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GCC countries miss chance to grant women full citizenship rights

The tensions polarizing the Gulf region could have triggered long-awaited citizenship reforms, but the right to automatically pass on nationality remains a male preserve.
Women are seen at Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque before a visit by Pope Francis in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Tony Gentile - RC187AF4AC70

Half of the Gulf Arab states imposed an abrupt blockade on neighboring Qatar June 5, 2017, and ordered their citizens to exit the emirate within 14 days, leaving people across the region dumbstruck.

Among those instructed to "return home" forthwith were thousands of men and women who often had little connection to the blockading countries other than a Saudi, Emirati or Bahraini father. But nationality in the Gulf Cooperation Council has historically followed the male bloodline and those born from a Qatari mother and a foreign father are not automatically entitled to become Qatari.

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