What is Citizenship – Troubleinthepeace


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Translate: Le Thi Hong Loan | Editor: Le Hong Hiep

The two concepts are closely related but not exactly the same

In October last year, when Theresa May’s political future was still bright, the British prime minister criticized her opponents, saying: “If you believe you are a global citizen, you are not a citizen. people of any country. You don’t understand what ‘citizenship’ means.” To be fair, the concept of citizenship is complex, especially when compared to the equally complex concept of nationality. So what is the difference between these two concepts?

In general, a national is a member of a country. A person acquires citizenship through birth, adoption, marriage, or descent (specifications vary from country to country). Nationality is important for full recognition under international law. Indeed, Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a nationality” and “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality or denied the right to change his nationality.” “But there is no regulation on citizenship.

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Citizenship is a narrower concept: it is a specific legal relationship between a state and an individual. It gives the person certain rights and responsibilities. It does not need to be accompanied by nationality. For example, in some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, an individual acquires citizenship at birth but only obtains citizenship at the age of 18: Mexican children are nationals. but not a citizen.

Likewise, not all U.S. citizens are U.S. citizens. People born in the “overseas territories of the United States” can hold a U.S. passport and live and work in the United States, but cannot vote or hold elected office. In the past, these areas included Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but in the 20th century Congress gradually extended citizenship to residents of these areas. Today, only American Samoa and Swains Island stand apart: Swains is a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean, just over five meters above sea level, with a population in 2010 of just 17 people. .

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In Britain, thanks to the legacy of colonialism, the situation is much more complicated. There are six types of British citizenship: British nationals, British subjects, British citizens abroad, British citizens in overseas territories, British nationals abroad, or British nationals. protection. Sometimes it is possible to convert between these categories: for example, before Britain returned Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997, a number of British nationals in overseas territories registered signed as a British citizen abroad (British overseas). These overseas British nationals hold British passports and may receive protection from British diplomats, but they do not automatically have the right to live or work in the UK.

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So in the UK, there are several different types of citizenship, and some people are nationals but aren’t citizens at all. The target of Mrs May’s fury is probably a group of people who don’t quite grasp the meaning of the word ‘citizenship’.

Category: FAQ

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