The Lebanese ministry of foreign affairs have launched a glossy campaign reaching out to descendants of Lebanese males who left the country almost 100 years ago to apply for citizenship, meanwhile Lebanese women married to foreign men are still unable to pass down citizenship to their children.
Although the law came into place in over a year ago, the website was launched more recently.
(screen shot from the website)
In the 'About' section of the website they specifically appeal to foreign Lebanese expat communities, stating the following:
'The Lebanese Nationality Program is an initiative launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Emigrants, for people of Lebanese heritage around the world to apply for Lebanese Nationality and to benefit from their business, financial, consular, personal, social and political rights as Lebanese, wherever they are. In particular, this initiative is relevant for the large Lebanese communities in different countries all over the world.'
This mass outreach to people who effectively have very little connection with Lebanon and have made minimal contributions to society has caused much anger among people living in Lebanon. This is mainly down to the fact that under the current law Lebanese women are still unable to pass on nationality to their children, and thus extending the right to foreigners is seen to be hugely unjust. Additionally, there are currently over 450,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon who are effectively stateless, many of them know no other home but Lebanon.
(Screen-shot from the website which details the conditions for eligibility, either you must have a male relative with Lebanese origins or be the wife of a Lebanese man)
The campaign has received much criticism from within Lebanon, some of whom took to social media to express their anger.
Mona Fawaz, a Lebanese woman married to a foreign man, is currently unable to pass down citizenship to her children.
The importance of citizenship in today's world should not be underestimated. Every benefit and human right we enjoy either directly or inadvertently results from the ownership of a nationality. Citizenship ties us to the state which is responsible for our protection and without this it becomes difficult to access the most fundamental human rights such as justice, security, education and health. It is a dangerous position to be in and one which we must avoid at all costs.