The Fate of the Nationality Law: No Gift on Mother’s Day

Thu, 03/22/2012

The campaign, “My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family” expresses its deep regret for the way through which the Lebanese government dealt with the right of the Lebanese women to a full citizenship during yesterday’s hearing. The government maintained its denial for women’s right to pass their nationality to their families knowing that the women had been hopeful because Prime Minister Najib Miklati listed the issue of amending the nationality law within the council of ministers’ agenda concerning Mother’s Day, a first since the law was passed in 1925.
However, and instead of passing the nationality law without any delay, the council of ministers stalled the issue once again and referred it to a ministerial committee under the pretext of “modernizing” it. Regardless of the contents of the amendment project presented by the minister of interior, the campaign considers that disregarding the urgent matters at hand and looking into a wider legal framework is something that might not yield certain results in light of the former experiences.
In addition, the campaign learned that there is a tendency within the cabinet to induce a new division among the Lebanese women themselves through the exclusion of women who are married to Palestinians, despite the theoretical disapproval of PM Mikati, under the pretext of the need to comply with clause T of the constitution, which prevents settlement. In paradox, this consideration does not apply to the Lebanese man who marries a Palestinian woman and who may pass the Lebanese nationality to her, her children and her children from an earlier marriage even if they are Palestinians. Interestingly as well, this constitutional clause is being used out of context in order to hinder the effect of another major constitutional clause that calls for equality in the rights between men and women.

It is quite surprising as well to consider that, when a Lebanese woman grants her nationality to her children, this would be an act of nationalization; while, from our legal perspective, this would actually be a right. Indeed, the children of a Lebanese woman are not foreigners that should be nationalized. They are Lebanese even if the law refuses to admit that.

Based on its main principles concerning the right to equality and full citizenship and that are based on the international agreements mainly CEDAW, the campaign has previously and still is insisting on that any amendment of the current nationality law must be based on the essence of the suggestions concerning the amendment of the nationality law that the campaign had made in the past and that call for granting the Lebanese women the right to pass their nationality to their families without any discrimination based on the husband’s nationality.

The campaign further stresses that the ministerial committee that was formed to look into the draft law must clarify the basis that it will rely on when drafting the new law, in addition to the required time frame, and the manner through which civil and especially women rights’ organizations will be involved in this process.

Finally, the campaign, “My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family” pledges to carry on with its work, to increase its communications on several levels and to enhance the alliance with all the different organizations and sides that refuse the denial of full citizenship rights to the Lebanese women.

The campaign, “My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family”
Thursday March 22, 2012