Dual citizenship for natural born Liberians does not include “opening up citizenship to non-Negroes.”
The All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship, representing over 500,000 Liberians in the Diaspora, has revealed in a letter to President George Weah that dual citizenship for natural born Liberians, for which it is seeking support from the Government of Liberia does not involve “opening up citizenship to non-Negroes.”
The All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship comprises the following: The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), The European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), The Federation of Liberian Communities in Australia (FOLICA), Conference of Liberian Organizations in the South Western United States (COLOSUS), and United Liberian Association Ghana (ULAG).
In a letter dated February 8 to President Weah, the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship said the two issues should not be combined because combining these parallel and entirely different propositions (Dual Citizenship for natural born Liberians and opening citizenship to all races) as one item in a referendum will pose a significant challenge if not destroy its efforts for dual citizenship for natural born Liberians.
“We need to immediately bring to your attention that these issues should be addressed separately in any future legislative action or referendum.
“Furthermore, we strongly believe that combining the two issues into one proposition in any proposed referendum will confuse the Liberian people and lead to an unwelcome and untimely defeat of the cause of Dual Citizenship that we all believe is good for the unity and development of Mother Liberia,” the letter, signed by Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee,
Chairman, The All Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship, said.
They told President Weah that “now that you have publicly and emphatically expressed your support for Dual Citizenship in Liberia, our appeal to you is to provide the necessary push with the Liberian people and their elected representatives using your powerful bully pulpit to campaign for the passage of a Dual Citizenship law in 2018.”
The group also requested President Weah not to support “what appears to be a new proposal coming out of a House of Representatives committee to combine Dual Citizenship for natural born Liberians with citizenship for all races.”
The group said over 500,000 Liberians in the Diaspora from the Atlantic to Pacific, have acknowledged President Weah’s concern and meaningful support for dual citizenship for those born as Liberians and those born of Liberian parentage.
“Therefore, we have resolved to request a partnership relationship with your office to work together to achieve Dual Citizenship for natural-born Liberians and those born of Liberian parentage. We are encouraged by your expressed committed leadership and support for Dual Citizenship in your Annual Message to the 54th National Legislature, on Monday, January 29th.
“Mr. President, your vision to involve all Liberians in the development of our country has added weight towards your call for Dual Citizenship for those born as Liberians and those born of Liberian parentage who are currently in the Diaspora and fully committed to the development of Liberia,” the group stated.
The group also expressed appreciation to President Weah when he acknowledged that “our laws provide that only Liberian citizens can own real property in Liberia, and the current 1973 Alien and Nationality Law as amended in 1974 through the Fourth Regular Session of the Forty-Fifth Legislature strips natural born Liberians of their citizenship for assuming additional citizenship.
“This imposes legal restrictions on many Liberians by birth, who fled abroad due to war and conflict, from investing in the country as they cannot own or inherit real property in Liberia. It also stifles the participation of Diaspora Liberians in the reconstruction and economic recovery of the land of our nativity.”
The letter further noted that “For the past 10 years or more we have continued to take numerous steps to remove this legal impediment so that Diaspora Liberians can actively invest in the country and participate in the economic recovery. These include several meetings with you during which we have continued to crave your indulgence to help repeal the Alien and Nationality Law.
“We have sent delegations to Liberia, written letters and held meetings with the leadership and individual members of the National Legislature. We have submitted proposals and actively lobbied to repeal the Alien and Nationality Law.
“We were deeply involved in the national consultation to amend the National Constitution, and were represented at the National Constitution Review Conference in Gbarnga, Bong County.”
The group expressed gratitude to President Weah for his public support for dual citizenship and urged him to bless it with the terrific platform of his office to fully advocate for its passage into law.