BEIRUT: A dozen Lebanese mothers Thursday held a demonstration in Beirut's UNESCO area against the Education Ministry's treatment of children whose fathers are not Lebanese.
Protesters argued that their children should be treated like Lebanese citizens when registering for school "because they are Lebanese born and raised."
Education Minister Elias Bou Saab issued a memo earlier this month ordering registration for Lebanese children to begin Sept. 13, and for non-Lebanese children on Sept. 14.
He also indicated that the number of foreign children at public schools should not exceed 50 percent of the total number of students.
Lebanese law forbids Lebanese women from passing their nationality on to their spouses and children, which has grave consequences for children whose fathers are not Lebanese citizens. Children of such unions are legally viewed as foreigners, even though the majority of them were born in Lebanon.
Supporters of this policy argue that Lebanon’s sectarian balance would change if women are allowed to pass their nationality to their children and spouses.
Many Lebanese women are married to Palestinian refugees, who are mostly Sunni.
But protesters said that the fact that Lebanese students get priority registration at the beginning of each school year is an act of discrimination.
They said that schools haven’t treated their children fairly during registration since the number of Syrian refugees ballooned in Lebanon.
The Lebanese government has made a commitment to educate Syrian refugee children as long as funding is available.
Karima Chebbo, who is responsible for the legal unit at "My nationality is mine and my family’s right” campaign, said that "the matter wasn't born today – it began in 2014."
"Public schools refuse to enroll the kids in accordance with the memo issued by the Education Minister," Chebbo said.
Instead, they are being placed on a waiting list.
Lebanese women have the right to "educate their children in their [mother] country," she continued. It is their "most basic right to register their children in public schools.
Source & Link : The Daily Star