Non-Nepali children of Nepali parents demand rights of citizenship

The stateless children of Nepali citizens by birth have demanded to the government and stakeholders that their fundamental rights be ensured.

A group of non-Nepali people representing Nepalis without citizenship have submitted a memorandum to the authorities to act promptly on the matter.

They had submitted the memorandum in a meeting with the authorities of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Madhesi Commission, National Human Right Commission and United Nation Development Programme held on Monday.

The memorandum states that children of above 190,000 Nepali citizens by birth are devoid of Nepali citizens due to unclear laws.

Nepal’s Interim Constitution 2007 had provisioned citizenship by birth to people residing in Nepal prior to the commencement of the constitution in 1990.

Nevertheless, after the promulgation of Nepal’s constitution in 2015, no clause was written regarding the provision of citizenship to children of such people, requiring the government to amend the Nepali Citizenship Act.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari issued an ordinance to amend the act on May 23 on the recommendation of the government, thereby allowing children of citizens by birth and children of Nepali mothers whose father could not be traced to obtain Nepali citizenship.

However, on June 10, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the ordinance, dashing hopes of thousands of eligible citizens who have not been able to obtain their citizenship due to the lack of a new federal law.

The president of the Citizenship-less Nepalis Struggle Committee, Indrajit Safi, said that they were devoid of basic rights such as driving license or SIM card without citizenship.

Safi studied up to Grade XII in Nepal, but had to go to India to obtain his Bachelor’s degree. “I completed Bachelor in Engineering from an Indian Institute, but since I failed to provide my citizenship I have been denied the certificate,” Safi said.

“The state is not being fair to us as the Nepali constitution has clearly mentioned that no children of Nepali citizen shall be denied citizenship,” he said.