Emirati women arrive at a polling station in Dubai in September to vote in elections to the Federal National Council
The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that children of Emirati women married to foreigners could apply for citizenship once they turned 18, moving closer to giving women the same nationality rights as men. © Marwan Naamani - AFP
Emirati women arrive at a polling station in Dubai in September to vote in elections to the Federal National Council
AFP
Last updated: November 30, 2011

UAE gives women right to pass nationality to children

The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday that children of Emirati women married to foreigners could apply for citizenship once they turned 18, moving closer to giving women the same nationality rights as men.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan decreed that the "children of women citizens married to foreigners should be treated as citizens," WAM state news agency reported.

In the move, the children are to get the "right to apply for citizenship when they reach 18," it added.

Most Arab countries link nationality to blood relation from the father's side, disenfranchising women who face various forms of gender discrimination across the region.

Tunisia had for a long time been the only country that gave men and women equal nationality rights with few other countries responding to continued campaigns for the regulation to be changed.

But in 2005, Algeria amended its nationality law, giving women the right to pass citizenship to their foreign husbands and children.

In 2007, Morocco said the children of Moroccan women will automatically get the nationality, while foreign husbands can demand the citizenship after five years of marriage and residency in the country.

Egypt followed suit giving women the right to pass their citizenship to their children.

The campaign continues in many other Arab countries.

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