Nepali women face citizenship discrimination

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Kathmandu, Sep 29 (UNI) Even as Nepal's Interim Parliament passed a proclamation that women too would have right to citizenship, the 1990 Constitutional provision remains discriminative against them.

The citizenship law stands discriminative because a Nepali man need not fulfill the condition that needs to be fulfilled by a Nepali woman to ensure citizenship for her children.

Despite the house proclamation that a woman could transfer citizenship to her children on the basis of her citizenship papers, the Citizenship Act that was drafted after the proclamation does not support such a provision.

''There is no act ensuring transfer of citizenship from women to their children,'' Kantipur Daily quoted Mr Kedar Ghimire, administrative officer at Kathmandu District Administration Office a saying.

He said there are only three conditions under which citizenship is distributed. ''The conditions do not consider women as independent citizens to enable their children to receive citizenship through the mother's name,'' Mr Ghimire said.

According to him, if a woman wants to transfer her citizenship to her children, she should gather enough proof that her husband is a Nepali citizen. Similarly, in case a woman marries a foreign man, she can give naturalised citizenship to her child but the child should be born in Nepal, besides being a resident of Nepal.

The third criteria for issuing Nepali citizenship is to give naturalised citizenship, which can be claimed by foreigners.

''But it's not easy to get naturalised citizenship because the law does not make it mandatory. It is issued only after the authority is convinced that the country will benefited from the individual,'' he said.

Despite intense debate on maintaining gender neutrality, the Citizenship Bill passed on November 26, 2006 has failed to treat Nepali women as equal citizens. There are no conditions for foreign women marrying Nepali men to get citizenship, but a foreign man married to a Nepali woman cannot get a Nepali citizenship.

Women's lineage is not accepted for awarding citizenship.


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