Amendments to Egypt’s nationality law: An obscure state for the ‘stateless’

Published: 26/Sep/2017
Source: Mada (Cairo)

By Mohamed Hamama

Suggested amendments to the law governing Egyptian citizenship, approved by the Cabinet last Wednesday, may open the door to an unprecedented legal situation in Egypt: Egyptians without the nationality of any state and therefore without legal rights. While people may be left “stateless” by migration, war, political strife or malleable borders, those in Egypt would see citizen rights previously granted to them at birth or at a later point evaporate through legislation, rendering their presence in Egypt “illegal.”

The phenomena is not without precedent. In Arabic, the noun bidoun, translated as “without,” emerged to refer to the over 100,000 stateless people in Kuwait, who cannot access healthcare, education, the employment market and other necessary public services, as Amnesty International notes in previous statements.

While proponents of the amendment in Egypt and the draft legislation’s own verbiage are painted in the veneer of guarding national security and public order, the proposed changes would give broad leeway to the state to target individuals for their political positions, according to legal experts who say that it contravenes the Egyptian Constitution.

Read further for details of proposals:

Themes: Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: Egypt
Year: 2017