Libyans want citizenship for children of women married to foreigners

On October 19, 2022, the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Libya decreed that children of Libyan women married to foreigners must enjoy the same rights as Libyan citizens, including access to free healthcare and education inside the country and acceptance at Libyan schools abroad. The decree also waived visa requirement for the group. Children of Libyan women married to foreigners were deprived of rights by laws issued in 2012. For years, women married to foreigners campaigned along with human rights activists to grant their kids such rights, with efforts intensifying last year in the lead to the general elections scheduled in December 2021. The GNU’s decree is a long-awaited progress to ease the struggle for thousands of families across the countries. It falls short of granting citizenship, however. The Arab Barometer Wave VII survey (2022) in Libya shows that the majority (57 percent) supports granting citizenship to children of women married to foreigners. This support is uniform across age groups, income levels, and educational attainment. Women tend to be more supportive (62 percent) compared to men (52 percent). The decree is an important step toward resolving the issue of Libyan women married to foreigners, but more is still needed to ensure full equality in the country.