Special court to deal with travel bans backed
Manama, March 2, 2014
Immigration officials have backed calls to establish a specialised court dedicated to dealing with people with travel bans.
Campaigners say a separate body within the government should also be created to help hundreds of destitute foreigners stranded in Bahrain due to debt, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
An awareness campaign launched alongside the initiatives would ensure all parties involved are aware of the guidelines on dealing with unpaid debts, said Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) Under-Secretary Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
"I would welcome any agreement that would streamline these cases and I support the idea of a separate court or any other measures that would streamline this situation for expats and Bahrainis," he told the GDN.
"I also believe that if you are going to give someone a travel ban and there is no other way you must inform that person because we are getting situations where people arrive at the airport and check in only to find they cannot leave the country because of a travel ban they were unaware of.
"This is a subject very close to me and I really want to find a way to simplify the situation, either by establishing a separate court or some sort of body to help these people and to deal with these cases.
"Raising awareness is also important to give people, as well as lawyers, banks, phone companies and car hire companies, correct guidelines."
Members of the Banned From Travel group have been working alongside immigration officials to help expatriates, especially Britons, stranded in Bahrain.
One volunteer, who has been working undercover for years, has blamed bureaucracy for delays in sending travel ban victims home.
"I find Bahrainis are very sympathetic people, they don't like to see people suffering," said the Bahrain resident, only known as Jeff.
"It is just the bureaucracy that makes it so difficult and I have to navigate through a maze of different departments.
"If the government was more transparent and proper channels were set up to deal with travel bans, like a dedicated court and department, things would be much easier."
He has called on the government to create a separate court to handle travel ban cases. - TradeArabia News Service