New Law to Improve the Situation of Bahraini Women Married to Foreigners

After its adoption by the legislative authority, the King has approved Law 35 for 2009 which states that foreign wives married to Bahrainis and the children of Bahraini women married to foreign men are to be treated as Bahraini citizens with regards to service fees. This includes health, education and residence fees provided that they are permanent residents in Bahrain.

Women organizations, including the Supreme Council for Women, have repeatedly demanded the authorities to solve the problems of Bahraini women married to foreigners and granting their children the right to become Bahraini citizens. The issuing of this law was the first step in dealing with this file. On 9 July 2009, the Council also recommended that Bahrain removes its reservations regarding the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discriminations against Women (CEDAW); especially Article 9 (2) which states that ‘state parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children’. As well as Article 15 (4) which states that ‘state parties shall accord to men and women the same rights with regards to law relating to the movements of persons and the freedom to choose their residence and domicile’. This is based on women’s right to move and reside which is granted by the Charter and Constitution. This recommendation by the Council was part of its proposal to amend the Bahraini Nationality Law.