Experts against citizenship for foreigners

Kathmandu, November 12:

Experts today opposed the provision of providing naturalised citizenship to foreigners other than those who marry Nepali citizens as provisioned in the proposed Citizenship Laws Integration and Amendment Bill, 2006.

They advised the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (SAC) that there was no need of issuing naturalised citizenship certificate to anyone. A few experts also opposed the idea of adopting the cut-off date for distributing citizenship.

“Why has the government proposed such a provision to provide naturalised citizenship to create a burden for the country? It will result in population growth,” said Shambhu Thapa, president of the Nepal Bar Association. He added that honourary citizenship would be sufficient if any foreigners contributed to the nation.

The SAC today held a discussion with lawmakers, leaders and legal experts on the provisions of the proposed Bill.

Former president of the NBA Harihar Dahal said that the citizenship problem of the Madheshis should be resolved but non-Nepalese should not be issued citizenship certificates. He also added that 1990 should be made the cut-off year to solve the problem.

Advocate Kamal Naryan Das suggested that the date of promulgation of the new Citizenship Act can be recognised as the cut-off date.

Senior advocate Shree Hari Aryal advised the government to adopt a provision not to appoint a naturalised citizen in any policy-level posts. Advocate Prakash Osti claimed that the idea of providing citizenship by birth and with the recommendation of three people cannot solve the problem.

Speaker Subas Nembang said the House was doing serious homework to solve the citizenship problem before the constituent assembly elections. “This is the problem of the entire nation. This should be resolved before the CA polls,” Nembang added.

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Situala said the seven-party alliance and the Maoists have agreed to solve the citizenship problem. He said the Home Ministry will send teams to the districts to provide citizenship certificates immediately after the Bill is passed.

UML chief Madhav Kumar Nepal criticised the proposed provision to provide citizenship rights to foreigners.

RPP president Pashupati SJB Rana stressed the need to solve the citizenship problem as soon as possible.