What is this about?

The U.K. government has the power to make our lives better & complete. It should act now! 

We are campaigning to pressure the governments of the United Kingdom and its fourteen  British overseas territories (specifically, the primarily populated Caribbean: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands) to provide equal and equitable access to citizenship & nationality for children born abroad, outside-of-marriage  (‘illegitimate’),  before 1 July 2006, to fathers born in  British-overseas-territories. We are denied the rights in the  British Nationality Act of 1981 (‘BNA’), which prevents us from claiming  citizenship-by-descent through our fathers.  

  

Our campaign is created by U.S. based  Actor, Trent Lamont Miller  (‘Silcott’) in 2010. It came into being because of his own official rejection when he explored claiming  citizenship-by-descent, through Abraham Silcott, his British-overseas-territories  born father. It should be noted that Trent’s grandparents & great grandparents were also born in the former British Colony of Montserrat. Trent was born in the United States to an American mother.  

  

Our campaign’s purpose is clear. It is to fight for and secure further amendments to the  British Nationality Act 1981  to place Trent and others like him, on an equal & equitable footing. 

  

This issue of the denial of  British  &  British-overseas-territories citizenship  by-descent came to the public spotlight in 2009, after a campaign by  Tabitha Sprague, of the group called  U.K. Citizenship Equality Campaign.  In 2014, she managed to get the  British Nationality Act 1981 amended  to allow illegitimate children, now adults, born to U.K. mainland fathers  ONLY  who did not marry their foreign-born mothers. In Tabitha’s case, her father was a British mainland born citizen, and her mother, an American.  

  

A change in the law was achieved with the help of the late  Lord Eric Avebury,  and former  British M.P. Julian Huppert. Amendments were made to the  British Nationality Act 1981 (‘BN’)  by way of  Section 65 of the Immigration Act of 2014, as it made its way through the House of Lords. These amendments, provided for the first time the ability for people like to register their births retrospectively, and then go on to apply for  British nationality & citizenship by-descent  based on her unmarried father.   

However,  there was one significant omission. These amendments were not inclusive of all  “Just as British & Deserving”  children born illegitimately to British-overseas-territories born father’s, like Trent. 

  

Children, now adults, like Trent, were intentionally left out of the amendments. The excuse was given by the British government’s Home Office Minister  Lord Taylor of Holbeach, in the final stages of debate to our Advocate, the Human Rights campaigner, the late Lord Eric Avebury was: 

  

“I know that my noble friend is also concerned about British Overseas Territories citizens. Changes to those provisions require consultation with the territories concerned, and this has not been possible in the time available. However, I assure my noble friend that the government will look for suitable opportunities to discuss this issue with the overseas territories once the provisions are implemented”  

 

(Hansard 6 May 2014: Column 1416

  

So, we are left with an unequal situation in British nationality law in how it treats illegitimate children trying to claim  citizenship by descent  via their British overseas father’s. 

  

Had we been included in the amendments the law would be fairer for  ALL  children born out-of-wedlock. The failure to include us results in demeaning us and treating us as “less than” when it comes to your rights to inherit your father’s citizenship.  

 

Here’s an example of how it treats children-of-descent differently, dependent on when to whom and where they are born, and their marital status, or lack thereof: 

  

  • Discrimination  does not apply  if the child is born after 1 July 2006, and the parents are married or not. 

  • Discrimination  does not apply  to a child born before 1 July 2006 if the mother is a British-overseas-territories citizen 

  • Discrimination  only applies  to the British-overseas-territories fathers and their children born before 1 July 2006. 

  

This is evident discrimination based on gender towards the father and parents’ lack of marital status, resulting in the child being discriminated against for nationality purposes. The law is unequal in treating the remaining British-overseas-territories children of descent and needs to be changed urgently! 

  

Despite the government ministers promise to revisit the issue once the provisions of the 2014 Act were in place, it’s been  six long years  and more since that undertaking given to the late  Lord Eric Avebury. He sadly has passed away after the legislation went into effect. The mantle for the campaign has been taken-up by  Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett. She continues to tirelessly advocate and pressure the Home Office to bring forth primary legislation that is needed to fix this unequal situation. 

  

We understand consultation has taken place between the  Home Office  and respective  British Overseas Territories governments. We are informed that the issue is now subject to informal engagement with key-nationality stakeholders such as: 

  

The Law Society Immigration Law Practitioners Association Adrian Berry,  Alison Harvey,  and  Lauri Fransman Q.C., etc.  

  

We have requested stakeholders in the legal world from the British-overseas territories to be involved in this process. We have asked for  Trent Lamont Miller’s (‘Silcott’) case to be used as a template for further amendments.  

  

So far, the British government has failed to bring forth a bill and we don’t understand why this is taking so long to remedy? The urgent need for action has been requested in two parliamentary reports, and brought up in written many questions to the Home Office Ministers from  Baroness Lister, as well as referenced during debates: 

 

The two parliamentary reports are: 

  

  1. Joint Committee on Human Rights, chaired by  Harriet Harman QC MP 

  2. Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Tom Tugendhat MP 

  

The longer they drag their feet to fix this, the more hurt and humiliation we are feeling. We are tired of  being treated as  “less-than and made to feel like strangers & visitors to our fathers’ homelands.”  The lack of official recognition denies us a right to be fully assimilated into our fathers’ cultural roots. We demand a right to ‘official recognition and acknowledgment’ so we can have a complete family life.   

  

The U.K. government needs to act and bring forth amendments.

 

End this discrimination now! 

  

Please help us by contacting your local U.K. MP’s, British-overseas territories Governors & local territories government leaders, to demand they remedy this hurtful piece of discrimination.  

  

You can make a difference and be part of a historic change. 

 

United Kingdom

Caribbean OT's & North America

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