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Bahrain denies bid to naturalise Syrians

Reports attributing dubious motives to aid team in Jordan refugee camp termed baseless

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 14:13 September 24, 2012
  • Gulf News

Manama: Bahrain has rejected reports claiming it has been working behind the scenes to naturalise thousands of Syrians living in a refugee camp in Jordan.

“Media reports about the granting of Bahraini nationality to Syrian refugees are baseless,” the Interior Ministry said on its Twitter account.

An intelligence firm last week said that the Bahraini government was “working to naturalise more than 5,000 Sunni Syrian refugees living in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan”.

Citing a source it did not identify, the firm said that “the government has even established a cultural centre at the camp to acquaint the refugees with Bahraini culture.”

Bahrain is setting up a mobile school complex to help 4,000 Syrian refugee children with their education.

The complex features four schools that will each accommodate 1,000 students who will be able to continue their studies in the new academic year in the Zaatari Camp in Jordan.

The setting up of the complex was ordered by Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa as a gesture to help Syrian refugees.

King Hamad said that he had ordered the Royal Charity Foundation to take the necessary measures to set up the complex as part of Bahrain’s commitment to assist the Syrian people to fulfil their aspirations.

“We want our sons and daughters among the Syrian refugees to continue their studies on time with the new academic year,” King Hamad said. “This is a religious and humanitarian duty.”

Opposition claims about mass naturalisation of foreigners by the state to alter the country’s demographics have been repeatedly rejected as baseless.

Under Bahrain’s 1963 Citizenship Law, an Arab who has lived in Bahrain for 15 years and a non-Arab who has been in the country for 25 years may apply for citizenship.

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