Expat driving licence ban opposed

A proposal to ban expatriates working in certain sectors from driving has received strong backlash from community leaders and activists who described it as discriminatory. The Muharraq Municipal Council resurrected a proposal to revoke the driving licenses of foreigners working in certain sectors based on concerns about traffic congestion.

The Constitutional Court threw out a similar attempt in 2014, after ruling that it was discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. “Why can’t officials study existing models in European countries such as weekend ban on vehicles in certain areas or changing truck timings during peak traffic hours, but to revoke licenses or ban expatriates in some sectors from driving will not solve the problem of traffic congestion,” said Bahrain Human Rights Watch Secretary General Faisal Fulad.

“If we look at the present trend then we can notice that on average an expat owns one old car model compared to three or four cars owned by most local families,” said Migrant Workers Protection Society Chairwoman Marietta Dias.

Developing infrastructure and public transport networks was also required to tackle congestion on Bahrain’s roads, according to Bahrain Federation for Expatriate Associations Secretary General Betsy Matthieson. “There needs to be a balanced solution that will require looking at other alternatives and I am sure a wise decision will be made on this subject”.

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