NRNA renews its call for dual citizenship for NRNs

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Kathmandu, Nepal: The Non-resident Nepali Association (NRNA) delegates have renewed their call upon the Nepal government and members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to introduce the provision of dual citizenship in the new constitution.

An NRNA delegation led by advisor to the NRNA International Coordination Council (ICC), Prof. Dr. Surya P. Subedi called on Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Wednesday. During the meeting, Prof Subedi said over 70 countries around the world, including Nepal’s immediate neighbours Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have already introduced the provision of dual citizenship with none or minimal exceptional prohibitions.

“Nepal stands to gain a lot by introducing this provision which will encourage Nepali diaspora to transfer their skills and expertise as well as invest their resources for the socio-economic development of Nepal,” he added.

Under the existing Citizenship Law of Nepal, People of Nepali Origin (PNOs) who have taken up foreign citizenship automatically lose their Nepali citizenship and by extension their right to live, work and own property in Nepal. The NRNA considers this law as inhuman and anachronistic and has been demanding suitable amendments in the said law.

“There have been attempts to distort the demands of NRNA regarding dual citizenship. We are not demanding citizenship for non-Nepalese,” clarified Prof. Subedi, who teaches international law at the University of Leeds, UK. “All we are demanding is that NRNs should be allowed to retain their Nepali citizenship even if they acquire foreign citizenship while living and working abroad.”

“By making simple amendments in the existing law and mentioning about the provision of dual citizenship in the new constitution, Nepal can earn the goodwill and support of over two million Nepali diaspora scattered around the world,” he added.

Members of the delegation insisted that Nepal should promulgate the new constitution at the stipulated time.

In his response, premier Nepal told the delegation that the Nepal government was positive towards their demands and that it had already initiated process to issue I-D cards to NRNs through Foreign Ministry and Nepalese embassies abroad. He also advised the delegation to meet other political party leaders and members of the CA to forge a broader consensus on the issue.

The delegation comprised NRNA ICC members Rajendra  Bahadur Shrestha, Badri KC,  Sonam Lama, NCC UK IPP Dambar Ghale, Vice President Kul Acharya, Member  Kedar Thapaliya, NCC Russia Treasurer  Ranga Nath Paudel, Member Govinda Gautam and NRNA Executive Director  Dr. Hemant Dabadi.

The delegation is scheduled to call on chairman of the CA, Subash Nemwang, on Thursday.

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