France Plans To Revoke Birthplace Citizenship In Mayotte
Umer Jamshaid Published February 12, 2024 | 06:00 PM
Mamoudzou, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Feb, 2024) French authorities on Sunday announced a controversial plan to amend the Constitution to revoke birthplace citizenship on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte, which has been struggling with social unrest and a crippling migration crisis.
While the left denounced the fresh plan as another attack on French values, some local campaigners in Mayotte welcomed it, and political leaders on the right and the far right quickly suggested it be applied across the whole of France.
In Mayotte's capital Mamoudzou, several hundred protesters greeted Darmanin and his entourage with boos and shouts of "Mayotte is angry".
"We are going to take a radical decision," Darmanin said.
"It will no longer be possible to become French if you are not the child of a French parent," he said. The measure would reduce "the attractiveness" of the archipelago for prospective immigrants, he said.
"It is an extremely strong, clear, radical measure, which obviously will be limited to the Mayotte archipelago," said Darmanin.
Manon Aubry of the far-left France Unbowed (LFI) party denounced the decision.
French President Emmanuel Macron's administration was "attacking the very concept of nationality, the foundation of the Republic", she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
French campaign group SOS Racisme also denounced what it called "a particularly spectacular calling into question of the principle of equality".
But Eric Ciotti, leader of the right-wing Republicans party, welcomed Darmanin's proposed reform -- but complained it did not go far enough.
Sebastien Chenu, spokesman for Le Pen's far-right National Rally took a similar line.
"A lot of time has been wasted coming to this conclusion that abolishing the right of the soil, not only in Mayotte but everywhere in France, is not only necessary but possible," he told Europe 1 radio. That could be achieved with a referendum and a revision of the constitution, Chenu added.
Le Pen's niece, Marion Marechal of the far-right "Reconquete" group also welcomed the announcement.
"Bravo for finally recognising evidence which should have been put on the table for more than ten years now," she said on broadcaster BFMTV. She too argued that the measure could be extended across all of France.
Mayotte, which lies northwest of Madagascar, became a full-fledged French department in 2011.
Thousands of Comorans fleeing poverty and corruption make the trip across to Mayotte every year in search of higher living standards.
The influx has caused major tensions, with many locals on Mayotte complaining about crime and poverty. There have been weeks of protest against insecurity and the migration crisis. A months-long water crisis has exacerbated tensions.
According to France's National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the 375-square kilometre island is home to around 310,000 people, but officials say this figure is seriously underestimated.
More than 40 percent of the islanders survive on less than 160 Euros per month, says INSEE. Nearly half of island residents do not have French nationality.
Residence permits issued to foreigners in Mayotte are only valid for the island and cannot be used to travel to mainland France. The scrapping of that system is one of the key demands of the protesters.
Darmanin said the authorities would abolish the measure as part of the reform, which some protesters welcomed.
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