Ensuring right to citizenship to every person and prevention of statelessness

Proposer:

Maalini Ramalo

Affiliations:

Right2Citizenship Cluster

Policy Code:

2f3 Refugees and undocumented

Problem Statement / Issue:

This submission focuses on:
I. Malaysia’s gender discriminatory laws and policies that prevent both men and women from conferring nationality on their children and spouses;
II. The denial of the right to a nationality and resultant statelessness and human rights challenges faced by communities in Malaysia, such as the maritime community, the Bajau Laut (also known as Sama-Dilaut) and people of Indian origin;
III. The denial of every child’s right to a nationality in Malaysia;

Value(s) and Belief(s):

The right to citizenship is Fundamental right

Proposal of Solution and Call to Action:

Repeal gender discriminatory nationality laws and policies. In particular, amend the Federal Constitution to allow for:
(i) a child born to a Malaysian citizen to automatically acquire Malaysian citizenship, irrespective of the gender of the Malaysian citizen parent and whether the child is born in or outside of Malaysia; and
(ii) Malaysian citizens confer nationality on foreign spouses on an equal basis irrespective of the citizen spouse’s gender.

Ensure the comprehensive application of existing safeguards provided by the Federal Constitution to ensure that every child born in Malaysia, who will otherwise be stateless, is granted Malaysian nationality, regardless of the gender, ethnicity, documentation or immigration status of the parents.
Remove reservation on Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Federal Constitution to be amended to ensure that every child born in Malaysia, who will otherwise be stateless, is granted Malaysian nationality, regardless of the gender, ethnicity, documentation or immigration status of the parents.

Ensure that all children who are stateless or at risk of statelessness, including foundlings and adopted children, are granted nationality without discrimination and in compliance with Malaysia’s constitutional safeguards against statelessness.
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Ensure all undocumented, stateless children in Malaysia have immediate access to public education

Ensure applicants’ access to the correct citizenship application forms and timely decision making on citizenship matters.

In accordance with natural justice, provide applicants for citizenship with full reasons for negative decisions.

Translation

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