|Date: Mar 17, 2018|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|My right for my vote: Women’s rally gets political|
|Ghalia Al Alwani| The Daily Star|
BEIRUT: Hundreds of women and children gathered in Riad al-Solh Square in Downtown Beirut Friday to protest a law that forbids Lebanese women to pass their citizenship onto their children. The sit-in was organized by the “My nationality is a right for me and my family” campaign which holds an event annually around Mother’s Day.
This year, with the May 6 parliamentary elections approaching, the campaign adopted the slogan, “My vote = my right,” insisting that only candidates that support women’s rights will get their vote.
They held posters that read, “with my rights,” followed by a list of candidates and politicians that support their cause, while a list of those who do not were written on a poster headlined, “against my rights.”
“We’re sick of talking. We’re sick of saying, ‘I have the right.’ We’re sick of sectarian excuses, democratic fears ... We don’t want to hear it anymore,” head organizer Karima Chebbo said to the crowd.
“Stop saying, ‘oh well they have a residency’ ... This is a human right and a right we deserve ... We want results. We are going to hold them accountable on their promises when it comes to the ballot boxes.”
Current laws only allow Lebanese men to pass on their nationality to children. Those with only a Lebanese mother cannot get citizenship through the parent, even if they are born in the country.
Politicians listed as “with my rights” included Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri, MP Sami Gemayel, MP Imad Hout, MP Bahia Hariri and Minister of State for Administrative Development Inaya Ezzeddine.
Organizers of the event had issued an open invitation to all politicians and candidates running in the election to attend the sit-in and give a statement on the law. Hout, a Future Movement candidate in the Beirut II electoral district Rola Tabch, and candidate Joumana Haddad, running for the minority Christian seat in Beirut I, responded to the call.
Lack of citizenship makes it difficult to provide education for children as they are not considered nationals by law.
“I was born and lived in this country my whole life,” Mustapha al-Youssef, whose mother is Lebanese, told The Daily Star.
“But I can’t own any property and I’m struggling to get hired. It doesn’t make sense that rulers that have power in their hands give citizenships to those who lived in Europe or anywhere outside of Lebanon their whole lives,” he said.
“But they don’t give me, someone that’s lived here my whole life, the same right.”