CEDAW: General recommendation No. 32 on the gender-related dimensions of refugee status, asylum, nationality and statelessness of women

Published: 5/Nov/2014
Source: UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

“Through the present general recommendation, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women aims to provide authoritative guidance to States parties on legislative, policy and other appropriate measures to ensure the implementation of their obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Optional Protocol thereto regarding non-discrimination and gender equality relating to refugee status, asylum, nationality and statelessness of women.”

In relation to nationality, the Committee recommends that States parties that have not already done so:

(a) Review and withdraw their reservations to article 9 of the Convention because they are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention and thus impermissible under article 28 (2);
(b) Review and reform their nationality laws to ensure equality of women and men with regard to the acquisition, changing and retention of nationality and to enable women to transmit their nationality to their children and to their foreign spouses and to ensure that any obstacles to practical implementation of such laws are removed, in full compliance with articles 1 to 3 and 9 of the Convention;
(c) Repeal laws stipulating the automatic acquisition of nationality upon marriage or automatic loss of a woman’s nationality as a result of changes in the marital status or nationality of her husband;
(d) Consider permitting dual nationality where women have married foreign men, and for the children born of such unions, especially in situations in which legal regimes providing for dual nationality may lead to statelessness;
(e) Prevent statelessness through legislative provisions making the loss or renunciation of nationality contingent on possession or acquisition of another nationality, and allow reacquisition of nationality for women left stateless owing to the absence of such safeguards;
(f) Promote awareness of recent legal and policy development granting women equal rights with men to acquire, change or retain their nationality or that enable women to confer their nationality to their children and their foreign spouses;
(g) Address indirect discrimination in nationality laws that arise, for example, through naturalization requirements that may be more onerous for women to meet in practice than for men;
(h) Ratify or accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;
(i) Refrain from adopting and implementing any measures that deprive women of their nationality and render them stateless
(j) Collaborate with UNHCR in relation to its work on the identification, reduction and prevention of statelessness and protection of stateless persons, in particular stateless women;
(k) Collect, analyse and make available sex-disaggregated statistics on stateless persons within their respective territories;
(l) Implement effective measures to ensure that women and girls have equalaccess to identity documentation, including proof of nationality;
(m) Take measures to achieve the timely registration of all births and, in this regard, take measures to raise awareness, especially in rural and remote areas of their respective territories, of the importance of registering births to ensure that all children are registered and that girls benefit from the same rights as boys.

Download full text from UN OHCHR website.

Themes: International standards, Discrimination, Gender, Nationality and Refugees, Statelessness
Regions: International
Year: 2014