Global News

Global News

107 Governments Sponsor UN Resolution Calling for Women's Equal Nationality Rights

by Catherine Harrington / News

During the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), 107 countries* co-sponsored a new HRC Resolution, "The Right to a Nationality: Women's Equal Nationality Rights in Law and Practice," which calls on all governments to ensure gender equal nationality rights and urges reform in countries maintaining gender-discriminatory nationality laws in violation of countries' obligations under international law. 

HRC Event Pic medium 2Adopted by the HRC on June 30, 2016, the resolution builds on the 2012 resolution, The Right to a Nationality: Women and Children, includes stronger gender equality language, and calls for women’s equal ability to confer to children and spouses (spousal conferral was not highlighted in the previous resolution). It is hoped that the new resolution will be leveraged by women's rights activists in countries maintaining discriminatory nationality laws to support reform efforts. 

Also during the June Session, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights organized the HRC side event, "Women’s Equal Nationality Rights in Law and Practice," which was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States and, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children's Fund, UN Women, and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. Held at the Palais des Nations, the event was well-attended by Member States, UN staff and civil society.

U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, H.E. Ambassador Keith M. Harper, opened the event, stressing women’s equal nationality rights as fundamental to states' responsibility to uphold non-discrimination on the basis of sex and in the best interest of countries’ development and security. Following Ambassador Harper, Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights Manager Catherine Harrington provided an overview of the status of gender-discriminatory nationality laws worldwide, the human rights violations resulting from these laws, the relevance of international human rights conventions, and recent momentum for reform. Harrington also stressed the connection between these laws and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), emphasizing that nine out of the seventeen SDGs are negatively impacted by gender discrimination in nationality laws. The Permanent Representative of Algeria, H.E. Ambassador Boudjemâa Delmi shared Algeria’s path to reform and the many benefits to individuals, families and society-at-large. Madagascar’s Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Mr. Solofo Andrianjatovo Razafitrimo, then discussed his country’s ongoing reform efforts, including a bill presently being drafted in order to ensure Malagasy women’s equal right to confer nationality to children.

Following the panel there was an active discussion with the audience, with a number of Member States expressing their support for achieving gender equal nationality rights. Of particular note, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Her Excellency Ms. Yvette Stevens, affirmed her country’s commitment to reform its law to ensure women’s equal nationality rights.

*Original sponsors and co-sponsors:
(Original sponsors in bold)
Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa (on behalf of the States Members of the Group of African States), Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Uruguay, Ukraine, United States of America
Note: Individual duplicates in original co-sponsors (Angola and Kenya) have been removed above in view of the African Group co-sponsorship that already includes these States. Main sponsors (core group members) that are members of the African Group – Algeria and Botswana – are nevertheless kept.

Group of African States:
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Additional HRC Member and Observer Co-sponsors:
Member: Morocco
Observers: Argentina, Austria, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Greece, Guatemala, Japan, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Sri Lanka

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

254 NGOs call on Member States to address gender discrimination in nationality laws during WPS Open Debate

by Catherine Harrington / News

In advance of the UN Open Debate on Women, Peace, and Security (October 25), the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights joined 253 NGOs from 55 countries in signing the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security's Open Letter, which calls on Member States to provide an outline of concrete steps taken to reform gender discriminatory nationality laws, where relevant, in addition to other key actions needed to advance the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda.

The Security Council has noted the link between gender discriminatory nationality laws and the exacerbated vulnerability of women fleeing conflict on a number of occasions, including in UN Security Council Resolution 2122 (2013) and subsequent Open Debates on WPS and the Protection of Civilians in Conflict. 

When families from countries with gender-discriminatory nationality laws are forced to flee conflict areas, the portion of the population harmed by these laws can increase exponentially. In contexts of displacement, where fathers are often separated from their families, discriminatory nationality laws increase the risk that children born to refugee women will be rendered stateless. Today, with the greatest displacement since World War II, forced displacement and migration from countries with gender-discriminatory nationality laws threatens to create a new generation of stateless children. In addition to the increased number of families harmed by gender-discriminatory nationality laws in contexts of displacement, these laws cause already vulnerable populations of refugees, internally displaced persons, and persons living in conflict contexts to be even more insecure.  

A Loss for Gender Equality and Equal Nationality Rights in The Bahamas

by Catherine Harrington / Uncategorised

bahamas voting largePhoto source: https://www.bahamas.gov.bsThe Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights is deeply disappointed by the failure of the public referendum in The Bahamas on June 7, which sought to end discrimination on the basis of sex and enshrine the principle of equality between women and men in the Bahamian Constitution.

Three of the four bills included in the referendum sought to ensure that Bahamian women and men are treated equally in their ability to confer nationality to children and spouses. Due to the referendum’s failure, The Bahamas remains one of only twenty-seven countries worldwide – one of two in the Western Hemisphere – that denies mothers the right to confer nationality to their children on an equal basis with men. The Bahamas will also now continue to deny unmarried fathers the ability to confer nationality to their children. Because of this, today children born abroad to Bahamian women or unmarried Bahamian men continue to be at risk of being stateless – whereby no country considers them citizens – while families and spouses may be torn apart because Bahamian women are denied the ability to confer nationality to spouses, a right reserved only for Bahamian men.

The injustices embedded in the current Constitution are clear examples of gender-based discrimination. The perpetuation of this discrimination means that The Bahamas – like too many countries across the globe – remains in violation of its commitments under international law to ensure equality between women and men.

We applaud the efforts by many Bahamians, including Citizens for Constitutional Equality and government leaders, to address this discrimination. The failure of the referendum only serves to highlight the significant attention and hard work required in The Bahamas and worldwide to achieve gender equality.

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and our coalition members around the world, including in The Bahamas, remain dedicated to working for legal reforms to end gender discrimination in nationality laws. We call on the international community – government, organizations, and individuals – to join us in advocating for equal nationality rights for equal citizens, women and men.

Save

A Loss for Gender Equality and Equal Nationality Rights in The Bahamas

by Catherine Harrington / News

bahamas voting largePhoto source: https://www.bahamas.gov.bsThe Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights is deeply disappointed by the failure of the public referendum in The Bahamas on June 7, which sought to end discrimination on the basis of sex and enshrine the principle of equality between women and men in the Bahamian Constitution.

Three of the four bills included in the referendum sought to ensure that Bahamian women and men are treated equally in their ability to confer nationality to children and spouses. Due to the referendum’s failure, The Bahamas remains one of only twenty-seven countries worldwide – one of two in the Western Hemisphere – that denies mothers the right to confer nationality to their children on an equal basis with men. The Bahamas will also now continue to deny unmarried fathers the ability to confer nationality to their children. Because of this, today children born abroad to Bahamian women or unmarried Bahamian men continue to be at risk of being stateless – whereby no country considers them citizens – while families and spouses may be torn apart because Bahamian women are denied the ability to confer nationality to spouses, a right reserved only for Bahamian men.

The injustices embedded in the current Constitution are clear examples of gender-based discrimination. The perpetuation of this discrimination means that The Bahamas – like too many countries across the globe – remains in violation of its commitments under international law to ensure equality between women and men.

We applaud the efforts by many Bahamians, including Citizens for Constitutional Equality and government leaders, to address this discrimination. The failure of the referendum only serves to highlight the significant attention and hard work required in The Bahamas and worldwide to achieve gender equality.

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and our coalition members around the world, including in The Bahamas, remain dedicated to working for legal reforms to end gender discrimination in nationality laws. We call on the international community – government, organizations, and individuals – to join us in advocating for equal nationality rights for equal citizens, women and men.

Save

Save

Bahamas Coalition Joins Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

The new Bahamas-based Citizens for Constitutional Equality (CCE) is now a coalition member of the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, an international initiative that advocates for the removal of provisions that discriminate on the basis of sex from all nationality laws. CCE, which held its official launch at a March 26 public event at Anglican Holy Church Hall in Nassau, seeks to mobilize Bahamians to pass the pending constitutional referendum that would ban discrimination based on sex and guarantee equal nationality rights for men and women.

Barbados Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

by Catherine Harrington / News

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion(ISI) submittted supplemental information for the consideration of the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Barbados’ compliance towards every child’s right to acquire a nationality under Article 7 CRC. The submission focused on the denial of the child’s right to acquire a nationality in violation of Articles 2, 7 and 8 of the CRC, as a result of gender discrimination in the nationality law of Barbados. Click here to view the submission.

Chance of Citizenship Also Destroyed in Nepal

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

Natural disasters exacerbate existing legal and social problems. In Nepal, one needless law means that, of the estimated 126,000 earthquake-affected women who are currently pregnant, thousands may give birth to children who will not legally be Nepali citizens. That’s because Nepali law requires proof of the father’s citizenship. For the many unborn or newborn Nepalis whose fathers have been killed – or who have even just lost their personal documents – proof of paternity and of the father’s citizenship will be incredibly difficult.

Citizenship Through the Father “and/or” Mother in Nepal

by Catherine Harrington / Asia Pacific

After nearly eight years of deliberation by two consecutive Constituent Assemblies, Nepal’s draft Constitution, if passed, will result in a significant increase in stateless children, while allowing gender discrimination by state authorities to persist.

Enacted in the wake of the country’s decade-long civil war, the country’s current provisional constitution states that anyone “whose father or mother is a citizen of Nepal at the birth of such person” is eligible to apply for Nepali citizenship. However, Article 8(7) of the Interim Constitution states that the children of Nepali women and foreign men can only access citizenship through naturalization, not by right, through descent. There is no similar restriction on children of Nepali men. One of the consequences of Article 8(7), is that state authorities often refuse to accept citizenship applications submitted only by mothers, as they require proof of the father’s identity to establish that he is not a foreigner.

As in the 26 other countries where such discriminatory nationality laws persist, this means children denied their mother’s citizenship have limited access to public education, health care, and eventually jobs and state-recognized marriages. They are often unable to open a bank account and cannot secure a passport. Limited access to such essential human services often seriously impacts stateless persons’ long-term health and economic security. Much worse, stateless children face higher instances of child labor, trafficking and other forms of exploitation. [1]

Alarmingly, a proposed shift from the conjunction “or” to “and” in the new Constitution, if passed, promises to dramatically increase the number of children faced with these hardships and human rights violations.

Reintroduced in the January 22 meeting of the Constituent Assembly, the proposed change would require proof of both the mother and father’s Nepali citizenship in order for a child to be considered Nepali by descent.

Ironically, at the start of this latest round of Constitutional negotiations, there were high hopes that the new constitution would grant women the right to confer nationality to their children, both advancing gender equality and helping to eradicate statelessness in the country. But after an initial commitment by the major political parties, several withdrew their support and returned to advocating for citizenship only for children of Nepali fathers and mothers.

While the proposed revision threatens all single parents, it is expected that single women and their children would be particularly disadvantaged, due to discriminatory practices by local authorities. Moreover, the new Constitution is expected to continue to deny women the right to confer nationality to foreign spouses – a fact that risks breaking up families, as foreign fathers without proper documentation may be forced to work abroad.

Despite these setbacks, champions of Nepali women’s right to confer nationality to children, including the Forum for Women, Law and Development, the Nepal Civil Society Network of Citizenship Rights and the Citizenship in the Name of the Mother coalition, continue to fight for reforms in the new Constitution.

Civil Society Report on Gender Discrimination in Lebanon's Nationality Law (Arabic) / حملة " جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي " و تحالف "المساواة دون تحفظ " و منظمة " التضامن النسائي للتعلم من أجل الحقوق والتنمية والسلام "

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

تقرير

حملة " جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي " و تحالف "المساواة دون تحفظ " و منظمة " التضامن النسائي للتعلم من أجل الحقوق والتنمية والسلام " _ لبنان _


منذ خضوع لبنان للاستعرض الدوري الشامل ، في الدورة السادسة عشر لمجلس حقوق الإنسان في مقر الأمم المتحدة في جنيف اذار 2011 ، وحتى يومنا هذا فلم يحرز اي تقدم على مستوى المساواة في قانون الجنسية ، علماً انه رفض التوصية المتعلقة " بتعديل القانون المتعلق بالجنسية بحيث تتمكن جميع اللبنانيات المتزوجات من أجانب من منح جنسياتهن لأطفالهن وأزواجهن " . على الرغم من المعاناة التي تتعرض لها النساء اللبنانيات واسرهن بشكل يومي ، من عوائق في تسوية الاقامة ، وحرمان من الاستشفاء ، والتعليم والعمل والضمان الصحي والاجتماعي وغيرها من الحقوق الاساسية . وحيث أن لبنان لا يزال يتردد في الإقدام على أي خطوة من شأنها رفع الظلم عن المرأة اللبنانية التي لا زالت محرومة من حقها في منح جنسيتها لزوجها وأولادها أسوة بالمواطن الرجل . الا ان هناك بعض ما حصل :  بتاريخ 21 آذار 2012 ، استجابة لضغط الشارع وضعت لأول مرّة هذه القضية على جدول أعمال مجلس الوزراء في ، تشكلت لجنة وزارية لدراسة تعديل قانون الجنسية. وبمرور اكثر من سنة على تشكيلها جاءت توصيتها " بعدم منح المرأة حقها بإعطاء جنسيتها لأسرتها " . مستندة بقرارها على جملة من المغالطات والحجج غير المقنعة ضاربة بعرض الحائط بالدستور وبالمعاهدات الدولية :

في الشكل: 1- ذكرت كلمة "إجماع" بينما وزير الشؤون الاجتماعية عضو في اللجنة صرح في الإعلام انه لم يدعى للاجتماع ولم يوقع ولا علم له بالموضوع بتاتا. 2- جاء التقرير بعد مرور 11 يوما من لقاء اللجنة الوزارية مع حملة " جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي " و الجمعيات بناء على طلبها ولم يكن لديهم اللياقة الكافية لإبلاغنا بمقرراتهم.

في المضمون: ثمة الكثير من المغالطات، التحريفات والمواقف غير مسندة ابرزها: 1- المراجعة مؤلفة من 20 نقطة غير محكمة من حيث التسلسل المنطقي (9: شو خص الوزارة؟) وبعضها غيرمفهوم سبب الرجوع اليها (15: رابطة الدم او الارض) او متناقضة مع السياق (12: اسبقية المعاهدات الدولية) 2- الإحصاءات التي نشرت لا تظهر بتاتا الخلل الديموغرافي الطائفي الناتج عن تبني تعديل قانون الجنسية وبأحسن الحالات تظهر وجود نسبة 6% فقط من النساء اللبنانيات المتزوجات من فلسطينيين وهذا يؤكد أن فزاعة التوطين لإقرار الحق ضعيفة وواهية. 3- تظهر الفقرة 19 الخاصة باللقاء مع الهيئات النسائية التحريف، فاللقاء مع اللجنة الوزارية ركز على الحقوق بغض النظر عن أية اعتبارات أخرى، كما تمنح انطباعا بأن محور اهتمام الحملة هو الحقوق المدنية فقط بينما ما يهم الحملة هو موضوع المساواة بغض النظر عن أية اعتبارات طائفية، ناهيك عن ضرورة التركيز على مبدأ المساواة بين اللبنانيات .

في الاساسيات: ضربت المراجعة بعرض الحائط جملة اساسيات منها: 1- الدستور على حساب القوانين 2- المعاهدات الدولية في بموضوع الجنسية بحجة الدستور والقوانين اللبنانية. 3- ضرب الدستور والقوانين للاعتبارات المرتبطة بالتجاذبات السياسية، الطائفية والانتخابية. 4- التضحية بالحقوق الفردية وحقوق المواطن لحساب حقوق الطوائف.

في توصيات اللجنة: 1. ربط رفض المساواة واعطاء النساء حقوقهن طالما بقي النظام الطائفي. 2. أما بالنسبة للمقترحات الخاصة بالتسهيلات والتقديمات الاجتماعية فهي غير ذي شأن وعدد منها تم انتزاعها اصلا، اما الاجتماعية منها فهي حق للمواطن والموطنة لا منة فيها على الرغم من انها اصلا غير قابلة للتحقيق في ضوء التوجهات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية الحكومية الحالية والظروف العامة المحيطة بها.

موقف حملة جنسيتي حق لي ولاسرتي حول توصية اللجنة الوزارية : 1. رفض الأمر الواقع الذي يحاولون فرضه علينا. 2. رفض مبدأ أن الحقوق والمواطنة والمساواة خاضعة لأهواء السياسيين، التوازنات السياسية الطائفية، وحقوق الطوائف. 3. التقديمات والتسهيلات ليست بديل عن اقرار الحق وليست في صلب الموضوع الحقوقي.

بتاريخ ايلول 2013 ، اصدر رئيس الجمهورية السابق ميشال سليمان ، مرسوم تجنيس رقم 10214 ، قضى بتجنيس 112 شخصاً عربياً واجنبياً، بصورة سرية كشفت عنه احدى الوسائل الاعلامية ، دون ان ينشر في الجريدة الرسمية . وسجلت الحملة النقاط التالية : • لم يشكل صدور هذا المرسوم مفاجأة، في ضوء الممارسات الاعتباطية وغير الشفافة التي دأب عليها مسؤولونا، وللاسف، اعتاد عليها المواطن والمواطنة.

• من المعيب ان تقدم الدولة، ممثلة بركنيها الاساسيين، على الموافقة على منح الجنسية اللبنانية للاجانب، ولسخرية القدر، منحها للنساء والرجال واسرهن في آن واحد، فيما ترفض الدولة، وتحت حجج واهية، اعطاء النساء اللبنانيات الحق في منح الجنسية لاسرهن. • ان المرسوم المذكور، يكشف بشكل فاضح عن استخفاف المسؤولين بالنساء اللبنانيات وحقوقهن وعن زيف الادعاءات بالحرص على دولة المواطنة، الحقوق والقانون. ومن البديهي اذا ان لا تكون المساواة في المواطنة الكاملة والعدالة الاجتماعية من اولويات المسؤولين. • ما يدعو للاستغراب، اقدام المسؤولين على مثل هكذا خطوة، فيما البلد ومواطنيه ومواطناته في مهب الريح، بينما الطبقة السياسية الحالية تجلس عاجزة عن توفير الحد الادنى من الامان والظروف المعيشية اللائقة لابناء وبنات هذا الوطن، ولا حتى تشكيل حكومة تأخذ على عاتقها مسؤوليات معالجة المسائل الملحة التي تتفاقم يومياً بسبب الظروف الاقليمية المحيطة بلبنان.

بتاريخ أيار /مايو 2014 ، اصدر رئيس الجمهورية مرة ثانية مرسوم ، قضى بتجنيس حوالي 700 شخصاً عربيا" وأجنبيا"، وايضا تم تسريبه ونشره في الصحف .

وتأكيداً لما سبق ؛ فانه في عهد رئيس الجمهورية السابق ميشال سليمان، تم عبر مرسومين آخرهما في الاسبوع الاخير من ولايته ، تجنيس أكثر من الف شخص من جنسيات مختلفة ، والذي جاءا وفقاً لاعتبارات طائفية بحتة ومصلحية ضيقة مسقطا كل الحجج التي يرفعها المسؤولين لتأوول دون تعديل القانون .

وعليه ترفق حملة " جنسيتي حق لي ولأسرتي " والتحالف الاقليمي " مساواة دون تحفظ " و منظمة " التضامن النسائي للتعلم من اجل الحقوق والتنمية والسلام " أدناه مقترح مشروع تعديل قانون الجنسية والاسباب الموجبة لذلك

Countries that Deny Women Equal Nationality Rights

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

Nationality laws in 27 countries worldwide prevent mothers from passing their nationality to their children on an equal basis with fathers. Over 60 countries deny women equal rights with men regarding the ability to acquire, change and retain their nationality, and to confer nationality to non-national spouses.

Equal Nationality Laws Are Vital to Realizing Girls’ Rights and Security

by Catherine Harrington / News

At first glance, laws governing nationality rights might seem irrelevant to securing the rights and security of girls across the globe. But, in reality, when countries deny women and men equal nationality rights, it can result in serious violations of girls’ most basic human rights.

Nationality laws dictate one’s ability to acquire, change, retain and confer nationality. Today, 25 countries deny women equal rights to pass their nationality to their own children. Roughly 50 countries maintain some form of gender discrimination in their nationality law, including denying women the right to pass nationality to foreign spouses.

When women are denied equal rights to confer nationality to their children, children with foreign fathers are at risk of being left stateless – a status whereby no state recognizes the child as a citizen. Children may be unable to access their father’s nationality for a variety of reasons. In Nepal, a country where roughly one in four persons lack entity documents, if the mother cannot prove the father’s Nepali nationality, the child is denied citizenship by descent. Similarly, Syrian women who give birth inside the country do not have the right to pass citizenship to children unless the father is stateless or does not legally recognize the child. Syrian women who give birth outside the country do not have the right to pass citizenship to their children under any circumstance.

With countless Syrian refugee women separated from their husbands and giving birth abroad, a new generation of stateless children born to displaced Syrian women emerges. Unsurprisingly, the majority of these discriminatory laws discriminate against women, though a small number of countries deny unmarried fathers equal rights to confer to children due to outdated notions of gender and parenthood.

While discriminatory nationality laws can result in significant hardships for all members of a family – and ultimately hurt society as a whole – the impact on girls is especially damaging because of compounding discrimination faced by girls, their resulting lack of voice and overall inattention to girls’ needs.

  • Children without nationality often lack access to education, are denied entrance to university and are prevented from acquiring professional licenses upon adulthood. If they are allowed to attend school, they may be forced to pay higher fees. Because of persisting gender stereotypes, families with limited resources often prioritize boys’ education over girls’.
  • Children without nationality are often denied access to healthcare systems and social services. This means that adolescent girls who lack citizenship are denied access to essential sexual and reproductive healthcare.
  • Gender discrimination in nationality laws is linked with child marriage. Due to the lack of opportunity and insecurity experienced by stateless girls, some families view early marriage as a route to greater security for their daughters, who can access citizenship through their husbands.
  • Stateless girls are at a higher risk of being trafficked.
  • Already marginalized girls without citizenship know that as adults they will lack a political voice and be banned from running for office.

At a time when the international community is increasingly recognizing the vital role girls play in achieving peaceful, prosperous societies, gender discrimination in nationality laws prevents girls across the globe from realizing their dreams, securing their rights and fully contributing to their society and sustainable development

Gender equal nationality laws are critical to realizing a world where girls’ rights and security are protected. The good news is, with all of the complicated challenges facing the world today, ending gender discrimination in nationality laws is relatively simple with the political will.

In the past decade, over a dozen countries removed gender discrimination from their nationality laws. In some instances the addition of just two words to the law, “man or woman,”* can fix this unnecessary problem. The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights is part of a growing movement of organizations – including multiple members of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls – activists and political leaders working to ensure that nationality rights are based on citizenship, not gender. We invite you to join us in this important effort. Gender discrimination, like statelessness, has no place in the 21st century. Girls deserve a future where neither exists.

*Countries have amended their laws in the following manner to eliminate gender discrimination in the law: “The child of a [nationality] man or woman is a citizen; the spouse of a [nationality] man or woman may acquire citizenship.”

 

Event: Women’s Equal Nationality Rights in Law and Practice

by Catherine Harrington / News

The Permanent Missions of Algeria, Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Children's Fund,
UN Women, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights
and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion


have the pleasure to invite you to

Women’s Equal Nationality Rights in Law and Practice

Wednesday, June 15, 12:00-13:30
Palais de Nations, Room IX
Geneva

Panelists:

His Excellency Mr. Boudjemâa Delmi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Algeria to the United Nations in Geneva
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Solofo Andrianjatovo Razafitrimo, Representative, Permanent Mission of Madagascar to the United Nations in Geneva
Ms. Catherine Harrington, Campaign Manager, Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights

A discussion with the audience will follow panelists’ comments.

Light lunch will be provided.

All Human Rights Council 32 Attendees Are Welcome
UN badges required for entry.

Those without UN badges must RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for entry

Over50 countries deny women equal rights with menin their ability 

toacquire, change, retain or confer their nationality, resulting in significant
human rights violations and suffering for individuals and families. However, over the
past decade over a dozen states have enacted reforms to achieve
gender equal nationality laws,
while many others have committed to reforms. At the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council,
a new resolution on women’s equal nationality rights in law and practice will be proposed. During this
Human Rights Council side event, panelists will discuss the
costs of gender-discriminatory
nationality laws
, lessons learned fromreform efforts, and thepath to
achieving equal nationality rights
for women and men.

 

Human Rights Violations Resulting from Gender Discrimination in Oman's Nationality Law

by Catherine Harrington / News

Statement by the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights to inform the Universal Periodic Review of Oman

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights would like to respectfully raise the issue of gender discrimination in Oman’s nationality law for consideration during this second cycle of the country’s Universal Periodic Review.

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights (the Global Campaign) is a coalition of international and national organizations that promotes gender equality in nationality laws, so that women and men can confer, acquire, change and retain their nationality on an equal basis. The Campaign includes a Steering Committee of Equality Now, Equal Rights Trust, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, UNHCR and Women’s Refugee Commission.

Oman’s nationality law, which discriminates on the basis of gender, violates the human rights of women, their children and their spouses in violation of the state’s human rights obligations and commitments to uphold international human rights treaties.

Joint Statement on Women and Girls towards the Global Refugee and Migrant Summits

by Catherine Harrington / News

On September 19th and 20th, 2016, world leaders gather at the United Nations (UN) for two major summits on the global refugee and migration crisis – the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants co-chaired by the Governments of Jordan and Ireland and the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees convened by President Obama.

In advance of the Summit, 45 organizations, including Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights co-founder, Women's Refugee Commission, released the Joint Statement on Women and Girls towards the Global Refugee and Migrant Summits, outlining recommendations for states, as well as the specific challenges faced by displaced women and girls.

One of the ten recommendations calls on states to reform gender discriminatory nationality laws, recognizing such laws as a leading cause of statelessness; exacerbating the vulnerability of displaced women and their families; and in contravention with international law, which mandates non-discrimination on the basis of sex:

"At the Summits and beyond, states should commit to:
...
Reform gender discriminatory nationality laws to ensure that women and men have equal rights to confer nationality on their children and spouses. Gender discrimination in nationality laws is a leading cause of statelessness and has been recognized by the Security Council as a factor that exacerbates the vulnerability of displaced women and children. Further, forced displacement and migration from countries with gender-discriminatory nationality laws threatens to create a new generation of stateless children. These discriminatory laws also contravene Articles 2 and 9 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child articles 2, 7 and 8."

Such reforms were similarly called for in the new Human Rights Council Resolution, "The Right to a Nationality: Women's Equal Nationality Rights in Law and Practice," cosponsored in June 2016 by 107 governments. 

Full Joint Statement on Women and Girls towards the Global Refugee and Migrant Summits here. 

Joint submission on Bahrain to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations

by Catherine Harrington / News

In thissubmission, Equality Now, the Bahrain Women’s Union, and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights provide information and highlight concerns about sex discrimination in the law with regard to nationality in Bahrain. The submission also includes key recommendations regarding action by the government of Bahrain to better address this area of concern.

View the report here.

Joint Submission on Nepal to the Human Rights Council at the 23rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

The Nepal Civil Society Network of Citizenship Rights, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion make this submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in relation to Nepal.

This joint submission draws on the multiple years of research, advocacy, awareness raising, litigation and direct support related experience both in Nepal and internationally, of the respective member organisations of the Network and Global Campaign, and of the Institute. It focuses on the issue of gender discrimination in Nepal’s citizenship law that has a detrimental impact on Nepali women and their families – both men and women.

Download PDF below:

Nepal Civil Society Network of Citizenship Rights, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

Jordan moves towards ending discrimination against women and their children in nationality laws

by Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights / News

Shireen lives in Jordan with her children and her non-Jordanian husband. Due to the discrimination in the country’s nationality law, her passport is stamped with the note: “Children are not permitted to be included in the mother’s passport because of her husband’s different nationality”.

Shireen’s marriage is troubled, and she lives in constant fear that her husband might leave with their children – who are included on his passport. She thinks the best option for her daughter is to marry early to a Jordanian, who can help give her a sense of protection and security, which she currently does not have.

Kuwait: Give women equal citizenship rights to men

by Catherine Harrington / News

The Kuwaiti nationality law discriminates against women, preventing them from passing on their nationality to their children and spouses on an equal basis with men. This can leave them unable to access state services such as health and education, and gender discrimination in nationality laws is one of the primary causes of statelessness in the region, in addition to causing a number of other human rights violations.

Click here to call on the Kuwaiti government to enact reforms. 

“I am a Kuwaiti woman. I married a man with Canadian nationality in 1985. My husband used to work in the Kuwaiti military service and participated in the Gulf War. I have four children who were born, raised and have all studied in Kuwait. They have not known any other country and believe that Kuwait is their homeland.

“In 1997, my husband became unemployed due to the government’s policy of hiring Kuwaitis rather than foreigners, especially after the Gulf War. He was forced to leave Kuwait, and moved back to Canada.

“For the next three years I was the sole breadwinner of the family. I did not receive any financial support from the Kuwaiti government, including to help in paying the rent and the daily expenses of my children, simply because my husband was not a Kuwaiti citizen and so my children were not considered citizens either. Eventually, my financial situation and psychological health started to deteriorate, so I decided to leave with my four children and emigrate to Canada to live with my husband.

“After eight years of living in Canada, my children obtained Canadian citizenship and decided to stay in Canada permanently. They felt that they could live in dignity and without restriction when it came to finding appropriate employment, which they faced in Kuwait as they lacked Kuwaiti citizenship.

“My family, who had once felt at home together in Kuwait, were now settled in Canada. This created a lot of tension between me and my husband, as I was traveling between Canada and Kuwait, which is my home. This ultimately led to our divorce.

“Currently at 56 years of age, I am a divorcee and a cancer patient living alone in Kuwait. I feel so lonely without my children around me and with no one to take care of me.

“If I had been able to pass on my nationality to my children and husband, we may have been together in Kuwait, our homeland, and I would not have been living this miserable life.”

This is just one example of the suffering endured by thousands of Kuwaiti women who are married to non-Kuwaiti nationals. The Kuwaiti nationality law discriminates against women, preventing them from passing on their nationality to their children and spouses on an equal basis with men. This can leave them unable to access state services such as health and education, and gender discrimination in nationality laws is one of the primary causes of statelessness in the region, in addition to causing a number of other human rights violations.

The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, Kuwaiti Women Without Limits, and Equality Now (a Steering Committee member of the Global Campaign) urge Kuwait to comprehensively amend the Nationality Law to uphold its commitment to the Constitution, and comply with its international legal obligations and commitments, including Target 10.3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN in 2015, which calls on all governments to “[e]nsure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws…”

Please urge Kuwait to consider the proposed bills and strengthen them to eliminate all discrimination based on sex in the Nationality Law.

Click here to send your letter online.

Letters should go to:

Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prime Minister
H.H Jaber Al Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Speaker of the National Assembly
Mr. Marzouq Al Ghanim
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Learn more about Kuwait's Nationality Law.

Read this campaign in Arabic.

Read the letter in French, Spanishor Arabic.

Madagascar Poised to Remove Gender Discrimination from Nationality Laws

by Catherine Harrington / News

Antananarivo, Madagascar, November 5, 2015 – Madagascar, one of 27 countries that deny women the right to confer their citizenship to their children, is poised to remove this gender discrimination from its Nationality Code, a move that would ensure all citizens have equal rights to confer nationality to children and foreign spouses.

Group Madagascar 11 3 2015 smFollowing a technical workshop with parliamentarians organized by the Madagascar-based NGO Focus Development, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, Equal Rights Trust and UNHCR, more than 20 Madagascan parliamentarians signed a pledge to reform the country’s nationality code this session, bringing it into compliance with the Madagascan Constitution, which bans discrimination on the basis of sex.

Prior to a Nationality Assembly debate on the issue, Jean Max Rakotomamonjy, President of the National Assembly, met with representatives from the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, including the Focus Development, Women’s Refugee Commission, Equal Rights Trust and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). During the meeting, the President voiced his personal commitment to eradicate gender discrimination from the nationality law by putting forward a draft bill this parliamentary session.

Under Madagascar’s current Nationality Code, women can only confer nationality to children born out of wedlock, while Madagascan men confer nationality to their children in all circumstances. Madagascan women are also prevented from conferring their nationality to non-national spouses, a right that is reserved for men. In instances when Madagascan women apply for their children’s citizenship, the Code permits denial of nationality based on physical or mental disabilities. At the same time, racial discrimination in the application of the country’s nationality law has resulted in a significant portion of the Madagascan population having been denied citizenship, rendering this population stateless. Serious human rights abuses result from such laws, including lack of access to education, healthcare, employment, property rights and social services.

Madagascar Pledge 11 3 2015

During the November 3 parliamentary debate, representatives from Focus Development, the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, Equal Rights Trust, UNHCR, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), presented the case for reform to the parliamentarians. These experts emphasized the human rights violations caused by the law, as well as the need to bring the Nationality Code in line with the Madagascan Constitution and with the country’s obligations under international law to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnicity, race, religion and disability.

Speakers also highlighted that discrimination in the law inhibits the country’s development, by preventing segments of the population from contributing to the economy. Importantly, the current Code also contributes to corruption due to authorities’ discretion in the application of the law.

The gallery of the National Assembly was filled with individuals affected by the law, who provided moving testimonies on this discrimination affects their daily lives. One parliamentarian gave the example of his daughter’s son, who is denied citizenship simply because his daughter, married to a foreign man. An elderly man of South Asian descent, whose ancestors have been in Madagascar for six generations stated, “I might not look Malagasy, but in my heart I am Madagascan…We give food and even donate blood from our community for the Malagasy people. When they say that we’re not integrated in Malagasy society, we are not given an opportunity to integrate.”

Research conducted over the past year by the Equal Rights Trust documented serious human rights abuses resulting from the law, including lack of access to education, healthcare, employment, property rights, social services, and citizenship itself.

"I want to work, but I can't because I don't have a driver's licence. It is very difficult," said Yousef Abdallah, who would like to be a mechanic or chauffeur. "I feel frustrated," he added. "For the immigration services, I am not Malagasy, but I was born here, I am Malagasy."

Student Raliya Andriatsiferanarivo, whose situation is similar, told ERT her university fees were more than four times higher than those of other students because she was not considered a national.

Following government commitments, the new nationality law is expected to eliminate gender discrimination completely.

“We are overjoyed,” said Catherine Harrington, Campaign Manager for the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights. “Every day that discrimination persists in the law, individuals and their families suffer. The National Assembly has the power to end discrimination in the nationality law and we stand ready to support them in this effort.”

“Removing gender discrimination from the law would be a major step towards gender equality and eradicating statelessness,” said Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the Equal Rights Trust. “It would have huge benefits for many families across Madagascar. Their lives would be changed entirely.”

The week's events were covered by national, regionaland internationalmedia, resulting in further public attention to the negative impact of discriminatory nationality laws. 

Save