Source: Haberler.com (Istanbul)
Ethnic Lebanese people born in Sierra Leone are not eligible to be citizens of the country by birth.
This is because the 1991 Sierra Leone Constitution and the Citizenship Act says that Sierra Leoneans born in the country who are not of « Afro-Negro descent » – meaning black – are not automatically citizens of the country. They can only become citizens through naturalization based on conditions as prescribed by law.
This has disenfranchised over 5,000 ethnic Lebanese in the country from being Sierra Leonean citizens by birth even though they were actually born in the country.
The Lebanese first came to Sierra Leone in the 1950s in the wake of the Lebanon-Syrian wars, and many who were born in Sierra Leone feels discriminated against by this clause since they are not of Afro-Negro origin.
The Constitution also makes provisions for the acquisition of citizenship through marriage, naturalization, and descent. A Lebanese national who marries a Sierra Leonean citizen is eligible to become a Sierra Leonean citizen. But they think that that is not enough.
As a result, one Sierra Leonean Lebanese national refused his Sierra Leonean passport because the passport authority labeled him a « citizen by naturalization not by birth » after he was born in the country to Lebanese parents over 40 years ago.