The government is anxious to go through with the ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill’ – two issues were most pressing – ‘acquiring a Nepali citizenship through their mother’s ID’ and ‘naturalised citizenship’
While they were able to come to a conclusion on one of the above – ‘telling children to find their missing father if they want to avail a Nepali citizenship’. Apparently saying your mother is a law-abiding, tax paying Nepali is not enough – you will need your father. Last week, further infuriating citizens, the government also said that they would penalise the mother if they pointed towards a ‘wrong father’ – a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine between NRS 25,000 to 100,000. The participating father could also be punished, the amendment states.
Moving on, the final snag is ‘naturalised citizenship’ – wherein a foreign national can acquire a citizenship through marriage. While the final verdict on this is yet to be out -this too is highly likely to be discriminatory.
In a parliamentary meeting of State Affairs and Good Governmance Committee on Saturdauy, lawmakers mulled over two options. One, providing citizenship immediately to foreign women married to Nepali men – upon providing proof of renunciation of their own citizenship. Other, to wait for seven years for the same – while the foreign spouse will be able to reside in Nepal and be able to participate in the cultural, social, and economic rights, their political rights will be curtailed.
That being said for foreign women, foreign men will probably face more discrimination – because lawmakers trust Nepali men make to make better decision than Nepali women. A foreign man married to a Nepali woman will ‘probably’ have to wait 15 years, renounce his country’s citizenship, and show fluency in one language spoken in Nepal to be entitled to a Nepali citizenship.