Egypt Achieves Nationality Law Reform But Gaps Remain

Published: 18/Oct/2021
Source: Boston University School of Law International Human Rights Clinic

The Boston University International Human Rights Clinic is currently in the fourth year of a project mapping the issues of statelessness throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by engaging in country-by-country in-depth studies. As discussed in a recent blogpost, in 2020–2021 we focused on Egypt. Unlike Lebanon, Jordan, and many other MENA countries, which don’t permit nationality to be passed through mothers, Egypt has reformed nationality laws to extend the right to citizenship to children born to Egyptian mothers. This progressive change is hoped to shrink the population of stateless children born to foreign fathers and Egyptian mothers, which in 2005 was estimated at between 400,000 and one million.

Although Egypt’s reforms have alleviated (or may alleviate) statelessness for thousands of individuals, significant gaps remain in implementing the reform on the level of civil registration. In our research, we identified how particular gaps in law and implementation affect refugees and irregular migrants but also other populations at risk, in particular, undocumented Egyptian nationals. This blogpost highlights two of the at-risk groups, children born to unwed mothers, and children born to persons from unrecognized religions. These children are entitled to Egyptian nationality but, because of lapses in civil registration, struggle to gain access to it.

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Themes: Acquisition de la nationalité, Apatridie, Discrimination, Sexuelle, Perte et déchéance de la nationalité, Ethnique/Raciale/Religieuse
Regions: Egypte
Year: 2021