With the aim of making life easier for the children of Lebanese mothers married to non-Lebanese men, Lebanon's lawmakers have finally taken the step of exempting them from work permits that are usually a must to non-Lebanese nationals residing in the country.
For those who are unaware of this dramatic social issue in Lebanon, children born to Lebanese mothers and non-Lebanese fathers are not deemed Lebanese by the Lebanese laws. They are neither entitled to citizenship and related due rights.
That law applies as well to those born and raised in Lebanon, which has been a major drama for the concerned families. From that point of view, they have been living as foreigners in their own country with a residence permit, called courtesy residency, and which requires continuous applications for renewal.
Similarly, they have required, until this new recent law, to apply for a work permit to be able to work or to pursue a career after their graduation.
Activism has been ongoing for the past decades to eradicate that injustice. On that context, it is worth pointing out that such law denies de facto the Lebanese DNA of Lebanese women, which naturally and biologically passes on to their biological children.
It is the clear statement that that particular law conveys when refusing to acknowledge these children as Lebanese for the only reason that their mothers married a non-Lebanese.
While the dramatic issue is still active and wrecking families, Lebanese lawmakers have finally decided recently to at least allow these children to work in the country like any Lebanese citizen without the need for a work permit.
During a parliamentary session, the lawmakers passed finally an expedited draft law in that regard, exempting these children, who have courtesy residency, from having to apply for a work permit.
This draft law was proposed by MPs Ali Darwish, Najib Mikati, and Nicolas Nahhas, as a first step towards giving women and men full equality with respect to nationality.
Speaking about this new law, MP Ali Darwish asserted that it's "a step on the path to making equality between man and woman [...] And this will make the woman’s life and the life of her children easier in Lebanon. They will not be treated completely as foreigners as if they were like any foreigner from a foreign father and mother."
Many officials, activists, associations, and organizations rushed to praise the new law. The National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) praised it as a positive step by the Council, stating that the "law would facilitate the lives of the children of Lebanese women married to foreigners. However, they made sure to add, and rightfully so, that it "does not offer a radical solution to their suffering."
Moustafa Chaar, Head of the campaign My Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family - Jinsiyati, pointed out that "this is the first serious step towards giving the children of Lebanese mothers married to non-Lebanese their nationality [...]
With this new law, the children of Lebanese mothers won't have to apply for a work permit to work in any field. No one from now on can argue that they can’t work, and they must be treated like any other Lebanese worker or employee.
What's next in the government's agenda to solve entirely this issue remains to be seen. As stated by NCLW, a radical solution is a must to end this problem that shouldn't have been allowed to even exist.