Workshop on Activism for Gender-Equal Nationality Rights

Lebanon-Kuwait

Organized by Salam DHR in cooperation with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family campaign, the Gray Area campaign and Kuwaitis without Borders organization

On March 22, 23,24, Shaymaa Al-Qash and Abbas Taleb, youth activists and members of Salam DHR, organized a three days’ workshop for youth activists from Lebanon and Kuwait in partnership with My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family campaign from Lebanon, the Gray Area campaign and Kuwaitis without Borders organization from Kuwait. 

The workshop aimed to enhance the capacity of youth activists from Kuwait and Lebanon to advocate for reforms to end gender discrimination in their countries’ nationality laws and mobilize other youth to join national campaigns for gender-equal nationality rights. Participants received substantive training on gender discrimination in nationality laws and developed advocacy plans, to be implemented at the local level. 

Across the duration of three days, the workshop focused on several topics, including the education on the status of women’s nationality rights in both countries, the wider international and local legal framework, as well as the specific nationality conceptions in Kuwait and Lebanon. On the last day of the workshop, participants designed their own campaigns to advocate for reforms and end gender discrimination in their countries’ nationality laws, to be implemented in the following months with the help of the organizers and local organizations. 

Karima Chebbo, Lebanese human rights defender and coordinator of My Nationality is a Right for me and my Family campaign said: “There is no compromise on fundamental rights. Rights cannot be divided, they are inherent to all human beings and cannot be hindered under any pretext, not on the basis of sex, color, race, sect, or anything else. Our demands cannot be waived, which are full and complete equality. We are all concerned in any human rights issue, as it affects society as a whole. Therefore, we must all strive to lift any legal discrimination in order to achieve social justice.

The problem is not between a woman and a man, but it is with the patriarchy and the outdated laws that are enshrined in political interests. Therefore, we must all join hands, women and men, in order to defend and obtain our full rights.”

Shaymaa Al-Qahs from Kuwait, mentioned at the end of the workshop: “It is our social responsibility to end this discrimination against women and their families today. This issue does not only concern women married to non-nationals and their children, but it also affects our whole society and destroys our social fabric. Only full and equal rights between citizens can guarantee the health and well-being for our future generations.” 

In the coming months, organizers and participants are going to implement their campaigns in both countries to advocate for gender-equal nationality rights and mobilize other youth to join national campaigns for gender-equal nationality rights. 

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