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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Emirati Mothers

In honor of the United Arab Emirates 40 year anniversary, the President, Sheikh Khalifa, made several decrees. Perhaps the most meaningful was that children born to an Emirati mother and non-Emirati father are entitled to Emirati citizenship. (Children of Emirati fathers were always entitled to citizenship regardless of the nationality of the mother.) Previously, these children were not entitled to the benefits of being Emirati such as free education and access to high paying public sector jobs.

While it may seem obvious to western countries that children of nationals should be granted citizenship regardless of the gender of the parent, this is actually a very progressive move on the part of Sheikh Khalifa. It has brought hope to women in other Middle Eastern countries such as Qatar who are waiting for similar rights. Hopefully, this decree can be the start of that.

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