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KATHMANDU: About 6.3 million Nepalis are without citizenship certificates provided by the state as the Bill Designed to Amend the Nepal Citizenship Act 2063 is yet to be passed by the parliament.
This issue was highlighted by the speakers in a discussions program with journalists organized virtually here today by the Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD). The discussions were on the Citizenship Bill.
According to FWLD, this data is based on a study conducted before the National Census of 2011. FWLD executive director Sabin Shrestha said the study was done on the basis of the national census conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics and the number of citizenship certificates issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Four million 346 thousand 46 Nepali citizens were without the citizenship certificates in the year the study was conducted. Executive Director Shrestha said the number of citizens not having the citizenship certificates was calculated on the basis of the ratio of population increase each year and the number of citizenship certificates distributed that year.
It was shared in the program that many people were deprived of citizenship certificate the name of mother because the Citizenship Bill that is under discussion in the Federal Parliament, State Affairs and Good Governance Committee under the House of Representatives for a long time and it is not endorsed by the parliament.
Advocate Nabin Kumar Shrestha said millions of citizens are deprived of their right to get citizenship which is established as the fundamental right in the constitution as the Bill remained to be passed by the parliament.
The highest number of people deprived of citizenship certificate due to this is in Kathmandu district. One hundred fifteen thousand seven hundred sixty-seven people in Kathmandu district are deprived of citizenship certificate.
The lowest percentage (16.38) of people deprived of getting citizenship certificate is in State no 2, according to the FWLD. Every year, 700 thousand Nepalis become eligible for the citizenship certificate after they reach 16 years of age.
As per the statistics provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 470 thousand people are issued the citizenship certificate each year.
The FWLD has demanded that the state should also collect data on the number of citizens without citizenship certificate while conducting the 12th nation Census in 2021.
The participants of the discussions program also emphasized that the trend of ‘distributing’ citizenship certificates after each and every big political change in a haphazard manner to appease a particular political constituency should be put to an end.
The laws related to the issuance of citizenship certificates should also be clear.