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Leaders commit to amend controversial citizenship provision

- Ekantipur Report, KATHMANDU
Leaders commit to amend controversial citizenship provision

Jan 12, 2015-

Top leaders of major political parties have committed to change the “and” provision into “or” allowing either of the parents to pass on citizenship to their children.

A draft provision on citizenship, which is already approved by the Political Dialogue Consensus Committee (PDCC) in the new constitution states that both the mother and father have to be Nepalis for their child to be a citizen of the country.

The leaders expressed their commitment in a meeting with a delegation of campaigners, including political leaders and rights defenders on Monday at the office of PDCC in Singhdurbar.

Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal made the commitment jointly that the provision would be amended to guarantee citizenship in the name of mother as well.

PDCC chairperson Baburam Bhattarai said that the new constitution would guarantee of issuance of citizenships to children through matrilineal descent. He assured the delegates that the committee would start the process to change the provision.

Election Commission chief  Bhojraj Pokharel, former CA members Sapana Pradhan Malla and Khimlal Devkota, chairperson of National Women Commission Sesha Chand Tara, commissioner Manu Humagain, Chairperson of Sancharika Samuha, Nirmala Sharma, senior mediaperson Babita Basnet, Chairperson of Maiti Nepal Foundation, Anuradha Koirala and actor Karishma Manandhar met the major political leaders at the office PDDC.

The delegates met the leaders just ahead of PDCC meet, was facilitated by UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

"Mother has every right to pass on citizenship to her child," Sapana Pradhan Malla quoted PM Koirala as saying. Oli said the 'and' provision was a mistake, which would be corrected.

Law Minister Nara Hari Acharya, NC senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, NC Vice President Ram Chandra Poudel, leader Sujata Koirala, UCPN (M) leaders Hisila Yami were present when the top leaders expressed their commitment for amendment to the provision of the draft bill.

Dahal said that his party already decided on the provision to mothers or fathers to confer citizenship to their children.

Though the Interim Constitution, the Citizenship Act of 2006 and a Supreme Court directive of 2011 allow either of the parents to pass on citizenship to their children, the new citizenship draft bill in 2012 changed the provision, making it mandatory for a citizenship applicant to produce the nationality proof of both the parents.

Rights activists and single mothers criticized the provision calling it an discriminatory provision against women, undermining their existence. The campaign for citizenship through mothers gained momentum with youths staging protest in the Capital, while Nepalis residing in Delhi, New York, Washington and Ottawa submitted over 2000 online signatures from over 50 countries demanding amendment to the provision.

 

Published: 12-01-2015 14:42

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