Lebanon publishes controversial citizenship decree

Dubai: A controversial decree granting Lebanese citizenship to hundreds of people was published by the Interior Ministry Thursday.

The decree grants citizenship to around 400 people of more than 20 nationalities.

According to Lebanese media, 110 on the list were of Palestinian origin, 100 were Syrian and 19 were stateless.

Lebanon’s General Security will vet those on the list before submitting their findings to Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

Lebanese politicians and ordinary citizens alike are fuming over a secretive presidential decree, allegedly including Syrian investors close to the Damascus regime.

Critics have slammed the secrecy surrounding the move and say it adds insult to injury for thousands unable to acquire nationality because they were born to Lebanese mothers and foreign fathers.

Political discourse in Lebanon, a country of just four million, is deeply divided over the war in neighbouring Syria, with allegations of corruption on all sides.

The contested decree has brought all of that to the fore.

It was reportedly issued on May 11 after being signed by President Michel Aoun, but news of its existence only emerged last week when dozens of names allegedly included in the edict were leaked to the media.

It prompted a wave of public outrage, with Lebanese officials scrambling to defend themselves or defect blame.