A report which focuses on the devastating impact of discriminatory nationality laws in Madagascar and Nepal has been published by the Equal Rights Trust highlighting how, in some countries with such laws, women are not able to pass on citizenship to their children and identifies the myriad problems that result from this.
The report, My Children’s Future: Ending Discrimination in Nationality Laws also discusses the positive impact of law reform in Indonesia and Kenya, which have recently adopted gender neutral nationality laws, and analyses the persisting barriers to citizenship equality in these countries.
“In worst case scenarios, discriminatory nationality laws can cause statelessness, where fathers are stateless themselves, or are unable or unwilling to confer their nationality on their children. Without nationality a person is prevented from enjoying their basic human rights, such as equal access to education, healthcare, jobs and housing. Such a person is unable to move across borders and is left doubting their belonging and identity.” said Executive Director of the Equal Rights Trust, Dr Dimitrina Petrova.
She continued, “There are currently 27 countries around the world which do not allow women to pass on their nationality onto their children. We hope this report will not only raise awareness on the severe human cost of such laws but will allow these countries to learn from the reform experience of others.”
Across all four countries analysed, the report finds that those who have been or are most affected are women from disadvantaged groups such as ethnic minority women, or those of lower socio-economic status, whose multiple disadvantage defines their whole lives and who are left in a state of anguish about their children’s future.
The report was launched at a side event Achieving Equal Nationality Rights on 22 September at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva which was co-organised by the Equal Rights Trust and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights.