Target: Bahraini authorities
Goal: Restore citizenship to Bahraini activists who were arbitrarily made stateless
Bahraini authorities recently declared that 31 Bahraini citizens be stripped of their citizenship for alleged claims of harming the nation’s security. Due process was blatantly ignored in the decision and some of those individuals affected only discovered their sudden statelessness through media coverage. This arbitrary action disregards obligations under international law and violates human rights. Call upon the Bahraini authorities to revoke this decision, both reinstating the citizenship of these individuals and ensuring that this never happens again.
It is perhaps no surprise that the 31 affected Bahrainis were political activists, lawyers, and human rights activists, all in opposition to the government. This is the latest in a series of government-led efforts to target and silence opposition voices, following in the wake of government suppression of peaceful protests. Again, pointing to the threat of violence—this time in the form of “damaging the security of the state,” as detailed by the Bahraini Citizenship Act of 1963—the government has stepped in with little regard for the basic rights of its people. In a country where political dissent is equated with damage to national security, it seems democratic values and human rights have an uphill battle.
Reports say that only six of the 31 individuals deprived of Bahraini citizenship have citizenship elsewhere, making 25 Bahrainis stateless. International law in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is quite clear, though: “everyone has the right to a nationality” of which he/she “shall [not] be arbitrarily deprived” (Article 15). And yet, no other word but “arbitrary” seems appropriate in this situation—those 31 individuals affected were not informed of legal action taken against them, nor were they informed that their citizenships were being revoked. The only “crime” committed was speaking out against the current administration.
Blatant disregard for human rights, freedom of speech and expression, and international law standards cannot be ignored. Ask that the Bahraini authorities reinstate citizenship and uphold the basic rights of these activists.
Dear Bahraini authorities,
The recent decision to revoke the citizenship of 31 Bahraini citizens is a blatant disregard for international law and human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that “everyone has the right to a nationality” of which he/she “shall [not] be arbitrarily deprived” (Article 15). Yet these 31 individuals were stripped of their citizenship without being informed of any legal action taken against them. Many only discovered their new stateless status through media coverage.
It is hard to believe that this action is not “arbitrary.” It appears to be only the most recent manifestation of government-led efforts to silence opposition voices. Those individuals deprived of their right to citizenship were political activists, lawyers, and rights activists. Political dissent can not and should not be equated with “damaging” the security of the Bahraini nation.
I ask that you reinstate the citizenship of these individuals and work to enter into peaceful dialogue with those who oppose the government. Only through inclusive dialogue can progress be made.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jonrawlinson via Flickr