We are calling for a change to the unfair & biased British nationality laws which are disenfranchising children (now adults) of descent, born outside of marriage before
1st July 2006, to CUKC / British Overseas Territories fathers.
The British government, who make & regulate these laws, continues to deny us a retrospective right to register
our births for British & British overseas territories
nationality & citizenship purposes, all because of
our fathers did not marry our mothers.
We deserve the right to be fully embraced and
officially recognised by the UK and British Overseas
Territories nationality laws.
What's this all about?
British & British Overseas Territories Nationality & Citizenship Campaign
What's this all about?
Imagine you have two groups of children, who are now adults — born abroad, or in a territory, out-of-wedlock. One group can claim their father's British & Britsh overseas territory citizenship by descent, and the other cannot.
The British Nationality Act 1981, unfairly treats its people by allowing this hurtful discrimination based on the fathers' gender, birth country, parents lack marital status, and the fact their children are born illegitimately.
How did this happen?
Before 1 July 2006, a child could only obtain citizenship through his or her father if the parents were married. The law changed on 1 July 2006 (looking forward) to allow a person to acquire citizenship through his or her father, irrespective of whether the parents were married, subject to proof of paternity.
The policy intention behind the 2006 change was to remove the distinctions in nationality law between children whose parents were or were not married. However, it only affects children born after 1 July 2006: the earlier law continues to apply to people born before that date.
In 2014, changes made through Sec 65 of the Immigration Act 2014, for the first time, created a registration route only for those who would have become British citizens had their parents been married. However, the way the amendments are worded means it only applies to those who would have become British citizens under the British Nationality Act 1981. It does not affect those who would have become British overseas territories & British citizens on 1 January 1983, had their parents been married and then gone on to become full British citizens under the British Overseas Territories Act 2002.
The reason for this is Sec 65 was introduced into the Immigration Act 2014 at a very late stage. It was recognized that each overseas territory has its local immigration law, and to create a route for people to become British overseas territories citizens (which could give a right of abode in a territory) would require more extensive consultation with governors and territory governments, which was not possible before the introduction of the Act.
It means: If you are a child born abroad, out of wedlock, between 1948 to 2006, to a father born in a Britsh overseas territory, you do not have the right to claim your father's British overseas territories citizenship. It also denies you the right to have claim full British citizenship when your parents became full British citizens when the British Overseas Territories Act 2002 was introduced. This law is designed to provide an automatic right to full British citizenship for Britsh overseas territories citizens.
There is one exception: if your Mother is a British overseas territories citizen, otherwise than by descent, she can pass down her British overseas territories citizenship to her children. Therefore, we have a situation where the law regulating children of descent, born out of wedlock, is biased and unequal against the fathers. It is gender discrimination.
Also, under the same Britsh Nationality Act 1981, if you are a child born to an unmarried mainland U.K. born father, in 2014, the British Nationality Act 1981, was amended to allow his children born outside of marriage to have a retrospective right to register their birth's and then go onto become full British citizens by descent.
Finally, if you are a child born abroad, outside of marriage, after 1 July 2006, to a mainland UK or a Britsh overseas territory father and mother, there is no discrimination in the law.
As you can see the law is unbalanced, unfair, discriminatory, giving benefit to one set of people and not another, to one gender and not another. Treating people in an unequal and discriminatory manner, makes us feel "less than" and not "officially embraced and recognized" by our fathers' homelands and cultures.
What is rather odd is, most of the British overseas territories and the UK mainland removed discrimination based on a child's legitimacy birth status from their local laws, and their local constitutions. Somehow, these changes never made its way to British nationality law. So, this day, these anomalies exist.
It is grossly wrong and deeply hurtful to British Overseas Territories children, now adults of descent, and disproportionality affects children mainly of British Caribbean Territories descent. For far too long the UK Government has treated its former colonies, once dependencies, now territories, unfairly and this is just another clear example of this.
Citizens of British overseas territories need to speak up for us and make their voices heard with their government representatives.
When we asked the Home Office to provide us with statistics of how many people are affected between 1947 to 2018, they told us it is cost prohibitive (over 600 pounds) to obtain this data. We, therefore, have no way of knowing the exact amount of people who have been turned away and denied. We are doubtful about the Home Office's excuse for our request. It is very likely they Home Office got rid of these paper records, just like they did with the "Windrush" landing cards!
The Home Secretary, after pressure from our campaign and other groups and peoples affected, has embarked on a consultation process with respective overseas territories Governors and local governments. We are hopeful this will be embraced positively, thereby finally allowing for further legislation to be brought forward that will correct this historical discrimination.
The issue was also raised in a report to the UK parliament by Joint Committee on Human Rights ("JCHR"), led by Harriet Harman MP QC, suggested to the Home Office that they introduce new legislation to remedy the unequal status. It's very evident that British nationality laws are incompatible with EC Human Rights laws. There have been several cases before the UK Supreme Court (Lady Hale, in Johnson v SSHD) that speaks to the heart of this problem.
Its conclusion states:
"We consider that it is unacceptable that discrimination in acquiring British nationality persists (including for British Overseas Territories Citizenship), depending on whether a person’s father or mother was a British Overseas Territories Citizen, or whether or not their parents were married. This type of discrimination in the BNA should be remedied for all types of British nationality, and we recommend that the Home Secretary take urgent steps to bring forward legislation to do so."
Please check these links out for further information.
(Section 5, Page 22, Line Item 73.)
It was suggested that the matter could be resolved by using legislation called the British Nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order 2018. Disappointingly, the Home Office Minister, Caroline Nokes in her response to the report says the subject cannot be dealt with by this process as it's "outwith" the scope of the act.
A report by the Foreign Affairs Committee also highlighted the issue on the future of the British Overseas Territories called:
"One family: rethinking Britain’s relationship with the Overseas Territories."
Again, it requested the Home Office & respective British Overseas Territoires governments remedy the problem:
"The Government should urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve."
What can be done to fix this?
The British government, led by the Home Secretary, can introduce legislation to further amend the British Nationality Act 1981, thereby creating a retrospective right to register our births for nationality purposes, which will allow us to have a route to claim British & British overseas territories nationality & citizenship, just like the children born abroad, outside of marriage, to mainland UK fathers.
What you can do to help?
Contact your local governmental representative's, MP's or Government Ministers, and make sure your voice is heard and demand they step up their efforts to remedy the problem. Please stand up for those who are placed at a disadvantage through no fault of their own. Demand the law is further changed so that all British citizens of descent are on an equal footing.
If you are anyone you know is affected by this issue, ask them to reach out to us, so we know they are out there.
We also welcome inquiries from anyone in Government and the Press/Media. We are not a political group and have no such agenda; we are just regular people trying to right hurtful historical wrongs.
Regular updates are posted to our Blog, click on this link to go to our: BLOG.
We can be contacted by email at or by phone on +44 (0) 20 3286-6868
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