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”
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:
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:
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.