Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The petition for Dual Citizenship, where we stand

On July 24, 2007, two days before our nation’s 160th anniversary of independence, Representative Armah Sarnor and Representative Vaforay Kamara introduced a landmark bill in the House of Representatives to protect all Liberians from involuntary losses of their Liberian citizenship when they become naturalized citizens of another country or serve in the armed forces of another country without the prior approval of the President of Liberia. After the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Armah Sarnor, gave the bill to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the bill received its first reading during a regular session of the House, and without objection was sent to the judiciary committee for consideration and recommendation. When a bill is introduced in the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House assigns the bill to one or more of the House’s standing committees based on the bill’s subject matter. Accordingly, theDual citizenship bill, which is designed to protect all Liberians from involuntary losses of their Liberian citizenship, was assigned to the House’s standing committee on Judiciary. Having introduced the bill, the Judiciary Committee’s action is the next important step in our effort to get the dual citizenship bill to become law. As per the House standing rules, the bill must come out of committee before it can make it to the full House for a vote. There are positive signs the bill will come out of committee. Non-Resident Liberians believes that as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the dual citizenship bill, Rep. Armah Sarnor, among others, understands the constitutional importance of due process and knows that the current practice of attempting to automatically deprive Liberians of their citizenship must not be allowed to continue. Non-Resident Liberians further believes that as chairman of the House Human and Civil Rights Committee and co-sponsor of the dual citizenship bill, Rep. Vaforay Kamara, among others, understands that during the many years of armed violence and persecution in our Nation more than 900,000 Liberians were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries, and that Liberians should not be penalized for being forced into exile. Non-Resident Liberians continues to appreciate the leadership of Rep. Armah Sarnor and Rep. Vaforay Kamara in leading the charge for the House to pass the dual citizenship bill and send it to the Senate for its approval. In the coming months, we will reach out to more members of the legislature and ask them to sign on as co-sponsors of the dual citizenship bill. We will also ask President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to take a visible stance in support of the bill. Rest assured that when the Legislature convenes in January 2008, the dual citizenship bill will be one of the first matters on the legislative agenda. As we have and continue to receive a lot of support for the bill from members in both chambers of the legislature as well as from Liberians worldwide, we believe the House of Representatives and Senate will pass the bill and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will sign it into law.Thanks to all of you who have signed the online petition. Thanks also to the many supporters who have and continue to show their support for the bill both orally and in writing. If you haven't signed the online petition, please click to sign it now. If you already have signed the petition, please do what you can to help spread the word. For questions, please email nrliberians@yahoo.com or visit our blog at www.nrliberians.blogspot.com

By: Non-resident Liberians

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