ABU DHABI // The lives of Balqees Al Saadi and Fatima Al Wehaibi were changed forever on Wednesday.
The two young women were among 152 children of Emirati mothers and foreign fathers who were granted citizenship in line with a decree by the President, Sheikh Khalifa.
“Words can not express the extent of my happiness and the happiness of my siblings,” said Ms Al Saadi, a University of Sharjah student who had been eagerly awaiting the day.
The young women attended a ceremony along with 150 others held by the General Directorate of Naturalisation and Residency and Ports Affairs.
Ms Al Wehaibi, an Emirates airline employee, said she was grateful to the President for granting her citizenship.
She said she hoped she could measure up to the honour, which had given her a huge sense of belonging.
Maj Gen Khalifa Al Khaili, acting assistant undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, congratulated the citizens.
Gen Al Khaili urged them to become exemplary members of society and to strive to preserve the UAE’s reputation and pride, to make every effort to give back to the leadership and the country.
He urged them to embody the UAE’s cultural traditions, abide by its constitution, laws and rules, and to observe the norms and customs of society.
Gen Al Khaili said the leadership’s attention to Emirati mothers shows the important role they play in instilling the love of country and loyalty to the homeland in their children.
Sheikh Khalifa announced the decision to mark the UAE’s 40th National Day, in 2011.
He said that after meeting certain conditions children of Emirati mothers and foreign fathers would be granted citizenship on their 18th birthday. Children born to Emirati fathers and foreign mothers are given citizenship at birth.
Brig Gen Saeed Al Rashdi, director general of Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, expressed his appreciation for Sheikh Khalifa’s decision and congratulated the new citizens, urging them to protect their citizenship and become active citizens.
Brig Al Rashdi said the UAE’s leaders gave special importance to integrating the children of Emirati women into the community as they were true partners in the homeland and had a pivotal role to play in its development.
Emirati mothers whose sons and daughters were granted citizenship said the decision would have a huge impact on their children’s social and professional life, and had helped to lift a large burden.
Meanwhile, Emiratis took to social media to show their happiness for the 152 new citizens, saying the children of Emirati women have a strong sense of belonging and loyalty to the country, and deserved the honour. “These children were born here and the UAE is home to them,” said Hussa Al Khaldy. “There is no doubt in their loyalty.”
Ahmed Al Khazimi said Sheikh Khalifa’s decision gave Emirati women their most important right – to grant their children citizenship.
Source: uae news