How 18 year old Sonita Alizadeh resisted family pressure to marry and travelled from Tehran to Utah after her talent was nurtured by networkers across the world.

In the Middle East and North Africa region, there is a large and growing number of stateless individuals, i.e. those who do not possess nationality due to various reasons such as stateless parents, failure to register for citizenship, and gender discriminatory laws. Because these individuals lack documentation linking them to the state in which they live, they are deprived of the rights that a national would enjoy, such as the issuing of birth and marriage certificates as well as schooling and work. The situation worsens when gender discriminatory laws and custom reproduce statelessness in new generations, who are unable to practice their agency and pursue their ambitions. A new report examines the relationship between gender discrimination and statelessness in the Middle East.

“I want to make one thing clear: we women in Lebanon are NOT victims. Our tenacity and resilience, which we have gained through our own process of self-empowerment, allow us to continue waging a battle against patriarchy, which exists across the world and in many different religious contexts.”

A national survey of the political, economic, social and legal status of women in Morocco released today by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows a mixed picture of women’s status in the region.

ما يزال حق الأطفال السوريين المولودين من أم سورية منتهك في القانون السوري إذ هم مجبرون على أن يكونوا أجانب في وطنهم الذي تنتمي إليه أمهاتهم (أو "النصف الذي يربي النصف الثاني من المجتمع" حسب قول الزايدين في الوطنية حين يهدفون إلى التقليل من شأن النساء عبر البلاغة الإنشائية!). ورغم تردد الكثير من الكلام عن مشاريع في مجلس الشعب، إلا أن أيا منها لا يبدو أنه سيرى النور قريبا. لسبب بسيط: الحكومة السورية ترفض بشدة إقرار هذا الحق مثلما ترفض إقرار حقوق المرأة السورية بصفتها مواطنة! وهذا أمر متوقع. فالثقافة الذكورية متغلغلة إلى حد لا يسهل فيه اقتلاعها..

Bahraini women married to foreigners have vowed to step in during parliamentary elections to be held this year to pressure the government to amend in the nationality law. During a meeting between the Bahraini women married to foreigners and representatives of the Nationality Campaign, a panel of eight women was formed to use power of their vote to get the law amended.

خسرت اللبنانية سميرة سويدان أمام الدولة اللبنانية، دعوى قضائية هدفت منها الى إنتزاع حقها بمنح جنسيتها لأولادها، وهم من أب مصري، حسبما صرحت كريمة شبو مسؤولة الوحدة القانونية في حملة "جنيستي حق لي ولاسرتي" في اتصال مع "بي بي سي".

Women in Arab countries are making human rights history as they break down barriers to being treated as full citizens in their own countries. In the past few years, women in Algeria, Egypt, and Morocco married to foreigners have won the right to convey their citizenship to their children. Algerian women can also now extend citizenship rights to their spouses.

It is not my right to get the Lebanese nationality; it is that of my mother who is a Lebanese citizen.” – Khaled. More than 130 women and men gathered at the Order of Engineers on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November 2009, to take part in the press conference called for by the Arab Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign.

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