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|Hiam Abd El Samad|
11 February 2013 UPDATE: The Ministerial Committee established to study Lebanon’s nationality law has failed to meet the aspirations of Lebanese women married to non-nationals. In a disappointing decision, the Ministerial Committee concluded on 14 December 2012 that Lebanese women should not be granted the right to pass their nationality to their children and spouses, a decision made public on 16 January 2013. Instead, it recommended to the Prime Minister that restrictions on children of Lebanese women married to non-nationals relating to resident permits, education, work in the private sector and access to state medical care should be eased. If implemented, these recommendations are welcome in that they should alleviate the hardships experienced by the children of Lebanese women married to non-Lebanese men. However, campaigners still want removed, once and for all, the discrimination that treats Lebanese women and men differently under the nationality law.
Please continue, in support of Lebanese women campaigning for their rights, to urge the President and the Prime Minister to revise the nationality law urgently and comprehensively to ensure that all Lebanese citizens, male and female, have the equal right to confer their Lebanese nationality on their spouses and children.
Equality Now has just issued Women’s Action 36.2 - Lebanon: Give women equal citizenship rights to men under the nationality law. Equality Now commends the new regulations issued by the Minister of Labor Mr. Charbel Nahhas on 23 September 2011 introducing amendments to the labor law aiming to eliminate various forms of discrimination against the non-Lebanese spouses of Lebanese women and their children. These amendments will enhance the situation of families of Lebanese women married to non-Lebanese men, such as Hiam’s (highlighted in Women’s Action 36.1), but they do not go far enough. For example, Hiam’s family is still not able to access free health care and other social benefits due to their status as non-nationals and, if her daughters marry non-Lebanese citizens, they will have to leave the country. The Labor ministry’s positive steps therefore do not go far enough in fulfilling the rights of Lebanese women to confer their nationality to their spouses and children and to enjoy their basic human rights.
Please join us in calling upon the government of Lebanon to revise the nationality law urgently and comprehensively to ensure that all Lebanese citizens, male or female, have the equal right to confer their Lebanese nationality on their spouses and children.