Lebanon: Give women equal citizenship rights to men under the nationality law

Hiam Abd El Samad

UPDATE 27 FEBRUARY 2015: To renew pressure on Lebanon to grant women the equal right to pass on their nationality, on 16 January 2015, Equality Now and the Lebanese Committee for the Follow-up on Women’s Issues raised the issue with the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.

In our joint submission, we noted that though some rights for children and spouses of Lebanese women married to non-nationals had been granted, except for a provision allowing for three year residency permits, these civil rights still wait to be implemented. Moreover, this is not enough. All discrimination that treats Lebanese women and men differently under the nationality law must be eliminated. Therefore, we asked the Committee to push Lebanon to supply concrete plans and timeline to end this ongoing human rights violation. The Committee will be holding a pre-review of Lebanon in March in advance of a country visit scheduled for the Fall.

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.

Mr. Tammam Salam

Prime Minister

Mrs. Wafa Suleiman

President - National Commission of Lebanese Women