Um Bandar: Another Victim Of Marriage With Foreigners
Saudi Gazette Report | Makkah
26 May 2014
There is a new episode in the soap opera of Saudi women married to foreigners. The heroine this time is Um Bandar who has seven children from a foreigner. Two of her children are epileptic while the others have been deprived of education, healthcare and social security assistance due to their residency status.
The tragedy does not stop there. The landlord is threatening to kick Um Bandar and her children out of their apartment if she does not pay the rent. He said he would first cut the electricity and water from them.
“My children and I have suffered a great deal since my foreign husband escaped more than 13 years ago taking all our identification papers with him,” she told Makkah daily.
Um Bandar said with her meager resources, she tried hard to obtain her children with identification papers, but to no avail.
“There is no one to take up my case or help me hire a lawyer,” she said while asking welfare lovers to help her pay the house rent and feed her children.
Um Bandar said she receives SR800 monthly from social security. “How can I pay the rent and provide for my seven children with this little money?” she said.
She said social security officials refused to pay any assistance to her children because they are foreigners, although their father had abandoned them when he escaped from the country.
“There will be no employment without education, of which my children have been deprived. They will not get any job so they will not be able to help me,” she said.
Um Bandar said she contacted the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) to find a solution for her accommodation problem. She said the NSHR sent her to one of the welfare homes, which said it would accept her alone without her children “because they are foreigners”.
She said, about two years ago, her 23-year-old son, who was epileptic, left the house and never came back. “I informed the police but nobody cared. Was it because he is a foreigner or is there another reason of which I have no knowledge of?” she asked.
NSHR member Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen said about 75,000 Saudi women face similar problems because they were married to foreigners. “No decision was issued yet to consider their children natural Saudi citizens similar to the children of Saudi men who marry foreign women,” she said.
Zain Al-Abideen said though many decisions were issued to treat their children similar to Saudi citizens, especially with regard to education, healthcare and employment, most of the government departments did not heed these decisions.
She said most of these children were born in Saudi Arabia and did not know anything about their fathers’ homelands. “These children have the right to be nationalized as long as they have not committed crimes against society,” she said.
Zain Al-Abideen asked the concerned authorities to give the children of Saudi women from foreign men the nationality just like they do to the children of Saudi men married to foreign women.
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