Issue of parentage and citizenship

Muna Al Fuzai

Muna Al Fuzai

The issue of the children of Kuwaiti women married to non-citizens has been a matter of concern for a long time. This topic is an old one, but sensitive too. It has turned into a ticking time bomb over the failure to reach a solution that treats these women fairly and clearly, once and for all.

We know that wives and children usually follow the name and nationality of the husband, but in Kuwait, this subject has become complicated to the point where some MPs and activists are calling to amend the Kuwaiti nationality law, like some Arab countries that allow women to grant citizenship to their children. Some women resort to divorcing their non-Kuwaiti husbands to obtain Kuwaiti citizenship for their children. This is the prejudice suffered by Kuwaiti women married to foreigners, compared to Kuwaiti men married to non-Kuwaiti women.

There are plenty of defenders of the rights of Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, because they see it as unjust that a woman can’t give Kuwaiti nationality to her children, who are forced to take the nationality of the father. The problem is compounded when the husband is a stateless person (bedoon).

I really wonder why these women do not accept reality and the nationality of their chosen husbands. I frankly believe that marital partnership means acceptance of each party as they are and who they are, whether over nationality or position.

There are calls for amending Article 2 of the citizenship law to stipulate that a Kuwaiti citizen is someone who is born in Kuwait or abroad to a Kuwaiti father or a Kuwait mother. I believe this is difficult to achieve on the ground and under the current Kuwaiti demographics. Some state the success of some Arab legislation that allow women to naturalize their sons, like in Egypt, but the laws in the Gulf states, for example, do not allow this. Defenders of these laws claim that amending them to keep up with social changes is not a sufficient or logical reason.

It is natural that a citizen receives privileges in his homeland, and this is not prejudice, because naturalization involves material concessions, especially in the GCC. But for some to seek divorce in Kuwait and then remarry outside the county to avoid registering and documenting the marriage to ensure the naturalization of the children is unacceptable in my opinion.

By  Muna Al-Fuzai
muna@kuwaittimes.net


This article was published on 01/10/2016