Nationality Campaign sit in to protest the latest presidential naturalization decree || June 25, 2014

Wed, 06/25/2014

My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family Campaign organized a symbolic sit-in yesterday at the Ryad Solh Plaza with the participation of some 300 Lebanese women married to non-nationals and their families who came from all parts of Lebanon to protest the last minuite action of former President Michel Suleyman who granted Lebanese nationality to some 700 nationals right before his end of his mandate. Women considered that this irresponsible action was dictated by confessional considerations. Slogans cited during the sit in included: “Our rights are not to be purchased or sold”. Other slogans asked for the nationality without clientelism and favoritism.
During the protest, the coordinator of the Campaign, Lina Abou Habib, highlighted that after a quick review of the names which received this gift, it was obvious that confessional and other narrow considerations were given primacy and that the President ignored the various excuses that the state was putting forward for not reforming the nationality law particularly the issue of right to return for Palestinian people. The statement of the Campaign wondered which consideration took primacy over the politicians’ eternal arguments against reforming the nationality law. The Campaign also wondered the reason for this hasty and secretive move. The Campaign also confirmed that this sit in will be followed by many others and that the Campaign’s aspiration is for a new President who respects women and citizenship rights.
Miriam Ghazal, one of the Campaign activists lambasted politicians and questions their motives and spoke of the hardship and humiliation of Lebanese women married to non nationals. She also challenged politicians who want to reinstate Lebanese nationality to thirds and fourth degree generations of immigrants who have little connections to Lebanon and are least likely to return. She confirmed that women’s right to nationality is neither for purchase or sale. Lawyer Iqbal Dughan reminded politicians that women are not alien to their countries and that the constitution safeguards equality.