“Women is a Homeland”

Workshop on the right to nationality and the importance of children obtaining the mother’s nationality

Haffiya Abdalla

The right of mothers to pass their citizenship on to their children has dramatic consequences on the civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights of their children – beginning with their right to nationality. And this is only one among the many forms of discrimination against women in the Law that still exists in countries around the world.

According to the Worldbank’s report Women, Business and the Law 2016, the following countries do not allow married mothers to pass citizenship on to their children as fathers can:

Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, United Arab Emirates, West Bank, and Gaza.

In addition to being discriminatory, the unequal treatment of women in Nationality laws is an obstacle to realizing other rights for them and their children.

The Ministry of Social Development General Directorate for Women Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees organized a Sudanese workshop on the right to nationality and the importance of children obtaining the mother’s nationality within Sudan’s presidency of (41) session of the Arab Women Committee under the theme ” Women is a homeland”.the honor of the Minister of Social Development and under the Auspices of the Undersecretary of Social Development.

The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Development, Jamal El-Nile, announced his ministry’s interest in the recommendations and outcomes of the workshop and its implementation on the ground and warned of the dangers of statelessness.

He stated that Sudanese women are the best in this field, praising the role of Sudanese women in building society.

Najat Belkacem from UNHCR said that UNHCR has a global mandate for the protection of refugees; the mandate of UNHCR extends beyond protecting refugees and IDPs to also include identification, prevention, and reduction of statelessness, as well as protection of the stateless person. Under this broader mandate for prevention and reduction of statelessness, UNHCR globally supports governments to ensure that people have access to nationality documents and civil registration procedures, including birth registration.

In Sudan, UNHCR works with governmental and other actors to prevent statelessness from arising, UNHCR supports the relevant actors ،including the Civil Registry, parliamentarians, and ministries of just and Social Welfare in areas of capacity building and technical support relating to reform of nationality laws and policies.UNHCR also works closely with the Civil Registry of Sudan to ensure that every child has a possibility of accessing birth registration, which is a key preventative measure against statelessness, Belkacem said.

“I hope this workshop will come out with strong recommendations that will contribute to the overall reform of laws and policies to ensure the full enjoyment of nationality rights by Women”.

The Director of the General Administration of Women, Souad Dishol, explained that the workshop aims to promote women’s rights and emphasize the state’s efforts in the field of women’s empowerment, equity, and justice, in addition to fair equality, non-discrimination, and the preservation of women’s dignity. Dischul welcomed the amendment of the Nationality Law for the year 2019.

She said that the workshop deals with a central issue that must be discussed to preserve rights and work on the principles of equality and non-discrimination in various aspects of life.

She called on the international community organizations to play their role in raising awareness and advocating in the field of the right to a nationality.

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