Gambia: Sidia Jatta Says Children Born to Non-Gambian Parents Should Be Granted Automatic Citizenship

Sidia Jatta said Wednesday that children born to non-Gambian Parents should be granted automatic citizenship.

Jatta was reacting to the debate on the new Draft Constitution tabled before them for debate on its merits and demerits and after majority of Gambians consulted by the Constitutional Review Commission said children born in The Gambia to non-Gambian parents should be granted automatic citizenship.

Sidia Jatta told Parliamentarians on Wednesday: "The Gambians want to enjoy international standards. Gambians want to enjoy that, but they don't want to reciprocate that. We know that Gambian women leave this country, they have never lived in France, they have never lived in the United States, they have never lived in England, but they go there pregnant to have their children have their nationality.

Why can't we reciprocate that? Our people are enjoying that and we don't want to give that to other people to enjoy. People have been living here for 40 years, 50 years, all their lives, their children are born here and they are not Gambians. This is terrible."

He concluded that this is a crime against humanity.

According to the Constitutional Review Commission, in its public consultations with Gambians both at home and in the diaspora On citizenship by birth, 86.7% of participants in the In-county Public Consultations (IPCs), 71.3% of Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) participants in The Gambia, 63.2% of respondents on the online Public Participation Platform (PPP), and 96% of respondents in the Household Survey agreed with the suggestion that children born in The Gambia of non-Gambian parents should be granted automatic citizenship. Similar results were found in consultations with Diaspora Gambians in the USA, Senegal, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia. However, a slightly lower percentage (48%) of Diaspora Gambians in Europe agreed with the suggestion that children born in The Gambia of non-Gambians should be granted automatic citizenship. The PPP participants also generally agreed that children born in The Gambia of unknown parents and adopted children should be allowed to obtain Gambian citizenship upon application.

In its final report, the CRC considered the public opinion to grant automatic citizenship to children born in The Gambia to non-Gambian parents. It went on to say that it recognised however, that this opinion required further consideration. The Commissioners said they considered important that persons granted automatic citizenship at birth could have huge consequences on national resources which, if not properly managed, could lead to potential socio-economic imbalances.

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