According to the constitution, Syrian women have the right to grant citizenship to their children.
Lawyer Nour Owais
Special Musawah / Center for Women’s Studies
The Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic was promulgated in 2012 and its Article 33 approved the principle of equality between all citizens in rights and duties, i.e., in general, there is no discrimination between a man and a woman in the homeland, and although the Constitution is the supreme law, the Nationality Law distinguished between the right of the father and the right of the mother. transferring nationality to children.
First of all, it is necessary to clarify the concept of nationality:
Nationality is a legal and political link that binds an individual to a particular state, and through this link, rights and duties are exchanged between the state and citizens. A state with an independent will to grant citizenship in accordance with its basic interests.
The right of a woman to pass her nationality to her children:
There are many countries that have given women the right to grant their nationality to their children, according to non-discrimination between citizens. However, the Syrian Nationality Law promulgated by Decree No. 276 of 1969 still prevents Syrian women from this right guaranteed by the Constitution, where Article (3) states that he is considered an Arab-Syrian by law:
1- Anyone born in the country or abroad to a Syrian Arab father.
2- Whoever was born in the country to a Syrian Arab mother, and his lineage to his father has not been legally established.
We note that the Syrian Nationality Law took the path of the right of paternal blood to grant citizenship and gave the son of a Syrian mother of unknown parentage Syrian nationality with two conditions, the first being that the mother at the time of birth is a Syrian Arab, and the second that the birth takes place in Syria. Syrian legally according to the law.
From here, we see the problems started over the full equality between men and women in terms of the foundations of the right to grant citizenship to children, as the Syrian government always invokes flimsy arguments such as the problem of dual nationality or the problem of Palestinian husbands nationality for some mothers. And through this context, it must be noted that the Syrian law Dual nationality is prohibited in Article (10) of the Nationality Decree, where the second paragraph of it says (every Syrian obtained a foreign nationality at his request and before the issuance of a decree allowing him to give up his Syrian Arab nationality, he shall remain and be treated as a Syrian in all respects and in all cases unless he sees stripping him of it, and he is punished by imprisonment from one to three months and a fine from 500 to 2000 SYP). (21) of the same aforementioned decree states that the permissibility of stripping a Syrian of his nationality can only be done by decree based on a justified proposal from the Minister of Interior, taking into consideration the legislator that most people acquire another nationality for purely financial circumstances. Thus, the permissibility of applying the penalty of stripping a citizen of his nationality or not is a passport order related to the Minister of Interior, and he alone has the exclusive right to initiate a public lawsuit against those who hold two nationalities.
From this, the discriminatory contradiction between men and women is clear because the government links it to the authority of dual citizenship.
The constant repetition that when citizenship is granted to the children of a Syrian mother, the children will inevitably bear the original Syrian citizenship (i.e. since birth) and their father’s foreign citizenship, and the problem of dual citizenship appears. If the law is more keen to abolish the principle of duplication and more equitable,
1- Citizenship is granted by law to anyone who was born in the country to a Syrian mother
2- Nationality is granted by law to anyone who was born inside or outside the country to a Syrian mother and his lineage to his father has not been legally proven, or he has not been proven to have any foreign nationality (the illegitimate child). Regular in Syria and submit an application. ).
If the legislator seeks to solve some social problems related to equality between women and men, he can grant the mother the right to grant citizenship to her children, with light legal restrictions, such as the case that the birth takes place in Syria, whether the child’s lineage is proven to his father or not, and whether he acquired a foreign nationality or not.
What the government sees as obstacles to amending the law are Syrian women married to men of Palestinian nationality, and the explanation for this is that Syria has agreed to Arab League Resolution No. 47 of 1959. On the one hand, and to guarantee the right of return for Palestinian refugees, on the other.
But isn’t there a large percentage of Palestinians residing in several Arab and foreign countries who have acquired the nationality of the country in which they reside without this affecting the right of return??
And without considering granting them citizenship by the host country a neglect of their right??
The right of return is an international and basic requirement that will not be affected by some internal administrative procedures of states to regulate the rights of their members. Except that the legislator’s adoption of not granting citizenship to Palestinians is based on the fact that the current citizenship law has nothing to do with the right of return, as much as it is a problem of a Syrian woman’s right similar to that of men with regard to the nationality law. And they are treated like foreigners.
The solution is clearly visible, so why is it overlooked based on international decisions that will not be affected by an internal decision to guarantee local rights stipulated in the constitution, and this solution is limited to Article 3 of the Nationality Law, which needs to be amended to include both the father and the mother.
This amendment must be comprehensive for all Syrian women, and therefore this will be a positive step for women who aspire to real justice for them, and not to find half-solutions under the pretext of purely political pretexts that have nothing to do with the truth. As the step of granting citizenship from the mother to her children is considered to activate the implementation of the principles of the Constitution. which equalizes between men and women in rights and duties.