Amnesty sought for Bahrain travel ban victims
Manama, March 6, 2012
A leading human rights group in Bahrain has urged His Majesty King Hamad to declare amnesty to victims of travel ban in the kingdom.
Making a plea for compassion, Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society (BHRWS) sought amnesty for victims held for more than 2 years on a travel ban. It also urged that all victims to be allowed to work.
An earlier report said nearly 4,000 people have been stranded in Bahrain for years as a result of travel bans imposed on them following legal battles over non-repayment of bank debts and credit card bills.
Faisal Fulad, secretary general of BHRWS, said: “We have heard his Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa profess his commitment to upholding human rights and, therefore, we ask that he shows compassion and declares an amnesty for all victims who have been held in Bahrain in complete violation of their rights for anytime more than 2 years. We also ask that all with a travel ban are given a right to work.”
Fulad highlighted the large number of victims being held in Bahrain by travel ban, often because of debts incurred, in some cases because they have not been paid by their employer in others because they have run into real financial difficulty. The travel ban then stops people from proceeding with a work visa and then the debts can never be paid off because they are not allowed to earn, leaving victims facing penury.
He also pointed out his concern that the travel ban system is being abused by banks, in complete violation of the International Code of Banking Practice, which states that all consequences of non-payment of loans or credit cards should be agreed in advance.
In all cases there is no agreement to such consequences and Bahrain is, therefore, risking its reputation as a centre of finance with such practice.
“The use of travel bans in Bahrain by international banks who do not implement such practice in other countries because it is illegal, should be investigated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, and if they are not prepared to look into this abuse of the system, international regulators will be contacted to do so,” Fulad said. - TradeArabia News Service