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Comoros: Whether the spouse of a Comoran citizen can acquire Comoran nationality; if so, the procedures and documents required to obtain Comoran nationality; whether children who were born abroad to Comoran parents can obtain the nationality of their parents; if so, the procedures and documents required; whether religion affects the possibility of obtaining nationality

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 29 November 2010
Citation / Document Symbol COM103592.FE
Related Document Comores : information indiquant si l'épouse d'un citoyen comorien ou l'époux d'une citoyenne comorienne peut obtenir la nationalité comorienne et, le cas échéant, information sur la procédure et les documents requis pour obtenir la nationalité comorienne; information indiquant si les enfants nés à l'étranger de parents comoriens peuvent obtenir la nationalité de leurs parents et, le cas échéant, information sur la procédure et les documents requis; information indiquant si la religion influe sur la possibilité d'obtenir la nationalité
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Comoros: Whether the spouse of a Comoran citizen can acquire Comoran nationality; if so, the procedures and documents required to obtain Comoran nationality; whether children who were born abroad to Comoran parents can obtain the nationality of their parents; if so, the procedures and documents required; whether religion affects the possibility of obtaining nationality, 29 November 2010, COM103592.FE, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/50b756862.html [accessed 29 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Female spouse of a Comoran

Two Comoran diplomatic sources consulted by the Research Directorate indicate that the female spouse of a Comoran citizen can acquire Comoran nationality, provided that that she is legally married (Union of the Comoros 22 Sept. 2010; ibid. 21 Sept. 2010).

In that regard, the 12 December 1979 Comoran Nationality Code reads as follows:

[translation]

Art. 15. Subject to the provisions of articles 16, 17, 43, a foreign woman who marries a Comoran acquires Comoran nationality from the moment the marriage is solemnized, before the civil status officer.

Art. 16. If the woman's national law allows her to retain her original nationality, the woman may declare, prior to the solemnization of the marriage, that she declines Comoran nationality.

Even if she is a minor, she may exercise this right without authorization.

Art. 17. Within the six months following the solemnization of the marriage, the Government may, by an order jointly made by the ministers responsible for Justice, the Interior, Health and Social Affairs, oppose the acquisition of Comoran nationality.

For this purpose, within the eight days following the solemnization, the civil status officer sends an extract of the marriage certificate to the minister responsible for Justice, for registration.

In the case of opposition by the Government, the person concerned is deemed to never have had Comoran nationality.

However, when the validity of instruments executed prior to the order of opposition was conditional on the woman's acquisition of Comoran nationality, the validity of such instruments may not be challenged on the grounds that the woman was unable to acquire Comoran nationality.

Art. 18. When the solemnization of the marriage takes place abroad, the time period specified in the preceding article begins on the day the marriage is registered in the civil status records of Comoran diplomatic or consular officers.

Art. 19. woman does not acquire Comoran nationality if her marriage with a Comoran man is declared null in a decision by a Comoran jurisdiction or that has been made binding in the Comoros, even if the marriage was entered into in good faith.

However, when the validity of instruments executed prior to the judicial decision nullifying the marriage was conditional on the woman's acquisition of Comoran nationality, the validity of such insturments may not be challenged on the ground that the woman was unable to acquire Comoran nationality. (Union of the Comoros 1979).

Male spouse of a Comoran

In a 2009 report entitled Citizenship Law in Africa, an author with the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP), who was the former assistant director of Human Rights Watch's Africa Division (OSI n.d.), indicated that the Union of the Comoros is among the African countries that "do not allow women to pass their citizenship to their non-citizen spouses at all, or apply discriminatory residence qualifications to foreign men married to citizen women who wish to obtain citizenship" (OSI 2009, 6).

In that regard, the 12 December 1979 Comoran Nationality Code reads as follows:

[translation]

Art. 29. Subject to the exceptions described in articles 30 and 31, naturalization may be granted to foreigners only if they can establish that they have had their usual place residence in the Comoros for the ten years preceding the filing of their application.

Art. 30. The period or residence set out in article 29 is reduced to five years:

  1. for foreigners born in the Comoros or married to a Comoran woman;
  2. for persons who have rendered significant services to the Comoros, such as the contribution of distinguished artistic, scientific or literary talent.

Art. 31. The following persons may be naturalized, without any period of residence:

  1. a foreign minor child, born outside the Comoros, if one of the parents acquires Comoran nationality during the lifetime of the other;
  2. the minor child of a foreigner who acquires Comoran nationality when, in accordance with article 49 below, the child has not automatically acquired Comoran nationality;
  3. the wife of a foreigner who acquires Comoran nationality;
  4. a foreign adult child adopted before reaching the age of majority by a person with Comoran nationality;
  5. a foreigner who has rendered exceptional services to the Comoros or whose naturalization is in the exceptional interest of the Comoros (Union of the Comoros 1979).

Children born abroad

According to the two diplomatic sources consulted by the Research Directorate, children born abroad to Comoran parents can obtain Comoran citizenship (Union of the Comoros 22 Sept. 2010; ibid. 21 Sept. 2010). Article 11 of the Comoran Nationality Code states the following: [translation] "Any individual born outside of the Comoros to a Comoran parent is Comoran" (Union of the Comoros 1979). However, according to article 13 of the code, [translation] "birth or parentage does not become effective in matters of attribution of Comoran nationality unless it is established by a civil status certificate or by a judgment" (ibid.). Information on the existence of another procedure that children born abroad to Comoran parents could follow to acquire Comoran nationality could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Influence of religion

According to the two Comoran diplomatic sources consulted by the Research Directorate, religion does not affect one's ability to obtain Comoran nationality (Union of Comoros 22 Sept. 2010; ibid. 21 Sept. 2010). In a 21 September 2010 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Ambassador of the Union of the Comoros in Brussels indicated that he had never heard of a case in which a person was refused nationality by the authorities for [translation] "religious reasons". Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Open Society Institute (OSI). 2009. Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP). Bronwen Manby. Les lois sur la nationalité en Afrique : une étude comparée. [Accessed 25 Nov. 2010]

_____. N.d. "About OSI Staff". [Accessed 25 Nov. 2010]

Union of the Comoros. 22 September 2010. Embassy of the Union of the Comoros in New York. Telephone interview with a representative.

_____. 21 September 2010. Embassy of the Union of the Comoros in Brussels. Telephone interview with the ambassador.

_____. 1979. Code de la nationalité. Loi n°79-12 du 12 décembre 1979 portant code de la nationalité comorienne. (United Nations - Refworld) [Accessed 17 Sept. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attemps to reach the Embassy of the Union of the Comoros in Paris, and the office of the Fondation comorienne des droits de l'homme (FCDH) were unsuccessful.

Internet sites including: African Press Organization (APO), Afrol News, AllAfrica.com, Al Watwan [Union of Comoros], Comoros — Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Courrier International [Paris], La Gazette [Moroni], Le Figaro [Paris], Freedom House, Grioo.com, InfoSud Belgique (InfoSud), Internationale de l'éducation (IE), Migrants outre-mer (MOM), Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF), Panapress (PANA), Réseau des médias francophones (MEDIAF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) United States — Department of State.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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