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Allow women to pass on nationality, says Oman MP

Muttrah representative Al Lawati wants apparent gender bias removed

Gulf News

Muscat: A Shura Council member has tabled a motion in the elected Shura advisory council to amend a law regarding nationality of children born to one Omani parent.

“Our Basic Law gives equal rights to all – men as well as women – then why discriminate when it comes to giving nationality to children born to one Omani parent,” Muttrah representative in Shura, Tawfiq Abdul Hussain Al Lawati, who tabled the motion in Shura, told Gulf News.

“I have proposed an amendment to the nationality law, asking for equal rights for children born to an Omani woman and a non-Omani father,” he said.

He said that he has asked fellow elected members to discuss the need to modify the law.

“[Such[ children... should get all the rights, including education, health care, the right to start a business, the right to buy property,” he said, hoping that such children would not be treated like expatriates, as they currently are.

“What is worse is that they are considered expatriates even if the mother is divorced or widowed after marrying a non-Omani,” he said.

“The children of Omani men [married to non-Omani women] are granted citizenship but children of Omani women [married to non-Omanis] are not entitled to Omani citizenship,” he pointed out. “The Nationality Law is old and needs to be modified,” Al Lawati reiterated.

Citing the country’s Basic Law he said the law was contradictory. “The Basic Law assures equality among genders regarding all rights but the law about nationality for children born to a non-Omani parent was discriminating,” he said. “Many countries in the region give nationality to the children of their women citizens but we in Oman deny them that right,” he pointed out.

Al Lawati said the nationality law granted citizenship to children abandoned by their parents but not those born to an Omani mother.

Meanwhile, the Shura Council’s Legislative and Legal Committee also discussed a report on establishing the ownership of lands, unification of the salaries of employees in the government civil sector and unification of civil pension funds.

The Committee is also assigned by the Council to study the amendment of the law of juvenile liability submitted by a social consultancy and studies centre in accordance with the comments and recommendations of the Symposium on Juvenile Liability: the Reality and Aspiration, held recently.