국제앰네스티는 어머니 국적을 자녀에게 줄 수있도록 한 2009년의 ‘획기적인 판결’을 번복하지 말도록 레바논 정부에 요청했다.
이집트 남성과 결혼해 세 자녀를 둔 레바논 국적의 사미라 소웨단(Samira Soueidan)은 2005년 국가를 상대로 ‘자녀의 국적’소송을 제기했다.
외국 국적자와 결혼한 레바논 어머니를 둔 아이들은 시민이 아닌 거류자로 분류돼 무상교육 등 공공 서비스에서 제외된다. ‘남성과 달리 여성은 국적을 배우자나 자녀에게 물려주지 못한다’는 국내법 때문이다.
사미라 소웨단은 해당 법률에 대항했고, 2009년 6월 마운트 레바논(Mount Lebanon) 지역의 데이디트 알-메튼(Jdeidit al-Metn)에서 열린 첫 소송에서 법원 제5부는 그녀의 손을 들어줬다. 당시 판사들은 ‘레바논 헌법은 남성과 여성 등 모든 시민이 법 앞에 평등하다는 원칙을 말하고 있다’는 사실을 주지했다. 그러나 검찰과 사법부 법률 위원회가 이 판결의 정당성을 문제 삼고 나섰다. 지난 13일, 데이디트 알-메튼 항소 법원은 사미라 소웨단 사건을 다시 심리했으며, 오는 5월 18일 판결이 나올 예정이다.
국제앰네스티 중동·북아프리카국(局) 하시바 하지 사흐라우이(Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui) 부국장은 “이전 판결이 번복된다면 아동 수 천명이 자신의 나라에서 외국인으로 살면서 공교육 등 공공 서비스에서 제외되는 것”이라고 지적하며, “레바논 정부는 여성 차별적인 법률을 재검토 하는 등 즉각적인 조치를 취해야 한다”고 강조했다.
Lebanese women must have the right to pass on nationality to their children
Tuesday 13 April 2010
Amnesty International has urged the Lebanese authorities not to take any step to overturn a landmark court ruling allowing a woman to pass on her nationality to her children.
On Tuesday, a court of appeal in Jdeidit al-Metn in Mount Lebanon heard the case of Samira Soueidan, a Lebanese citizen who in June 2009 was granted the right to pass on her nationality to three of her Lebanon-born children. The hearing lasted 15 to 20 minutes and the judge, Mary Maoushi, said the verdict was expected on 18 May.
Under Lebanese law, women, unlike men, cannot pass on their nationality to their spouses or children. The children of Lebanese women married to a foreign national can not obtain Lebanese nationality.
Samira Soueidan started proceedings after her Egyptian national husband died in 1994.
“If the decision is overturned, it will shatter the hopes of thousands of children born to Lebanese mothers and foreign national fathers, who are treated as foreigners in their own country and denied access to public education and other services,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa deputy director at Amnesty International.
Women’s inability to pass their nationality to their spouses and children affects the entire family. Spouses and children must continuously secure residency and work permits that enable them to live and work legally in Lebanon.
The children are considered residents, not citizens, and are denied access to free public education.
Samira Soueidan told Amnesty International on Monday that her eldest daughter, Zeina 23, could not continue her education and study business because the Lebanese University requires foreign students to pay fees that her family could not afford. Lebanese students pay a much lower fee.
Samira Soueidan’s other daughter, Faten, 22, told Amnesty International: “I am treated like a foreigner, but I feel 100 per cent Lebanese. Here is where my family is. Here is where I lived all my life… I don’t know Egypt.”
“It is very important for me to finally live in Lebanon as a Lebanese citizen. It would make my life much easier.”
Samira Soueidan filed a lawsuit against the Lebanese state in 2005, challenging the law.
On 16 June 2009, the Fifth Chamber of the Court of First Instance in Mount Lebanon’s Jdeidit al-Metn ruled in her favour.
Judges John Qazzi, Rana Habaka, and Lamis Kazma argued that Lebanon’s Constitution asserts the principle of equality before the law for all citizens, men and women.
However, this court decision was challenged by the public prosecution and a legal commission at the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Lebanese state in July and September respectively. The case was heard at the Civil Chamber of the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
“By opposing the June court ruling only months before Lebanon’s human rights record is scheduled to come under scrutiny in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council sends a worrying message that the Lebanese state persists to undermine the cornerstone principle of non discrimination,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
“The Lebanese authorities must take immediate steps to review existing legislation containing discriminatory provisions against women and follow the steps taken by Algeria, Egypt and Morocco which have amended their nationality laws in recent years to grant women the right to give their nationality to their children and spouse.”