When Mrs. Nabeela gave birth to her only daughter, she didn't know she would need so ‎many documents and formal papers to get her into school, she also didn't know that , even ‎though her daughter was very good at school, and very skilled in today's life requirements , ‎getting her a job would be next to impossible.‎
‎"My daughter didn't set foot in any other country than Syria, and she'll get her degree from ‎here, but she won't be able to be employed here, because she isn't Syrian", Says Mrs. ‎Nabeela.‎

Even with formal statistics' absence, we could tell a lot of women have the same problem ‎Mrs. Nabeela and her daughter have, which is that the daughter (and\or son) doesn't have ‎the Syrian nationality because her father is foreign, and the Syrian nationality law (clause 3, ‎segment a) says:‎
‎"The right to obtain Syrian nationality is legally given to those who were born in, or outside ‎the Syrian country for an Arabic Syrian father". Without an equal right to Syrian mothers!!‎
The suffering of those mothers and their children didn't stop the chairman of the Syrian ‎parliament from re-affirming the government's reservations on CEDAW, according to the ‎Syrian news agency SANA. This was unexpected by Mrs. Sawsan Zakzak from Syrian Women ‎League:"we were surprised by the parliament's vote to keep the government's reservations ‎on CEDAW in the time we were expecting to lift most of them".‎
The Syrian Women League in a non-governmental association, which released a petition in ‎‎2003 demanding the change of Syrian nationality law to include those of a Syrian father OR ‎MOTHER.‎
The League conducted studies for many cases, and heard live testimonies of Syrian women ‎talking about their sufferings from denying their children's right of a Syrian nationality.‎
‎"We discovered that most of the problems begin when the children's studies end, and when ‎they have to have a green card to find a job, and they have to have jobs to ensure the ‎renewal of the green card, and their begins the vicious cycle", says Mrs. Sawsan.‎
This campaign launched by the League is considered a part of a regional campaign, which ‎includes many Arab countries, some of which have made the necessary law adjustments, ‎such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt. And some are still campaigning including ‎Bahrain, Lebanon, and Syria.‎
The League have already gathered thousands of signatures on a patent clarifying the ‎demanded adjustments, and sent it to the President in 2006. The campaign was recently ‎revived by Syrian congressman, Dr. Mohammad Habash.‎

CEDAO reservations, Religious or political?‎
A lot of women-rights-activists in Syria see that the Syrian constitution assures the equality ‎between men and women in clause 25, segment 2 which says: "All citizens are equal in girths ‎and duties before the law". They see that the nationality law differs with that constitutional ‎principal! and denies women their rights as a fully qualified citizen in her own country.‎
The government confirms its adoption of this sex-based-distinction by reserving segment 2 ‎of clause 9 in CEDAW which says that all nations which are part of this agreement should ‎grant women equal rights to men's in the subject of children's nationality.‎
The Syrian reservation was, according to the validation decree, due to Islamic Sharia (Law), ‎however, Islamic voices clarified that the segment doesn't contradict with Sharia, including ‎the Syrian Mufti (Sheikh Ahmad Badr Hassoun) who, in an interview with "Economy and ‎Transport" Syrian magazine, confirmed his approval to giving women this right because it is a ‎political, national right, and is very different than ancestry, which is a Sharii (religious) right ‎to the man only.‎
Dr. Mohammad Habash (who is also an Islamic thinker) also made a public seminar, ‎organized by Syrian Women League in the National Dialogue Forum, and he gave his views ‎on how Sharia deals with Syria's CEDAW reservations, and confirming that (9-2) is irrelevant ‎to Sharia, for nationality is a civic right only between citizens and state.‎
Syrian government also makes excuses such as the Palestinian refugees' right-of-return, and ‎the case of Kurdish individuals denied of the Syrian nationality. And in this context, Mr. ‎Bassam Al-Qadi, supervisor of Syrian Women Observatory SWO, says:‎
‎"The Syrian woman's right to give her nationality to her children, her being a Syrian citizen, ‎has priority over any other concern, and when it contradicts with some case, it becomes ‎intolerable to solve such contradictions at the expense of the Syrian woman, the right thing ‎to do is to solve other cases by the best interest of Syrian citizens, because citizens are the ‎foundation of modern countries, and all what contradicts with their interest must be refused ‎once and for all".‎
It is noticeable that governmental bodies, such as the Syrian Organization for Family Affairs, ‎and the Women's General Union, have participated in making a study that recommends ‎lifting reservation on clause 9 of CEDAW.‎
Yet the Syrian reservations on CEDAW remains, and Mrs. Nabeela, along other Syrian ‎women, continues to suffer with their children, all caused by the deficient recognition of ‎Syrian women's citizenship despite all the voices demanding equity to women.‎

By: Thana Al-Sabaa, 18/12/2009, (Syrian nationality laws deny Syrian women's from their share of their children's creation)

Translated by: Nawar El-Sabaa

available in Arabic