The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Williametta Saydee-Tarr has highlighted Liberia’s progress in formulating legal instruments that seek to address notable reform which now confers to women.
“We remain committed to ensuring equal nationality rights for women and men to acquire, change, retain, and transmit their nationality within the context of the recommendations of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review. As well as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),” Minister Tarr highlighted.
Minister Tarr made the notations recently, when she put forth Liberia’s case in Switzerland while delivering the keynote address at the consortium of the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights.
During her oration, Minister Tarr highlighted Liberia’s notable reform under the regime of President George Manneh Weah which now accord women the same rights as men.
At the same time, the Gender Boss pointed out that Liberia will continue to strive to uphold the tenets and principles of human rights treaties and agreements which are all geared towards achieving gender equality.
She lauded the Legislature of Liberia for the passage of the law, and also, appreciated the United Nations, particularly the UNHCR, UNICEF, and UN Women for their enormous support to Liberia over the years as the country aspires to achieve gender equality and uphold children’s rights and well-being within the context of sustainable development, and to end statelessness.
The gathering is being organized by the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, UNHCR, UNICEF, and UN Women as well as the Women’s Refugee Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ongoing summit is intended to heighten attention on the costs of gender discrimination in nationality laws and expedite action to achieve gender-equal rights across the globe, thereby advancing state commitments and global goals pertaining to gender equality, children’s rights and wellbeing, sustainable development, and ending statelessness.
The summit is being attended by representatives of states, intergovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and UN agencies sharing on why equal nationality rights are essential to global goals.
In her presentation, the Gender Boss further indicated how it was difficult in accomplishing the reforms in Liberia’s nationality law.
“We would like to thank President George Manneh Weah for signing into Law on July 22, 2022, Liberia’s new nationality law. The law, which is titled “An Act to Amend and/or Nullify Certain Provisions of the Aliens and Nationality Law Relating to Citizenship and Restoring the Citizenship Rights Lost as a Consequence of those Provisions, commonly referred to as the Aliens and Nationalities Law, has now legally removed the gender discrimination in Liberia’s nationality law,” Minister Tarr noted.
“Because of the President’s political will and drive for achieving gender equality as a HeForShe Champion, we were able to remove this archaic stereotype against women relative to conferring nationality on their children born outside of the Republic of Liberia,” she noted.
According to her, under the leadership of President Weah, the ministry has been able to address gender discrimination in the nationality law, with an unwavering focus and commitment towards achieving gender equality, eradicating the risks of statelessness, and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Gender Minister referenced that prior to the passage of the law by the National Legislature and the subsequent signing into law by President George Manneh Weah, several provisions, including, Part III, Chapter 20, 21, and 22 of Title 4 of the Liberian Code of Laws Revised also known as the “1973 Aliens and Nationality Law,” clearly violated the rights of Liberian women and children.
She further disclosed that the law discriminated against Liberian citizenship rights between a person born of Liberian parents, (be it the father and/or the mother), on Liberian soil on the one hand, and a person born of Liberian parents outside of Liberia on the other hand.
Moreover, Minister Tarr encouraged other countries to make reforms in their nationality laws to address the gender discrimination therein, as contained in Article 9, Section 2 of CEDAW that requires States Parties to grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.