The Al Khalifa regime is ethnically cleansing Bahrain’s Shia population, importing foreigners to replace its Shia majority. The regime is also appropriating land and excluding Shias from important government positions, such as the Ministry of the Interior, turning Shias into a marginalized population. As a result, many Shias live in poor, densely, crowded villages, lacking basic infrastructure and economic opportunities. The regime uses foreign mercenaries to enforce this.
The Al Khalifa regime excludes Shias from the security forces and imports foreigners from Pakistan and the Gulf States to create its mercenary army. These new arrivals receive priorities in housing and are ultimately naturalized as citizens.
The regime is illegally naturalizing citizens to change the population demographic. According to Article no. 3 of the 1963 Bahraini Citizenship Law, an applicant is supposed to reside in Bahrain for at least 15 years. However, the regime granted citizenship to Saudis that had never resided in Bahrain. Please refer to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights report, Discrimination in Granting Citizenship in Bahrain.
Parliament performed an investigation of land use last year and reported the Al Khalifa regime illegally transfered 65 square kilometers of land to VIP’s and royal court members. This is almost 10% of Bahrain. Abdul Jalil Khalil Ebrahim, the chairman of the committee, warned the figure could be much higher. Please refer to the article Row over land deals unsettles Bahrain election
This is serious because 44,000 low income families are on a wait list for government subsidized housing that can last 12 years or more. Meanwhile, aerial photos of Bahrain on Google Earth show a large portion of the country that is privately owned by the Al Kalifa family. Opposition editors estimate 1/3 of the land has been illegally appropriated.
*We are 17 people crowded in one small house, like many people in the southern district,* he said. *And you see on Google how many palaces there are and how the al-Khalifas [the Sunni ruling family] have the rest of the country to themselves.*
– Washington Post, November 27, 2006, qouting Mahmood, Bahraini citizen
According to the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, 20,000 – 30,000 Bahrainis are unemployed and 20,000 that are unable to work are receiving financial assistance from charity and the Ministry of Labor. This leads to a large percentage of Bahrainis in poverty if these are heads of families, up to 1/2 the population.