The committee assigned to identify abandoned UAE nationals born abroad has finished examining 23 youths in Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The committee, made up of members from the Interior Ministry, is attempting to locate children with Emirati fathers and foreign mothers who wish to reunite with their families. To accomplish this, it is travelling to several countries throughout the region to check the authenticity of marriage and birth certificates, and to conduct DNA tests to verify the heritage of the applicants. The most recent trip was conducted as part of a programme to strengthen the connection of foreign Emirati children with their native land.
After completing a tour of the GCC states, the committee said it had also examined the claims of children in Mumbai, Egypt and Syria. The UAE has one of the highest divorce rates in the Arab world, with four out of 10 marriages ending. As a result, the country fears untold numbers of Emirati children could be being born abroad with little connection to their ancestral home and heritage. Children who meet the committee's requirements will be granted citizenship and permitted to live in the UAE with their mothers. They are also expected to be enrolled in programmes that will teach them Emirati culture and traditions.
The Interior Ministry said it would work with the Ministry of Social Affairs to help any newly arrived nationals fit in. The number of applicants who have passed the tests required to be considered citizens should be known by later this year. "It does not come as a surprise to hear of children of an Emirati father and a foreign mother struggling with a broken home," Sheikh Rashid al Mansori, an expert in Islamic family science and a director at Al Farha Academy in Dubai, observed this month. "But if these are cases of abandonment, then it is a great shame and the fathers should take responsibility for their actions."