Post-Revolution, Egypt Establishes the Right of Women Married to Palestinians to Pass Nationality to Children

Published: 13/May/2011
Source: Women's Learning Partnership / Arab Women's Right to Nationality Campaign

After tireless efforts, women’s rights activists have reached another milestone with Egyptian women married to Palestinian men gaining the right to pass their nationality to their children.

WLP is pleased to share the following statement on behalf of the Arab Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign in Lebanon, part of WLP’s regional Claiming Equal Citizenship campaign.

The Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs have issued a decree allowing Egyptian women married to Palestinian men to transmit their nationality to their children. Since the reform of the nationality law in 2004, Egyptian women married to Palestinian men have been excluded from this reform, and in many cases, have had to resort to the judiciary.

The new decree, number 1231, issued on 2 May 2011, came in response to the protests of Egyptian women married to Palestinian men. The women mobilized after the recent revolution in Egypt, and organized sit-ins and demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Egyptian women highlighted the plight of their families, as they are denied access to basic rights such as education, work and travel. Additionally, the women brought to light the often prohibitive cost of undertaking legal action, which can reportedly reach as much as EGP 100,000 per case. Egyptian women were outraged that their Palestinian children were denied work opportunities after they complete their education, as they have difficulties in securing work permits.

“My Nationality is a Right for me and family campaign” extends its sincere congratulations to Egyptian women and their families for this amazing achievement and this step forward towards the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality. At the same time, we note the unfortunate stalemate on this critical issue in Lebanon which seems to be light years away from overcoming its fears and prejudice regarding the “implantation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon,” a matter which has been largely disregarded by Egypt in favor of securing women’s rights. The Campaign hopes that Lebanon will follow the Egyptian example. Doing so will require acknowledging the impact on institutionalizing discrimination against women and thus, the need to address confessionalism as the main obstacle towards realizing women’s rights.

Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Acquisition by children, Naturalisation and Marriage
Regions: North Africa, Egypt
Year: 2011