Women activists continue citizenship protests; demand for ‘or’ provision

Women activists continue citizenship protests; demand for ‘or’ provision

Aug 8, 2015-

Women rights activists staged a sleep-in protest at Baneshwor on Friday as part of their campaign to ensure citizenship in the name of mother in the new constitution.

Hundreds of activists representing around two dozen organisations laid down in the middle of the street to stage their dissatisfaction regarding the ‘discriminatory and provision’, and to ensure bodily integrity of women and proportional representational of women in all sectors.

Deepti Gurung, mother of two, who has been demanding the right to pass on citizenship to her daughters through her name accused the lawmakers of undermining the right of a mother and trying to fool them with confusing provisions. “A woman can give birth to a child but does not have the right to provide citizenship to her children. We demand the ‘and’ provision be replaced with ‘or’,” said Gurung, coordinator of an alliance of people who have not been able to pass on citizenship through their mothers.

The ‘and’ provision has made it mandatory for a child to have both Nepali parents to acquire citizenship by descent. If either of the parents is a foreigner, a child will be eligible for naturalised citizenship.

Rights activists and some political party leaders have been arguing that the provision is discriminatory and demand amendment to give equal rights to either parent to pass on citizenship to their children. Slogans such as “no mother no child, citizenship through mother, my body my right” were chanted at the rally.

In a list of suggestions, activists have demanded that every clause of the constitution be non-discriminatory including equal representation, reproductive rights and citizenship provision.  

Bimala Tamang from Mahila Ekta Samaj called the government to adopt a women-friendly constitution that addresses pertinent issues such as women’s reproductive and citizenship rights.

 “It is very important that we continue to fight for a progressive clause in the constitution that will allow mothers to confer citizenship to their children,” said Tamang. She also condemned the lawmakers for curtailing women’s reproductive health right in the draft constitution.

Rally organisers, Collective Campaign, stated that they will organise regular protests in different forms in the coming days until lawmakers pay heed to their demands.

“Our campaign is for a gender-friendly constitution and we will drive the movement even further and stronger if our demands are not met,” said advocate Subin Mulmi. Activists have been staging demonstration every alternate day.

Published: 08-08-2015 09:03

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