Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lebanon: Women Unequal

From the Daily Star:
Article 1 of the 1925 Nationality Law states that citizenship is granted to those born of Lebanese fathers. The text says no more. The implication is obvious: those born of Lebanese mothers are not to be granted citizenship.

Citizenship in Lebanon is based on ancestry, not on the place where one is born. But this form of discrimination is compounded in Lebanon’s patriarchal society by the fact that citizenship is only passed down from the father. This law clearly violates the principle of equality between men and women that is enshrined in Article 7 of the Constitution.

Transmission of nationality is not a mere legal formality; it also carries with it social and financial consequences. Because these husbands and children are considered residents of Lebanon and not citizens, they must obtain residency and work permits, which they are required to renew each year. This is a costly procedure involving a tidy sum of money, estimated roughly at $2,000 to $3,300 per person, massive red tape, and long hours spent waiting in line at the office of General Security.

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