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Saudi youths call for change in citizenship laws

Sponsorship system should be abolished and anyone born in the country has the right to Saudi nationality, says symposium.

May 1, 2010 4:02 by



A Saudi Arabia youth symposium organized by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) has called for abolishing the sponsorship (kafeel) system in Saudi Arabia and to allow anyone born in the country to be given Saudi nationality.

“The sponsorship system has a number of loopholes that have not observed either the rights of the government or the foreign workers,” said Hussain Sharif, a human rights activist and a lawyer.

Sharif reiterated that public education is a universal human right, but proof of legal residence and/or citizenship by parents is required for the children to be enrolled. Sharif says loosening the rules to grant citizenship to any child born in the Kingdom would help resolve this issue. “By the power of law, every child born in the Kingdom must have the right to obtain Saudi nationality,” he said.

Meanwhile, the supervisor of WAMY’s youth teams, Mustapha Khard, denied rumors that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice opposed the event because it allowed young man and women to attend, ostensibly committing “ikhtilat” (illegal mingling of members of the opposite sex).

“This (rumor) is not true,” he said, referring to reports in the local media. “We will host the Haia (Commission) in our coming gatherings.”

Sharif said the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice is a Shariah requirement that every Muslim should observe.

“The Haia is an official organ to see that this Shariah rule is thoroughly observed, but the excessive behavior of some of its members is not acceptable,” he said.

The symposium was attended by more women than men. When the girls protested that WAMY was not taking them to seashore cabins as it does with the boys, Khard asked them not to shy away from making this request.

“You should call for your rights,” he told them.

- Arab News



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