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Royal decision
Kid of Alien Dad May Get Moroccan Nationality
Thanks to Landmark Decision by King Mohammed VI

His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco
The child of a Moroccan motherand of a foreign father is now able acquire the mother's nationality — Moroccan citiaenship, thanks to a landmark decision by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful.

The royal decision is seen as part of building a modern, democratic and developed nation strongly attached to the values of effective citizenship and committed to its authentic identity. Here is the full story.

His Majesty King Mohammed VI has decided that a child born to a Moroccan mother and a foreign father shall have the right to obtain Moroccan citizenship.

The royal decision is a clear illustration of His Majesty's keen, constant desire to address the real concerns of Moroccan citizens - in Morocco as well as abroad - and to fulfil their legitimate, understandable aspirations.

His Majesty's decision, which was announced during the State of the Nation Address on July 30, 2005, on the occasion of the celebration of the sixth anniversary of His Majesty's enthronement, aims at completing the specific reforms meant to consolidate gender equality, reinforce women's rights, foster the supreme interests of the Moroccan child and uphold the unity and harmony of the family and its authentic national identity.

It is also an initiative that seeks to develop and enhance the mechanisms and institutions for democratic rule. In fact, His Majesty has provided Moroccan families with an advanced, ground-breaking Family Law and the royal decision shows how resolved His Majesty is to build on the significant progress which has been made, and which has been confirmed by the rights and obligations stipulated in the Family Law.

Therefore, His Majesty has given his instructions to the government to swiftly finalize the procedure for ruling on those requests to obtain Moroccan citizenship which fulfil all the necessary legal conditions.

His Majesty also asked the government to submit to him sensible proposals for amending the legislation on citizenship, to make sure that the suggested amendments tally with the Family Law.

Indeed and in addition to the discretionary authority lying with His Majesty the King to grant Moroccan citizenship by Dahir (Royal decree), the 1958 citizenship act stipulates – in accordance with article 6 of the old personal status law – that only the father is entitled to passing on his nationality to his child automatically and as of right, whereas the mother cannot, except in the following cases:

— A child born of a Moroccan mother and an unknown father;

— A child, born in Morocco, of a Moroccan mother and of a stateless father;

— A child born in Morocco of a Moroccan mother and a non-Moroccan father, provided there is no opposition by the Justice minister, and provided the child expresses the desire to acquire citizenship during the two years preceding his or her coming of age ;

— As for persons aged 18 and above, it is the common law system for case-by-case naturalization that applies to them.

Citizenship requests are investigated by a commission in which the Ministries of Justice, Interior and Foreign Affairs are represented, in addition to the government Office of Secretary-general and the Private Office of His Majesty the King.

In keeping with the above procedure, 1,646 people obtained Moroccan citizenship between 1958 (date of the Dahir's entry into force) and 2005.

Needless to stress that righteousness and justice are the underlying principles and main objectives of His Majesty's decision. The main goal sought by the Royal Decision is to enhance the pioneering accomplishments achieved through the new Family Law, enhancing effective, responsible citizenship, and attaining the objectives of the National Initiative for Human Development.

In addition to these accomplishments, a modern legislation adopted recently has confirmed Morocco's commitment to universally recognized human rights, and has made it possible, in particular, to ensure better protection of the rights of children, women and young people.

It concerns, above all, the labour law, the electoral legislation (voting age brought down to 18 years for both men and women), positive discrimination in favour of women through the institution of a national women's list to ensure a minimum 10 percent quota in parliament, and the penal code (enhancing guarantees for equitable legal proceedings, and adopting legislation that penalizes torture).

Consolidating the accomplishments made with respect to civic and political rights hinges on guaranteeing socioeconomic and cultural rights. This is the objective targeted by the National Initiative for Human Development, a plan which is characterized by a strategic vision and an integrated regional dimension, and which seeks to foster solidarity in order to make up for social shortcomings and fight regional disparities, as well as all forms of exclusion.

In accordance with the instructions of His Majesty the King, the Human Rights Advisory Council is currently preparing a national charter of the rights and obligations of the citizen and examining the means for implementing the national strategy for training people in human rights. These two important projects, and the National Initiative for Human Development, are part of many endeavours designed to foster effective, responsible citizenship.

It is worth pointing out that Moroccan as well as foreign newspapers and media lauded the royal decision to grant citizenship to children born to the Moroccan mother and a foreign father and qualified it as a ground breaking reform that reflects the monarch's will to strengthen the family institution and protect the children.

The decision was also hailed by several political leaders, government officials and NGO's including those involved in Human Rights protection.

The above article was contributed from The Moroccan Embassy in Seoul






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