New Privileges for Jordanian Women's Children Denied Citizenship
Though an important step, equal rights not "privileges" needed.
Though international law guarantees each individual the right to a nationality, widespread gender discrimination in nationality laws throughout the Middle East have resulted significant numbers of children unable to access nationality in their country of residence, as well as large stateless populations. In Jordan, a country struggling to manage a growing refugee and stateless population, gender discrimination in the country’s nationality law has a profound impact, particularly on children.
Article 9 of Jordan’s nationality law stipulates that Jordanian women married to foreigners may not pass on their nationality to their spouse or children. As a result children face obstacles in accessing free treatment in public hospitals and in enrolling in public schools, and may even be rendered stateless, with no country claiming them as a citizen. Children of Jordanian men and foreign women, however, face no restrictions as they are considered citizens at birth. Jordanian men also have the right to confer their citizenship to foreign wives.
In January 2015, the government of Jordan took a step towards resolving this disparity by granting special “privileges” to non-citizen children of Jordanian women, including free education and access to health services in government institutions. Though these “privileges” are limited to children whose mothers have resided in Jordan for a minimum of five years, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights welcomes these measures as a promising, temporary step towards much needed, comprehensive reforms that guarantee equal nationality rights for women and children in Jordan.