Human Rights Violations due to Syria's Nationality Law: Universal Periodic Review Submission
The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion made the following submission to the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council to inform the Universal Periodic Review of the Syrian Arab Republic. Syrian women cannot confer nationality to children unless the father is unknown or stateless and the child is born inside the country. However, even this exception is rarely applied in practice. The submission focuses on human rights violations due to gender discrimination in Syria's nationality law, including statelessness, and violations of the State’s obligations to uphold the right to non-discrimination and women’s equal human rights.
Gender discrimination in Syria’s nationality law remains within the authority and ability of the Syrian government to address, and has a deep human rights impact that is being carried across borders and over generations as a result of the conflict-driven mass forced displacement.
The discriminatory nationality law is in violation of the country's commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), in addition to being in violation of the mandate for equality found in the country's Constitution.
In the context of the Syrian conflict, law reform to addresses gender discrimination and bring Syrian nationality law into compliance with international norms and standards is more urgent than ever before. The forced displacement of a massive proportion of the population - over 9 million refugees and internally displaced persons - has meant that the risks of statelessness are amplified and transferred across borders and over generations. Outside of increasing the risk of statelessness, gender discrimination in Syria’s nationality law increases the vulnerability of women and their families.
In light of the growing and urgent human rights challenges resulting from discrmiination in Syria's nationality law, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion call for the government to take immediate action to amend/repeal all discriminatory provisions in the Syrian Nationality Act of 1969 that prevent women from acquiring, retaining and transferring citizenship on an equal basis with men. Further recommendations are included in the submission.