Saudi families face long wait to resolve identity crisis
Groups of people who have been living in the Kingdom their whole lives face identity crises. Some of them have Saudi nationality, but their children haven’t been recorded in the register of the Civil Affairs Ministry despite their efforts. Others have been living in the Kingdom for over 50 years, and don’t know anything about the country of their non-Saudi parents.
Whatever the case, the consequent situation has prevented them from enjoying basic rights for education, treatment of diseases, marriage and movement from one place to another, among others. There were difficulties even for burial of those passed away among them in the absence of necessary documents to prove their identity, according to a report in Al-Riyadh newspaper.
These people hardly get any support to complete the necessary procedures to solve their identity crisis. Factors such as financial difficulties or health problems further complicate the matter, as do complications when they approach the concerned government departments to complete procedures.
Some of these people with identity crisis married Saudi women and had children. Their sons could get citizenship on the ground that their mothers were Saudis, but this was not the case with their fathers and sisters.
Similar is the case with the tribal people living on the southern and northern border regions of Saudi Arabia. Despite royal orders to legalize their stay in the Kingdom, these are yet to materialize.
Speaking to the newspaper, a number of people who approached the Civil Affairs Ministry offices in various cities and villages in Jazan Province shared their miserable conditions and frustration over their futile attempts to regularize their status in the Kingdom.
Ali Hajouri is one of these people with an ‘identity crisis.’ Born in 1361Hijri (1942) in the village of Al-Khashal in Jazan region, Ali Hajouri has a 10-member family. A document from Al-Khoba court shows this. His grandparents entered the Kingdom from Yemen 90 years ago. Ali Hajouri grew up in Jazan region, and moved after he got married 55 years ago to Asir region, where he worked for several Saudi companies. “My children, who studied at various schools in Jazan and Asir regions, have no documents to prove their identity other than their birth certificates and ration cards.”
In 1390 Hijri (1970), he was asked to produce an ID-document as a condition to remain in the job as well as to continue education for his children. With the help of a Yemeni village chief on the common border region, he managed to obtain a document showing his entry into the Kingdom.
With that document, Hajouri approached several civil affairs offices, but nothing happened. “My difficult financial conditions and health problems have prevented me from doing follow-up work. I am also facing difficulties to travel because of vehicle drivers’ reluctance to take me without having a valid ID.”
Abdul Muhammad Al-Sharaheeli said that he and his wife were Saudis of origin. “I have served the armed forces for more than 25 years. As I was fully engaged in this, I could not find time to add the names of my children to the register of the Civil Affairs Department.” He continued, telling how he was able to devote time for this only after retirement from service. This incurred him huge losses and inexplicable difficulties over the past seven years while attempting to complete the procedures of registration. “When I asked an official at the Samitah Civil Affairs office about the delay, he replied that there were people who had been in the waiting list for 36 years,” he said.
Another example is Mousa Hassan Hussein Houban, who applied for an ID at Jazan Civil Affairs office nearly 30 years ago.
“I am still waiting for it. Without an ID card, I was barred from many of my legitimate rights throughout life. I have a six-year-old girl with special needs, but I could not travel for her treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ali bin Olush Modkhali, director general of the Civil Affairs in Jazan Region, virtually agreed to the poor performance of its offices in Samta, Abu Arish, Sabya and Jazan. “During a recent inspection tour of the offices, I came to know that these offices are not up to the expectations. The staffers are not punctual and there have been piling up of files without disposing them promptly,” he said while drawing attention to the insufficient number of staffers at these offices.
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