UN lauds Suriname for eliminating gender discrimination in nationality laws

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NEW YORK, United States, Tuesday July 29, 2014, CMC – The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed a decision by Suriname’s National Assembly that enables mothers to pass on nationality to their children.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the important amendment to the 1975 Law on Nationality and Residence ensures gender equality in nationality laws, bringing “these laws into compliance with international standards.”

UNHCR said the changes, including the right of women to confer their nationality to their spouses, “will provide important safeguards to eliminate gender discrimination and prevent statelessness due to loss of nationality.”

The new legislation that was passed unanimously this month by the National Assembly made changes to host of matters regarding the Surinamese nationality.

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The law also made it easier to acquire the nationality and more difficult to lose it.

In addition the new law gives women the same right as men to confer their nationality on their spouses and introduces important safeguards to prevent statelessness due to loss of nationality.

Suriname joins Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Monaco, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia, Yemen and Zimbabwe to become the 12th country in the past 10 years to enact reforms to ensure gender parity in its nationality laws.

According to the UNHCR, several states are also “actively supporting the recently launched International Campaign to End Gender Discrimination in Nationality Laws.” The initiative aims to incorporate gender equality in legislation.

The campaign advances advocacy, training and research initiatives, and leads up to the Campaign to End Statelessness, to be launched by UNHCR in September 2014.