In 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered J.S. v. the U.K. (C/53/D/38/2012 ). J.S. (“the author”) claims that he is a victim of discrimination of a continuous nature, because the revision of the 1948 British Nationality Act in 1981 and 2002 did not eliminate the discrimination against women. He claims that if he had been born of a father with United Kingdom and Colonies’ citizenship, or after 1983, he could have applied for a British passport.
The author claims that the Convention recognizes women’s autonomy and equality in the transfer and acquisition of nationality, and permits either spouse to confer nationality on their children. On the issue of nationality, the granting of equal rights to women requires having an independent nationality, regardless of the nationality of one’s husband, and granting equal rights regarding the nationality of children. States parties are also expected to uphold equal rights with regard to laws relating to the movement of persons and the freedom to choose one’s residence and domicile. They must also take measures to eliminate discrimination against women in matters relating to marriage and family relations, and ensure that overall equality between men and women exists. Any State which does not respect these provisions in practice and law fails in its duties under articles 1 and 2 of the Convention.
The author claims to be a victim of a violation of article 9 of the Convention. In substantiation, he refers to the Committee’s general recommendation No. 21 (1994) on equality in marriage and family relations (which emphasizes the importance of granting equal rights to women concerning acquisition and retention of citizenship. The author notes in particular that paragraph 6 of general recommendation No. 21 reads as follow: “Nationality is critical to full participation in society [...]. Without status as nationals or citizens, women are deprived of the right to vote or to stand for public office and may be denied access to public benefits and a choice of residence. Nationality should be capable of change by an adult woman and should not be arbitrarily removed because of marriage or dissolution of marriage or because her husband or father changes his nationality.”