Bahrain pushing shift in demographics

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Middle East
Friday, 15 July 2011

shiitenews_Bahrain_pushing_shift_in_demographicsBahrain is pressing ahead with a policy to change the demographics in the crisis-hit Persian Gulf state by granting full citizenship to the stateless Bidun residents of Kuwait, a report says.

Bahrain's main opposition party al-Wefaq says the regime of Al Khalifa has been granting citizenship to a broad range of residents from other Persian Gulf littoral countries since 2001 in a bid to make major changes in the demographics of the island nation.

According to the Shiite News monitoring desk report, the Bidun residents should apply for a Bahraini passport in a third-party country. They can then petition for Bahraini citizenship after arrival in Manama.

The decision comes after an agreement between Kuwait City and Manama.

The move by the Al Khalifa regime will result in unfavorable social, economic and political outcomes, says al-Wefaq.

The stateless residents have lived in Kuwait since its independence from Britain in 1961, but Kuwaiti law bans courts from ruling on citizenship claims of the Bidun.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Bidun in Kuwait live under “vulnerable” conditions and “without protection,” and the government considers them “illegal residents.”

Thousands of anti-government protesters have been waging rallies in Bahrain since mid-February, demanding an end to Al Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the country for over 40 years.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds arrested so far in government clampdown on peaceful demonstrations.

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