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Conference Resolution: All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship

 All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship Final Resolution  All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship Final Resolution


Washington DC, USA

December 7-8, 2012 All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship – Washington DC

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WHERE AS
Liberians residing in Europe, the United States, Canada and other regions of the world met at an All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship held in Washington DC on December 7-8, 2012 to push for the country to allow the hundreds of thousands of Liberian citizens that fled the chaos and instability in their country, including the 14-year civil war, to retain their Liberian citizenship after becoming citizens by naturalization or other means of foreign countries; and
WHERE AS

there are approximately more than 500,000 Liberians residing outside the country; and
WHERE AS
the overwhelming majority of Liberians who re-settled in Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Asia and Africa as a result of intractable conflicts at home want to expand their opportunities abroad through naturalization but are also committed to maintaining their Liberian citizenship; and
WHERE AS

these Liberian immigrants are pursuing naturalization in foreign lands to obtain jobs that are reserved for citizens of their host countries, gain priority in bringing family members to countries like the United States as immigrants, attain eligibility for government-sponsored social benefits such as social security supplemental income, education and medical assistance that are reserved for citizens of their host countries, or secure exemption from routine reporting requirements that are imposed on resident aliens often at exorbitant fees; and
WHERE AS

Chapter 22 of the 1973 Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia, as amended in 1974 (“Nationality Law”), which is similar to the 1952 U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act does not allow for Liberians to retain their citizenship upon becoming citizens by naturalization or other means of foreign lands; and

WHERE AS
the U.S Act of 1952 was amended in 1986 to allow natural born Americans to naturalize in foreign countries without losing their American citizenship but Liberia has not similarly amended its Nationality Law ; and

WHERE AS
Liberia has experienced tumultuous social and political change from the 1980 military intervention to 14 years of civil war which forced hundreds of thousands of Liberians to flee their country and become refugees and immigrants in foreign lands under circumstances not envisioned by the architects of the Nationality Law ; and All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship – Washington DC – December 7-8 2012 – Page 3 of 7
WHERE AS
due to the Nationality Law, Liberians that naturalize abroad are not only stripped of their Liberian citizenship but are also precluded from owning land or other real estate in their native homeland; and

WHERE AS
Chapter 22 of the Nationality Law, contravenes Article 27(a) of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which states that “All persons who, on the coming into force of this Constitution were lawfully citizens of Liberia shall continue to be Liberian citizens”; and
WHERE AS
Chapter 22 of the Nationality Law is unjust and violates fundamental rights, including the right to citizenship, as enshrined in various international treaties to which Liberia is signatory;
WHERE AS
Section 20.1(b) of the Nationality Law unconstitutionally discriminates against Liberian mothers in that it does not recognize children born outside Liberia to Liberian mothers as Liberian citizens but recognizes children born outside Liberia to Liberian fathers as Liberian citizens; and
WHERE AS
Section 21.30 of the Nationality Law further unconstitutionally discriminates against Liberian women by providing a pathway to citizenship for foreign spouses of Liberian men without providing a similar pathway to citizenship for foreign spouses of Liberian women; and

WHERE AS
the 1973 Alien and Nationality Law as amended in 1974 is in violation of Articles 11 (c), 20 (a) and 95 (a) of the National Constitution in that it discriminates on the basis of gender, automatically imposes loss of citizenship, and is inconsistent with the 1986 National Constitution; and
WHERE AS

the attainment of citizenship in foreign lands has enabled many Liberian immigrants to secure employment and gain wealth and thereby remit over 1 billion U.S. dollars to suffering family members during the civil war, and to continue to transfer tens of millions of dollars each year back to Liberia to support family members and stimulate the battered Liberian economy; and

WHERE AS

allowing such Liberians to retain their Liberian citizenship will maximize opportunities for Liberians living outside Liberia to obtain the necessary resources (education, knowledge, skills and wealth) to help develop a working middle class for Liberia that can serve as an engine for the reconstruction of the motherland; All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship – Washington DC – December 7-8 2012 – Page 4 of 7
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED

that the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship calls on the Liberian National Legislature to immediately repeal the Nationality Law to allow for the retention of Liberian citizenship by Liberians who naturalize in a foreign state, take an oath or make an affirmation of allegiance to a foreign state, vote to elect the sovereign of a foreign state, enter or serve in the armed forces of a foreign state or marry a citizen of a foreign state;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship also calls on the Liberian National Legislature to immediately repeal the Nationality Law to provide for children born outside Liberia to Liberian mothers to become citizens of Liberia, enjoying the same rights currently reserved for children born outside Liberia to Liberian fathers, and to allow for children born to at least one citizen parent to automatically retain his/her citizenship without taking an oath of allegiance before or after attaining his/her majority;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship also calls on the Liberian National Legislature to immediately repeal the Nationality Law to provide a pathway to citizenship for foreign spouses of Liberian women identical to the pathway now provided for foreign spouses of Liberian men;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that from and after the effective date of repeal of the Nationality Law, Liberian Citizenship shall be automatically restored to any person who lost his/her citizenship by operation of the Nationality Law;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED

that the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship calls on Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to take Executive Action including issuing an Executive Order putting an immediate halt to the enforcement of Chapter 22 of the Nationality Law regarding loss of citizenship for Liberians, and directing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and consular officers to issue Liberian passports or other travel documents to Liberians irrespective of whether they attained the citizenship of a foreign state;
BE IT FURHTER RESOLVED
the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship calls on President Sirleaf to instruct the Ministry of Justice not to defend the constitutionality of chapter 22 of the Nationality Law, and to order the Minister of Justice to direct the ministry’s attorneys to advise the courts in all pending and future litigations that the ministry will cease defense of Chapter 22 of the Nationality Law in court; All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship – Washington DC – December 7-8 2012 – Page 5 of 7

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED
that the All-Liberian National Conference on Citizenship calls on President Sirleaf to expand the Constitution Review Committee to include a representative from the Liberian Diaspora;
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED

the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship empowers the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), The European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), Conference of Liberian Organizations in the Southwestern United States (COLOSUS), and the Coalition of Concerned Liberians (CCL), a Washington DC based Liberian lobbying group,) to implement the following recommendations:

I. Work with members of the House of Senate and the House of Representatives of the Republic of Liberia for the repeal of the Alien and Nationality Law to allow for Liberians to retain their citizenship after becoming citizens by naturalization or other means of a foreign state;

II. Work with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to issue an Executive Order that puts on hold the enforcement of Chapter 22 of the Nationality Law regarding loss of citizenship for Liberians;

III. Take all appropriate legal actions alone or in collaboration with other individuals or organizations to invoke a constitutional challenge to the Nationality Law regarding the loss of citizenship by Liberians;

IV. Submit proposals for a constitutional amendment to the Constitution Review Committee to unequivocally and unambiguously allow for multiple citizenship for Liberians and to amend Article 28 of the Liberian National Constitution to allow for a child born to at least one citizen parent to automatically retain his/her citizenship without taking an oath of allegiance or renouncing any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country;

V. Organize similar All-Liberian National Conferences in Liberia to attract support from political parties, civil organizations and other citizens’ groups;

VI. To engage in a sustain media and public awareness campaign to educate and conscientize Liberians in Liberia on the benefits that inure to the State as a whole from allowing Liberians who become citizens of foreign countries to retain their Liberian citizenship;

All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship – Washington DC – December 7-8 2012 – Page

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VII. Take all other necessary and lawful actions to support the retention of citizenship by Liberians who become citizens of foreign states ; and

VIII. To ensure that the offending provisions of the 1973 Alien and Nationality Law as amended in 1974 are repealed by 2013

Done this 8th Day of December 2012 in the City of Washington DC, United States of America, and unanimously approved at the conference by a vote taken.

                                                                     Signed

ULAA Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee

Chairman, All Liberian Convention on Dual Citizenship

Approved

Gaye D. Sleh, Jr., National President, ULAA

John Nimly Brownell, National President, EFLA

Willie Kim Kamara, Nationa President, COLOSUS

John F. Lloyd, National Chairman, CCL

Mrs. Julia Mardea Richards, President, United Liberian Ass. in Accra, Ghana (ULAG)

Mr. Edward Solo, Interim President,  The Federation of Liberian Communities in Australia (FOLICA)

 

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