Saturday, October 1, 2011

Why can't we all call Nepal home?

**WARNING** This is a bit of a rant and i am not a citizenship expert so please feel free to shoot holes in my ignorant complaints.

I've been looking into Nepali citizenship and i can't believe the patriarchal, hierarchical, power hoarding bullshit which works its way into every aspect of life in this country. I am seriously floored by the fact that women have to rely on their father or husbands to get proper documentation. Without a father or a husband a women isn't even a real person in Nepal.

I had heard about the problems of getting citizenship for people who's father had numerous wives or if your father wasn't in the picture but i didn't realize how difficult it truly was for women. I just figured your born in a country and that makes you citizen. Trust Nepal to make something relatively simply in most parts of the world a complex human rights issue which causes pain and anguish for children and women. 

The 2007 Interim Constitution allowed women to pass their citizenship on the their children (in theory though i heard in many VDC made it almost impossible). But the High Level Task Force appointed to sort out issues which arose from the 2007 Interim Constitution decided that giving women the power to do anything other than clean and cook and die quietly during child birth way a bad idea. The proposed new rules from the task force require that mother and father both have Nepali citizenship and both be present in order to register a child for citizenship. So now single parents, widowed parents, couple were one of the parents are foreign can no longer register their children... i guess at least now the discrimination won't be gender based it will just be racist and vulnerability based, that's so much better.

And becoming Nepali by choice... forget about it. Men have to live in Nepal for 15 years and renege their previous claims to citizenship in any other countries. Women can become citizens immediately after they marry a Nepali but they must loose their existing citizenship. Children of mixed couples will only be allowed citizenship if their foreign parent takes up Nepali citizenship.

So we have all these kids, half Nepali and half something else, educated abroad, maybe a bit of savings. They want to come live in Nepal, maybe help their country (only it isn't their country because one of their parents do not want to loose their citizenship) but they can't because of some stupid rule. It just doesn't make sense to me.

What i want to know is what are you safeguarding? By allowing people dual citizenship, or in the least an easy way to take up citizenship, aren't you encouraging stronger ties with foreign countries, encouraging people with money to invest to stay here longer and spend that money. I just don't see the down side.

And i mean what is it that is really being safeguarded? I would be proud to say i am a Nepali citizen but it isn't for the free health care or amazing welfare system. I'm not trying to live off the hard work of honest tax paying Nepalis. I wouldn't be clamoring for my children to receive an education in the world class schools on offer. I really want to know what is it the government is so worried about.

In a time when half the population is desperate to get a visa to anywhere why is it so scary to let the few people who want to call Nepal home do so officially?


  1. People take Nepal as a very easy country but when it comes to the citizenship, i guess Nepal is the most difficult country to understand the unreliable laws....

  2. Some of the rules are absolutely ridiculous and make it incredibly hard for women. It would be a great thing if Nepalis, their foreign spouses, and other foreigners could get dual citizenship. What I've heard is that the government is afraid that Indians will come into Nepal, get citizenship, start business and then send money out of the country. Even if money leaves the country through that route, I think a lot of money would come into Nepal if they make it easier for Nepalis who live and have citizenship elsewhere to maintain their citizenship in Nepal.

  3. I would sign up for dual citizenship in a heartbeat if it was a possibility... and I've been contemplating a blog post about how unfair it is that foreigners married to Indian spouses can get a "Person of Indian Origin" card which makes it easier to travel there and live if you choose. I was sitting next to a Nepali guy on the plane tonight who said there were "NRN" cards for non-resident Nepalis, but they don't do a whole lot, and aren't available to people like us.

    I've heard before that they don't allow dual citizenship because the government is afraid Indians will take on Nepali citizenship to buy land, etc, but with SO MANY Nepalis living abroad these days, dual citizenship would make SO MUCH SENSE.

    Maybe one of these days.

  4. I get it... you guys get it... why is the government so annoying?