Target: Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants in Lebanon
Goal: Grant Lebanese women’s children and spouses citizenship rights.
Lebanon’s current nationality laws discriminate against women by preventing them to pass on their nationality to their children and spouses on an equal basis with men. Under a law that dates back to 1925, Lebanese women married to foreigners cannot bestow nationality on their children and spouses, granting only the kids of Lebanese men the eligibility for citizenship.
The country does extend the right to citizenship to children born in Lebanon who cannot claim citizenship elsewhere through affiliation or birth, and to those whose parents are either unknown or whose parents have unknown nationality. However children whose mothers are Lebanese and fathers are of foreign origin are denied citizenship. The archaic law has been facing backlash over the years for placing some youths at risk of statelessness. Children denied the citizenship under the law cannot work in certain fields or access public healthcare. They also need a residence permit to stay in the country, which has to be renewed every three years.
Paula Yacoubian, one of the six female lawmakers in the Lebanese parliament, has urged fellow legislators to assist in changing discriminatory laws which are an “injustice” against women.“There is so much injustice. You have thousands of kids in this country that have no rights – they are Lebanese, they grew up here, they speak only Arabic,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from her Beirut office. “It is not only about women–it is about suffering families … They don’t have a piece of paper that says that you have a nationality–it is degrading,” Yacoubian stated. Sign below and demand that these people be given equal rights.
Dear Mr. Bassil,
The laws that Lebanon has at the moment in regards to nationality are very outdated. A UN Development Program-backed study, released in 2009, found that there were 18,000 marriages between Lebanese women and foreigners in Lebanon between 1995 and 2008. All these people were denied a very basic right, that of citizenship.
Unless you grant rightful citizenship to Lebanese women and their families, you will continue to support the discrimination that these individuals are already going through. I urge you to take action and respect the people of Lebanon by adopting equal laws.
Sincerely, [Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Guillaume Piolle