Headline July 03, 2018/ "' *LEBANON'S NATURALIZATION RIGHTS* "'



*BEAUTIFUL LEBANON IS STRUGGLING* to jump-start a sputtering economy and the country is sorely in need of capital to finance its voracious appetite for credit.

Beautiful Lebanon has one of the highest debt ratios in the world, standing at 150 percent of the gross domestic product and the political class since the 1950s has historically refrained from naturalizing foreigners and refugees en masse on the grounds-

That it would upset Lebanon's delicate sectarian balance. Many fear such steps could re-ignite the country's explosive mix of  Christian and Muslim sects that left 150,000 people dead during the  1975-90 civil war............

Although Christians make up a third of the country's 4.5 million people, parliament and cabinet seats are equally divided between Christians and Muslims.

A Lebanese presidential decree to naturalize hundreds of foreigners including Iraqi Vice President  Iyad Allawi and other regional elites, has ignited a row over who - Deserves citizenship in this tiny Mediterranean country, where one in four people is a refugee and women married to foreigners cannot pass on their citizenship to their children.

News of the decree, which was signed in secret in mid-May but leaked to the public two weeks later, has fueled the perception that citizenship, like so many other liberties in this country, is a privilege reserved for the wealthy.

Meanwhile Lebanese women married to foreigners don't have the right to pass on their nationality to their children. And more than a million Syrian and Palestinian refugees toil away in vital but back-breaking labor, without any legal protections against abuse, wage theft, arbitrary arrest and deportation.

''This decree should rattle our conscience,'' said May Elian, a Lebanese woman married to a foreigner and an activist with the campaign "My Nationality is My Right and My family's Right." But Prime Minister Saad Hariri has defended the decree, saying that the president's constitutional right to grant citizenship to whomever he pleases.

Customarily, Lebanon's president have waited until the end of their terms to issue a decree. In this case, President Michel Aoun signed on order less two years into his six years term, and without disclosing it to the public, raising suspicions of malfeasance in this corruption-ridden country.

Hariri and Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, who co-signed the decree challenged opponents to make their claims in court that some of the recipients were less than deserving. "People who have evidence should present it,'' said Machinouk.

As the opposition to the degree gained steam, the General Security Intelligence agency took the unusual step of calling on citizens to call or email with any information they had about the people set to be naturalized.

Some politicians have alleged that the beneficiaries include businessmen linked to the government in neighboring Syria, though this was not immediately clear from the published list. Legislators Wael Abu Faour, a harsh critic of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government said it is not acceptable that Lebanese citizenship becomes a commodity to killers and their assistants.

Such claims come at a delicate time when Lebanese politicians are still sharply divided over relation's with Assad's government as it has become clear he has emerged victorious after seven years of civil war.  Meanwhile the leading parties are pressuring refugees to return to Syria, the  United Nation and International donors say the  worn-torn country is is still not ready.

Aoun party, the Free Patriotic Movement, made a repatriation a ballot box issue in elections on May 6, insinuating that the overwhelmingly Muslin Syrian refugees were a threat to Lebanon's Christian community.

Many struggling Syrians are quietly bitter that Lebanon is is welcoming elites while turning its back on the laborers and menial workers who work long hours for little pay in Lebanon's grossly unequal economy. "The big people get citizenship, and the little guys, nobody looks after them,"said Mohammad Naasan, a 40-year-old hairdresser in Beirut.

The decree has also galled campaigners who have pushed hard to have Lebanon reform its discriminatory personal status laws, which grant men wide-ranging rights over women, including the right to pass on their nationality to their children, while mother's cannot.

With respectful dedication to the people of Lebanon, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers  -and then the world. See Ya all ''register'' on : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter-!E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Rights by Rights '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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