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UAE grants citizenship to ‘foreign’ children

20 February 2012, 12:01

Dubai - The president of the United Arab Emirates has issued a decree granting citizenship to more than 1,000 children of Emirati women married to foreigners, the official WAM news agency reported on Sunday.

“President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan has issued decrees granting citizenship to 1,117 children of UAE women married to foreigners who satisfied requirements for citizenship,” WAM reported.

The children will receive full citizenship when they reach the age of 18, the agency said.

Most Arab countries link nationality to blood relation from the father’s side, disenfranchising women who face various forms of gender discrimination across the region.

Tunisia had for a long time been the only country that gave men and women equal nationality rights with few other countries responding to continued campaigns for the regulation to be changed.

But in 2005, Algeria amended its nationality law, giving women the right to pass citizenship to their foreign husbands and children.

In 2007, Morocco said the children of Moroccan women will automatically get the nationality, while foreign husbands can demand the citizenship after five years of marriage and residency in the country.

Egypt followed suit giving women the right to pass their citizenship to their children.

The campaign continues in many other Arab countries.

Home to a huge expatriate community, the oil-rich UAE has an overall population of 8.26 million, with UAE citizens representing around 11.47 percent, according to official figures released last April.


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