GDN: A GROUP of expatriate residents banned from leaving Bahrain has appealed to participants in the National Dialogue to discuss their plight.
The Travel Ban Support Group sent a letter to Dialogue chairman Khalifa Al Dhahrani and a copy to the Crown Prince's Court.
The majority of the expats affected are in debt to banks or other financial institutions.
However, the group claims the imposition of travel bans by international banks without prior agreement goes against the International Standard Banking Practice.
It is now urging the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) to regulate such practices.
The members say those under travel bans are unable to visit family or loved ones even in cases of emergency and argue that this is a violation of basic human rights.
The most significant issue raised in the letter is in relation to the conditions of such bans and that victims are unable to acquire a work permit and therefore unable to work to pay off their debts.
"Victims of travel bans are being left stranded with no income and, therefore, with no way of paying their debts and no way out," the group says.
"This is leaving them destitute in Bahrain with no income and nowhere to live, making their circumstances worse in most case in a downward spiral of circumstances that cannot be broken.
"It is something which is unacceptable under the (United Nations) Human Rights Principles or Sharia practice," the groups says.
The group is calling on the government and other relevant bodies to come up with an immediate solution.
The letter to Mr Al Dhahrani and the ongoing campaign to find a solution have been backed by Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society. Its secretary general Faisal Fulad, a participant in the Dialogue, says this should be a very important issue for Bahrain's economic and human rights future.
The group is carrying out an awareness campaign through social networking site Facebook.
The 'Banned from Travel - Gulf States' page was recently established to assist those affected. It is administered from Bahrain and has so far gained over 70 followers.
Thirty-three people banned from leaving Bahrain have made themselves known, but it is believed hundreds more across the region are in a similar situation, according the group's spokeswoman.
Seven of those under a ban in Bahrain sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron in March seeking his intervention.
The spokeswoman said she received a letter in May to acknowledge it has been delivered, but there had been no correspondence since then.