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Conflict Incident Report
Hundreds demand women’s right to pass on nationality
The “My Nationality is My Dignity” campaign protested in support of granting Lebanese women the ability to pass their nationality onto their children, an issue that recently returned to the fore after the passage of a naturalization decree.
Demonstrators gathered at Riad al-Solh square in Downtown Beirut, calling to overturn laws that currently prohibit Lebanese women from passing their citizenship onto their children and foreign spouses.
The protest comes after President Michel Aoun signed a controversial naturalization decree to grant Lebanese citizenship to over 400 foreign nationals, to the outrage of those who have supported the cause of the My Nationality is My Dignity campaign.
“Today we gather from different areas in Lebanon to denounce the naturalization decree, and to denounce the marginalization of the children of Lebanese mothers married to foreigners, [and the marginalization of] stateless people or those whose [status] is understudy,” campaign coordinator Mustafa Shaar said at the protest, according to a statement released by the campaign.
While such naturalization decrees are not uncommon or unconstitutional, the timing and secrecy surrounding the most recent order has also sparked outcry throughout the country.
Some reports alleged that naturalization was granted to people who paid large sums of money or had ties to the Syrian government, furthering impressions that Lebanese citizenship is being offered on the basis of monetary and political incentives, even as the country’s female citizens still do not possess full citizenship rights.
“The president has the right to offer Lebanese nationality to a limited number [of people] within his jurisdiction. But the children of Lebanese mothers have a right and it is a priority to implement the Constitution, which calls for equality between citizens,” Shaar said.
The campaign’s statement described the decree as a continuation of authorities’ unjust policies affecting Lebanese women. It also said the decree was unjust for giving citizenship rights to people with no connections to Lebanon, while “it oppresses the Lebanese mother and her children, who were born and lived in Lebanon.”