Patriarch Rai urges Lebanon to grant expats right to regain citizenship


Lebanon patriarch raiChristian Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai urged the authorities to grant citizenship to Lebanese expatriates , describing it as an “urgent” issue.

“Despite the difficulties that the country is passing through, granting the Lebanese expats citizenship is an important and urgent matter,” the Patriarch said during a meeting with the representatives of the Maronite Foundation in the World.

He requested Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who was present at the Bkirki meeting, to give the case the required attention by increasing the number of Lebanese diplomatic missions.

The Patriarch wondered about the fate of the draft-law for people of Lebanese origin to obtain citizenship.

Bassil vowed to give the issue top priority and to tackle it during talks with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
According to the current Lebanese law only children of a Lebanese father can be granted citizenship . Children of a Lebanese mother married to a foreigner do not qualify .

But the cabinet of former Prime Minister Najib Mikati approved in 2011 a draft-law to grant the Lebanese citizenship to children of Lebanese mothers married to foreigners .

The draft-law was referred to the parliament for discussion but has not yet been endorsed.