the Bidoon’s documents expired and anyone who wants to renew his documents become forced to sign a pledge to bring another documents from another country, before the end of the year 2020, which raises concern about their future.
The report explained in details about the suffering of the Bidoon in public jobs through depriving them of working in the governmental sector as well as in the private sector in many cases. They also face extortion and forced labor.
In addition, the Bidoon encounter problems in formal marriage registration procedure as well in the registration process of birth. They also face difficulty to enroll in education system and there are not entitled to own property or invest.
The report affirmed that the Bidoon crisis represents an evidence on the ongoing violations practiced by local and international systems accredited in Saudi Arabia, including the Basic Law of Governance.
ESOHR concluded its report saying that the suffering of the Bidoon in Saudi Arabia involves many transgressions, violations and racial discrimination and needs radical, immediate and just solutions in accordance with the norms and international conventions and treaties to guarantee all their rights.