Just weeks ago the government of Nepal had promulgated an ordinance amending its citizenship laws to grant Nepali citizenship to children of single mothers whose fathers can’t be traced
Just weeks ago the government of Nepal had promulgated an ordinance amending its citizenship laws to grant Nepali citizenship to children of single mothers whose fathers can’t be traced. However, potential beneficiaries may still find it difficult to get citizenship, experts say. Around 500,000 children of citizens by birth will be able to obtain citizenship in Nepal, according to the country’s home ministry data.
While issuing the ordinance, the government claimed to have addressed two key issues: citizenship by descent to the children of the couple who received citizenship in Nepal before September 20, 2015; and citizenship by descent to the children of a Nepali mother, whose father’s whereabouts are unknown.
However, legal experts pointed out flaws in the bill which, according to them, still appears inherently biased towards women. The amended rules still require the birth certificate of both, children of citizens by birth and children of Nepali mothers, whose fathers have not been identified, said Sabin Shrestha, who is the executive director of Forum for Women, Law, and Development
In reality, he claims, local authorities don’t issue birth certificates to these children often. “The ordinance was discriminatory against women and did not recognize the independent existence of Nepali women,” he was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times.
There is also a requirement of issuing a recommendation letter by locals in case the father of children can’t be identified. He argued locals are unlikely to issue such recommendations given the prevailing patriarchal biases and stigma around the issue.
On the basis of single mothers recorded in the country’s last census, a total of 680,533 children of Nepali mothers will be eligible to get Nepali citizenship now. However, certain procedural issues pointed out by experts might still keep them stateless.