27 Nov 2013

Call for Vanuatu dual citizenship push to focus on ni-Vanuatu living overseas

3:12 pm on 27 November 2013

The executive director of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy says when Vanuatu's MPs meet this Friday to consider dual citizenship, the plight of the many ni-Vanuatu living overseas should be their prime concern.

An extra-ordinary session of parliament is planned after last Friday's meeting was abandoned because of an opposition boycott.

The government wants dual citizenship to encourage investment in the country.

The Institute's Derek Brien says limits were placed on citizenship for reasons of nationalism and sovereignty but after 33 years of independence there needs to be a rethink to cater for the ni-Vanuatu diaspora.

"The central debate I think, that should be around looking at changing the requirements on dual citizens would be protecting ni-Vanuatu living overseas and their descendants so that they can claim their birthright, their heritage. It seems that the current debate however, is more centred around facilitating foreign investment and essentially fast tracking a citizenship process to be able to attract overseas investors."

Derek Brien of the Pacific Institute of Public Policy