Examine the concept of citizenship (Essay Sample)
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The purpose of this paper is to address the question of whether granting citizenship to individuals in more than one country would be beneficial and the advantages it would have over not allowing people to have citizens in other countries other than the one to which one is a citizen.
The hypothesis of the paper states that that granting citizens the ability to possess citizenship in other countries other will be of benefit both to the country and the individual; but if a country denies its citizens the ability to possess citizenship in other countries, then citizens and the state alike will be denied chances and opportunities they would have had access to if it were the other way..
In order to explore this hypothesis an examination of the concept of citizenship has to be conducted. Sensitive variables like security and human rights that come into play when dual citizenship comes into play also have to be looked at. Sample scenarios have been looked at, where dual citizenship has been of advantage to both the citizen and state. The disadvantages and shortcomings involved are also examined and an averaging conducted to prove that dual citizenship is of more advantage than if it is not existent.
The origin of the word citizen can be traced in the Anglo-French word citesein and middle English word citisein which were derived from the combination of the words cite, meaning city and ain denoting â€˜association withâ€™. This therefore translates to an inhabitant of a town or city and is entitled to its franchises and privileges. The word citizen therefore is used to denote â€˜a native or naturalized member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to its government and is entitled to its protectionâ€™ (Dictionary.com). Citizenship therefore is the state of possessing the rights, duties and privileges of a citizen.
Citizenship does not only come with rights and privileges. It also comes with duties and responsibilities to the nation or country a person is a citizen of. Most states and countries have oaths of allegiance that include duties such as undertaking military service, supporting and protecting the constitution and to be at the disposal of the state, be ready to serve it when required by the law. It is therefore commonplace that all political communities, unions and persuasions make demands on their citizens. There is a stress on the responsibilities citizens have. These include the sustenance of the political communities and natural environment. This is due to the fact that it is only in these communal contexts that sustainable human relationships can be achieved therefore making rights feasible. (Keith Faulks, 2006)
Responsibilities of a citizen
Besides the benefits and privileges attached, Citizenship comes with duties and responsibilities associated with it too. The expectations of almost all nationsâ€™ and statesâ€™ of their citizens vary in small degree. A common expectation is usually that of obedience. All citizens are expected to obey the laws of the state. This is besides respecting, protecting and upholding the constitution of that state. Most democratic governmentsâ€™ rules and laws are crafted by the people. They therefore reflect the peopleâ€™s will. Every citizen is expected to be loyal to the nations whose citizenship they hold. Citizens are also expected to be public spirited. They are expected to contribute their part to the welfare of the society. Citizens are expected to exercise their rights. Such rights include the right to vote
The administration and running of states results in the use of expenditure. These expenditures are met with the use of taxes. Citizens are therefore also expected to be willing, ready and honest in paying of their taxes. Citizens are also expected to maintain and promote law and order. They are expected to cooperate with the public officials in the discharge of their duties. Contribution to creation of wealth in the state through work is also expected of them. Able bodied citizens are expected to work and add to the wealth of the state. Russia for instance holds work as a legal duty for every citizen. Many democratic nations require tolerance towards others, especially ideological and religious tolerance. (Ankita, 2012). This is not all that is required of citizens by their respective states.
Advantages of dual citizenship
To have a better insight into the suitability of dual citizenship, examining the advantages and disadvantages is important. Dual citizens have the advantage of accessing the same set of opportunities in two countries. Someone can vote in two countries. One is also allowed to work in both countries. This enables the person to choose a country with a desired standard of life and wages. A person can go to school in any of the two countries. He or she has access to a variety of choices. One can also own property in both countries.
As a dual citizen, an individual enjoys the protection of two countries. Whenever a person has a problem while travelling, either embassy of the two countries can assist that person. Different nations have different kinds of relations and having two passports helps an individual choose on which passport to present, when a case of suspicion may arise due to presentation of the other passport. Travelling as a dual citizen between the two nations the individual is a citizen becomes easier.
A dual citizen also gets the opportunity to educate people in the two countries on the cultures of the people from these countries. Some countries like cultural representation by dual citizens in other countries. This helps in promotion of a countryâ€™s image and culture abroad. Also, having two passports gives one more access to the word. The feeling of belonging and being welcome to two nations is also an advantage that accompanies dual citizenship. Dual citizens can embrace the ideals of both countries. If dual citizens feel welcome and part of a nation, he or she strengthen their loyalty, both political and social (Kate Bradley, 2011)
Another advantage is that, if and when there are political upheavals in one country, a dual citizenship holder has the option to stay in the other country as a fully citizen with the full benefits that come with it, rather than live as a refugee in another country.
The state on the other hand benefits from the expertise and knowledge that a dual citizen holder may acquire from the other country. This happens in cases where, one country is richer than the other technologically and financially. A citizen educated in the more developed country may be of great assistance to the other country both financially and skills-wise
There are instances when dual citizenship becomes important. Such cases are like, when human rights are involved. An example is the case of human rights violations in Zimbabwe against white farmers. Massive tracks of land were taken away from the white farmers in an openly race based targeting policy. The general state policy was and still is quite harsh for the habitation of white farmers in rural Zimbabwe. Despite the fact that the constitution guaranteed freedom of movement, bureaucratic obstacles were put in place to prevent some people from returning to the country after leaving. In 1994, prohibitions were tightened on dual citizenship. This was done in a constitutional amendment. These directives mostly affected white Zimbabweans. They were the ones who predominantly held dual citizenship and their return was interfered with. (Stokke, Suhrke, Tostensen & HaanÃ¦s, 1997). This is an indication that dual citizenship can come in handy especially when a person feels persecuted in a nation. This usually occurs in cases where a person is not from a nationâ€™s predominant ethnicity.
The history of many nations show that dual citizenship can go a long way in protecting the human rights of such people. There are many people of East Asian descent living for instance in East and Southern Africa. In the east African nation of Uganda, East Asians were in the 1970s purged despite the fact that they were born in the nation and were legitimate citizens. Most of the Asians Moved to Britain, Canada and India. They were stripped of their possessions and allowed to leave the country. This also indicates the importance of people having citizenship in more than one country. Lack of the British and Canadian passports would have rendered most of the Asians refugees, insecure or even stateless.
Dual citizenship has short comings that accompany it too. Some nations do not allow people to work for the governments of other nations where they hold citizenship. For instance, if an individual works for the government of another country where he or she holds a passport, the United States withdraws the Citizenship of the individual, thus revoking the Dual citizenship status. The United States, Canadian and many other governments require dual nationals to file all incomes generated worldwide in their yearly tax return. In this respect, a dual national may end up paying tax to two nations.
A dual national owes allegiance to both the countries he holds citizenship. However, the country where he is located generally has a greater claim to his allegiance. It may consider an individual a citizen, thus not welcoming external interference in a matter involving this individual. If therefore this person commits a crime, it may be uncertain under which laws he or...
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