Sample Letter: Lebanon: Give women equal citizenship rights to men under the nationality law

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[Dear President/Prime Minister/Minister of Justice/Speaker of the House],

I am writing to express my deep concern that Lebanese women married to non-Lebanese men are prevented by law from passing their nationality onto their spouses and children, which engenders many hardships for these women and their families. For example, Hiam Abd El Samad is a Lebanese citizen who married an Egyptian national Anwar Hasaneen in Lebanon 23 years ago and has raised their three daughters in Lebanon. However, since Hiam cannot pass her Lebanese citizenship to her husband or daughters the family has had to suffer significant deprivations, including not being eligible for health coverage and social benefits, and hardship in obtaining sponsorship for a residency permit for Anwar and for the girls once they leave school.

Hiam’s case is only one example of the suffering of Lebanese women as a consequence of the nationality law. Statistics show that 18,000 Lebanese families suffer from problems at several levels, namely psychological, social and economical because of the discrimination they face.

This discrimination against Lebanese women causes unnecessary anxiety and suffering to the families concerned and I urge you to do all that you can to ensure that Lebanese citizens, male or female, are able to enjoy equal rights to confer their nationality on their spouses and children. This would be in line with the Lebanese Constitution and also with Lebanon’s international obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention of the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely yours,