The Initiative To Eliminate Statelessness

The Dilemma

Discriminatory legislation against women in Syria was adopted several years ago, specifically since decision no. 2823 about nationality granting was issued in 1924, depriving women of their right to grant nationality to their children. The Syrian Constitution and constitutional decrees have, in turn, perpetuated this discrimination. Legislative decree no. 276 of 1969 explicitly gave the right of nationality-granting for men only based on jus sanguinis while redistricted women’s rights with conditions inapplicable under the exceptional conditions Syrian women have lived since 2012, supposing that all terms of the decree are implemented when the conditions are met.

The impact of the discriminatory laws

As a definite result of the discriminatory legislations and restrictions against women, reasons for statelessness increased, such as

  • marriage to foreign fighters (whose nationalities are primarily unknown),
  • women having children after being raped in detentions,
  • exploiting Syrian women to have unofficial marriages (e.g., in refugee camps and polygamy in Turkey),
  • loss of official documents, especially under forced displacement.
    in addition to reasons that existed before 2012, which are 
  • marriage to an alien (non-Syrian) citizen,
  • marriage of Kurdish Syrians from stateless Kurdish men.

Numbers And Statistics

For many reasons, it has been challenging to count the number of stateless people recently. First, problematic living conditions have prevailed in different Syrian areas with various ad-hoc authorities. Second, the studied issue is  sensitive, looking at the accompanying social stigma against women and the fear of sharing their life details.
There are also no statistics about the number of stateless people due to the lack of actors interested in documenting this issue

The Solution

Depriving women of their right to grant nationality led to many adverse social and economic effects on women, their children, and society. To avoid this negative impact and achieve equality between men and women, starting from nationality-granting, legislative decree no.276 must be amended to give women the right to grant their nationality to their children based on jus sanguinis. Women must be able to pass their Syrian nationality to their children with the power of law regardless of the country where these children are born and the legitimacy of the child.