A gender analysis of the right to a nationality in Myanmar

Published 07. Mar 2018
Many women in Myanmar do not enjoy citizenship, or “the right to have rights”. They do not have access to civil documents and this has a deep impact on their access to basic rights.

According to 2014 Census data, almost a third of the population in Myanmar do not have adequate identity and civil documentation. Of these, 54 percent are women.

Women who live in remote or conflict affected areas, who are displaced or belong to stateless ethnic and religious minorities face the consequences of an insecure legal identity. They cannot enrol their children in school, open a bank account, travel freely or register land. 

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), UN Women, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI), the Statelessness Network Asia Pacific (SNAP) and the Myanmar NGO The Seagull have produced an analysis of the right to a nationality in Myanmar. The report provides an analysis of the gender aspects of citizenship legislation in Myanmar and its application in light of the standards set by the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

It analyses in detail women’s ability to acquire citizenship on an equal basis as men, their ability to acquire, retain or confer citizenship following marriage and their ability to confer citizenship to their children. The report highlights the normative and practical challenges faced by women and proposes ways forward.