Citizenship in Liberia is governed by Chapter 4 of the 1986 Constitution and the 1973 Aliens and Nationality Law. Both the constitution and the law discriminate on the basis of race, stating that “only persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.” However, in other respects there are contradictions: while the constitution provides for equal rights to men and women to transmit citizenship to their child, the law discriminates on the basis of gender for children born outside the country. Meanwhile, the statutory attribution of citizenship to every child born in Liberia is not confirmed by the constitution.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is concerned about the very low rate of birth registration, and also about the restriction of citizenship on the basis of color and racial origin. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Against Women also urged Liberia to remove gender discrimination in the law.

Civil war in Liberia has led to large refuge populations of Liberian refugees living in neighboring countries. Although the majority have now returned, a significant number have sought to remain in their host countries, raising questions about the possibilities for them to naturalize.


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