UAE: citizenship to children of women married to foreigners

Gender equality progress sparks debate in Qatar

01 December, 13:07

(ANSAmed) - DOHA, DECEMBER 1 - Progress has been made in the field of equal rights for men and women in the United Arab Emirates. From now on, the children of female citizens of the UAE married to foreigners will be able to acquire their mothers' nationality, due to a law recently approved by the federation.

According to the new law, at age 18 the children of an UAE mother and a foreign father can request their mother's nationality as well as enjoy the same rights of UAE citizens even before reaching the required age for the official request.

So reports The Peninsula, a daily paper in Qatar, where this equal right has not yet been recognised but on which a wide-ranging debate has begun. ''I would like all Gulf countries, including Qatar, to establish a law like that of the UAE,'' said Moza Al Malki, Qatari psychologist cited by the newspaper. The extension to mothers of the right to hand down their nationality to their children, as well as giving more rights to women, makes it possible to increase the number of citizens of the countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who are still a minority compared with the foreign community. In Qatar, for example, Qatar nationals total only 20% of the overall population, compared with 80% of foreigners without the chance for naturalisation. According to Sheikha Al Jefairi, the sole female member of Qatar's Central Municipal Council, the country has a law which recognises the same rights to the children of Qatari women married to foreigners, but not the right to hold a Qatari passport. But however close the Qatari law comes to that of the UAE, it is not applied. ''I urge the authorities appointed by the Emit to take measures on the issue, ensuring that this law is enforced and that it has immediate binding effects,'' said Al Jefairi. Qatar's National Human Rights Committee has also taken a position on the issue and is putting pressure on the government. (ANSAmed).

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