The Malta Independent 20 November 2017, Monday

Persons with mental health issues allowed to gain citizenship, both parties agree

Rebecca Iversen Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 20:59 Last update: about 4 days ago

The government has proposed amendments to the current law, allowing persons with mental health issues to gain Maltese citizenship.  The Opposition has agreed.

On Tuesday in Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary for  Citizenship, Julia Farrugia, proposed such an amendment, stating that by doing so, the state would continue to minimise discrimination against those with disabilities.

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The current law in place states that "a person of unsound mind" cannot apply for the process of naturalization, which allows them to become  Maltese citizens. Farrugia proposed that the amendments would allow a person with mental health issues to apply for citizenship, by allowing third parties who are acting in the interests of the applicant - for example those who have  custodial care of these individuals - to submit the application on their behalf.

Farrugia said that the current law in place “goes"against the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities".  The convention emphasises the right for persons of mental health issues to obtain the ability of freedom of movement; residence, choice of nationality, acquirement and change of nationality and thus no constrictions on staying in their nation state.

"I believe that this step will lead to a more inclusive society; where nobody feels marginalised from the rest" Farrugia stated.

The Opposition agreed with the amendment, with PN deputy leader  Beppe Fenech  Adami stating that "it is so good to have a law which allows persons with such disability to gain citizenship".

 

He added, however, that it was ironic that Parliament was debating citizenship at the same time the Prime Minister was off selling Maltese passports in Hong Kong.

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