Public awareness about Qatar’s citizenship law is low, the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has said.
Enforced in 2005, the legislation faces some challenges, Mohamed Jadallah, a senior NHRC official, told a training workshop.
The law, for instance, entitles an abandoned child to be automatically a citizen but the offspring of Qatari women married to expatriates do not enjoy this privilege, he said.
The workshop was organised by the NHRC to familiarise employees of various government agencies as well as NGO representatives who directly deal with the public, with the basic rights of the people.
It is only on certain conditions that the offspring of a Qatari woman wedded to an outsider is given Qatar’s citizenship.
Likewise, an expatriate woman married to a Qatari man is entitled to Qatar’s citizenship only after five years of marriage. She has to make a formal application to become a naturalised citizen. She loses the nationality the moment the couple divorce or the husband dies, the official said.
A naturalised Qatari can lose his nationality if he is convicted in a major criminal or civil case. Jadallah outlined various other circumstances under which a Qatari, naturalised or otherwise, can lose his citizenship
Talking about the issue of people with no citizenship, who in the local parlance are referred to as “bidoon”, Jadallah said they were common to the GCC region as a whole. The citizenship law, he said, aims at protecting the Qatari identity.
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