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In a rebuttal to Minister Charbel, the Nationality Campaign reiterates its commitment to defend the rights of Lebanese women

05-10-2013

My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family Campaign issued a statement last Saturday as a rebuttal to an interview given by the Minister of Interior, Marwan Charbel, to the An Nahar newspaper regarding the recent naturalization decree number 10214.

The rebuttal refers to the Campaign’s earlier press communiqué concerning the said naturalization decree of 10214 (signed on March 22nd 2013) and points out that the Campaign finds itself obligated to respond to the statement and arguments of the Minister, as they are by and large inaccurate and poorly convincing also given the Minister suspicions about the intentions of the Nationality Campaign. The rebuttal goes on by saying that the Minister’s positions were totally unfair vis-à-vis women who are demanding to be equal to men in their right to transmit nationality to their families and to enjoy full citizenship rights. 

The statement notes that the Nationality Campaign is not questioning the President’s constitutional right to issue such a decree, but expressed its opposition to  granting the Lebanese nationality to foreign individuals (regardless of the reasons or motivations) when all women of Lebanon are still denied this right.  As to the 112 beneficiaries of the “Makramah”, and in order to ensure full accountability and transparency, the Campaign requested clarifications of the criteria used to select these individuals. In quoting Minister Charbel, the Campaign asks “How were their past and future services to Lebanon assessed?”; “Who recommended and nominated these beneficiaries?”  With regards to Minister Charbel’s assertion that a number of expatriate committees nominated these individuals, the Campaign asks “who are these expatriates committees and were they all involved in the nomination process?  What about the Arab beneficiaries? Were they nominated by expatriates committees or by other groups?

On the issue of not publishing this decree in the official gazette, the Campaign strongly refutes the argument provided by the Minister as not valid and is rather thin since the official gazette publishes regularly decrees of “individual nature”.  In 2012 alone, 46 similar individual decrees were published and these concerned the acquisition of foreign nationalities whilst 7 other decrees were published and were related to the withdrawal of approvals to acquire foreign nationalities.

With regards to decree 5247 which was issued in 1994 and the position of civil society organizations vis-à-vis this decree, the Campaign said that is does not see this matter as an issue for current discussion, adding that it is not obligated to either condemn or defend this decree especially since it was issued prior to the launching of the Nationality Campaign in 2002.  It also reminded the Minister and the public that the post-war Taef agreement stipulated in one of its provisions the granting of Lebanese nationality to the inhabitants of Wadi Khaled and the “seven contested villages” in the south and others as well.

In conclusion, and with regards to the “intentions behind this attack on decree 10124”, the Campaign reiterated that its only motivation is in upholding the rights of women in Lebanon and ensuring that their voices are heard since they do not seem to be taken into consideration by Lebanese politicians. This matter should not be considered as a demand by civil society but rather a right of concern to all women and men citizens in Lebanon.

Finally, the Campaign reiterated its call for the state and key politicians to start addressing the issue of citizenship rights more seriously namely women’s full citizenship rights and equality and this without resorting to raising confessional fears about the naturalisation of Palestinians in Lebanon, or recoursing to thin arguments regarding demographic imbalances.

Source: My Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family Campaign, Al-Nahar - 28 September 2013

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