HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Child rights activists today asked lawmakers to amend the naturalised citizenship clause in the draft of the upcoming constitution, saying it could render some children ‘stateless’.
A child cannot acquire Nepali citizenship by descent if either of the parent is a foreign citizen according to the proposed provision in the constitution.
“We demand that lawmakers amend the proposed provision to avoid a situation of statelessness among such children,” said child rights activist Indu Tuladhar today at an interaction organised by Secretariat of National Coalition for Children as Zones of Peace and Child Protection. According to the provision, any foreign man married to a Nepali woman should have resided in Nepal for 15 years to be eligible for naturalised citizenship.
The birth certificate of children carries their identity and nationality, reasoned Tuladhar. According to international conventions on civil and political rights, at the time of birth the child should be awarded with birth certificate and recognition of nationality.
“Children born to a mother during foreign employment also face problems while taking their birth certificates. Such children are sure to face statelessness as they are deprived of citizenship due to the provision,” said Tuladhar.
Without citizenship, a person cannot enjoy civil and political rights. Any person whose father or mother was a citizen of Nepal during his or her birth can be a Nepali citizen by descent, according to the Interim Constitution. Child rights activists Tarak Dhital urged the government to make the provision of a commissioner to deal with child rights at the National Human Rights Commission.