Adonis Diaries

Lebanese Women cry foul: 112 “Foreigners” get citizenship and none for their children?

Posted on: September 25, 2013

Women cry foul: 112 people get citizenship and none for them?

BEIRUT: Women’s rights advocates cried foul Friday after a local newspaper published a copy of a presidential decree granting Lebanese citizenship to 112 foreigners.

The individuals named in the decree hail from France, Italy, Australia, Germany, Holland, Canada, the United States, Jordan and several other countries. The decree sparked outrage, particularly from Lebanese women barred by law from passing their citizenship to their foreign spouses and children.

Meris Lutz published in The Daily Star this Sept. 21, 2013 “Women cry foul after 112 people get citizenship”

The Daily Star
Activists carry banners during a rally as they call for the right of the Lebanese woman to pass her nationality to her husband and children in front of the Grand Serail in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
Activists carry banners during a rally as they call for the right of the Lebanese woman to pass her nationality to her husband and children in front of the Grand Serail in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

Decree 10214 was issued in March and first came to light several months ago in a report by Al-Jadeed television, but the text itself never surfaced and could not be found in the Official Gazette.

Observers believe that it was not published because of a legal interpretation that holds publishing it isn’t obligatory, because it involved a limited number of people, implying it was not of public concern.

Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel, speaking to LBCD, confirmed the decree’s existence and said there were individuals who deserved to receive Lebanese citizenship.

Some of the naturalized Lebanese appeared to be members of the clergy or Jordanian royalty, and local press reports indicate others were relatives of high-ranking Lebanese officials.

The Individual Initiative for Human Rights called the decision a “scandal” and a “humiliation” for Lebanese women.

The Collective for Research and Training on Development (CRTDA), which has been actively pushing for women’s full citizenship rights with the Arab Women’s Right to Nationality campaign, called the decree and lack of transparency surrounding it “shameful.”

This decree clearly reveals Lebanese officials’ disregard for Lebanese women and their rights, as well as the falseness of their claims to uphold a state based on citizenship, rights and the law,” a statement issued by the group read. “It’s particularly shocking that officials took a step such as this at a time when the country and its citizens are in free fall, while the current political class is unable to provide even minimum security and acceptable living conditions for the sons and daughters of this country.”

Lina Abou Habib, an organizer of the CRTDA campaign, slammed President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati for signing off on the decree, adding that she had lost any faith she had left in the Lebanese state.

“Do the prime minister and the president have any idea about the humiliation of these families on a daily basis?” she said. “They can’t work, go to public school, access health care … Do they have any idea, because they decide to go and give the Lebanese nationality as a gift to wealthy people? I am outraged, absolutely outraged.”

Abou Habib was similarly unimpressed with the excuses offered by some legal experts for not publishing the decree in the Gazette, adding that if not for the leaks to the press, no one would have known.

A decree issued in 1994 that granted citizenship to about 80,000 foreigners was published.

“They can easily hide behind legal technicalities and maybe it is a legal justification, but nevertheless it’s really a coincidence that it also suits the purpose of hiding something that actually is wrong, is morally wrong,” she said. “They have no justification other than saying ‘we can do it.’”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 21, 2013, on page 2.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

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September 2013

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