Essay On Rights And Responsibilities Of Citizens Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Nationality is a legal relationship between an individual person and a state.[1] Nationality affords the state jurisdiction over the person and affords the person the protection of the state. What these rights and duties are varies from state to state.[2]

By custom and international conventions, it is the right of each state to determine who its nationals are.[3] Such determinations are part of nationality law. In some cases, determinations of nationality are also governed by public international law—for example, by treaties on statelessness and the European Convention on Nationality.

Nationality differs technically and legally from citizenship, which is a different legal relationship between a person and a country. The noun national can include both citizens and non-citizens. The most common distinguishing feature of citizenship is that citizens have the right to participate in the political life of the state, such as by voting or standing for election. However, in most modern countries all nationals are citizens of the state, and full citizens are always nationals of the state.[1][4]

In English and some other languages, the word nationality is sometimes used to refer to an ethnic group (a group of people who share a common ethnic identity, language, culture, descent, history, and so forth). This meaning of nationality is not defined by political borders or passport ownership and includes nations that lack an independent state (such as the Arameans, Scots, Welsh, English, Basques, Catalans, Kurds, Kabyles, Baloch, Berbers, Bosniaks, Kashmiris, Palestinians, Sindhi, Tamils, Hmong, Inuit, Copts, Māori, Sikhs and Székelys).[citation needed]

Individuals may also be considered nationals of groups with autonomous status that have ceded some power to a larger government.

International law[edit]

In international law, nationality is the status or relationship that gives a nation the right to protect a person from other nations.[4] Diplomatic and consular protection are dependent upon this relationship between the person and the state.[4] A person's status as being the national of a country is used to resolve the conflict of laws.[5]

Nationality is also the status that allows a nation to grant rights to the subject and to impose obligations upon the subject.[4] In most cases, no rights or obligations are automatically attached to this status, although the status is a necessary precondition for any rights and obligations created by the state.[5]

Within the broad limits imposed by few treaties and international law, states may freely define who their nationals are and are not.[4] However, since the Nottebohm case, other states are only required to respect their claim to protect an alleged national if the nationality is based on a true social bond.[4] In the case of dual nationality, states may determine the most effective nationality for a person, to determine which state's laws are most relevant.[5] There are also limits on removing a person's status as a national. 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 nor denied the right to change his nationality."

National law[edit]

Nationals normally have the right to enter or return to the country they belong to. Passports are issued to nationals of a state, rather than only to citizens, because the passport is the travel document used to enter the country. However, nationals may not have the right of abode (the right to live permanently) in the countries that grant them passports.

Nationality versus citizenship[edit]

Conceptually, citizenship is focused on the internal political life of the state and nationality is a matter of international dealings.[6]

In the modern era, the concept of full citizenship encompasses not only active political rights, but full civil rights and social rights.[4] Nationality is a necessary but not sufficient condition to exercise full political rights within a state or other polity.[1] Nationality is required for full citizenship, and some people have no nationality in international law. A person who is denied full citizenship or nationality is commonly called a stateless person.

Historically, the most significant difference between a national and a citizen is that the citizen has the right to vote for elected officials, and to be elected.[4] This distinction between full citizenship and other, lesser relationships goes back to antiquity. Until the 19th and 20th centuries, it was typical for only a small percentage of people who belonged to a city or state to be full citizens. In the past, most people were excluded from citizenship on the basis of gender, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, religion, and other factors. However, they held a legal relationship with their government akin to the modern concept of nationality.[4]

United States nationality law defines some persons born in U.S. outlying possessions as U.S. nationals but not citizens. British nationality law defines six classes of British national, among which "British citizen" is one class (having the right of abode in the United Kingdom, along with some "British subjects"). Similarly, in the Republic of China, commonly known as Taiwan, the status of national without household registration applies to people who have Republic of China nationality, but do not have an automatic entitlement to enter or reside in the Taiwan Area, and do not qualify for civic rights and duties there. Under the nationality laws of Mexico, Colombia, and some other Latin American countries, nationals do not become citizens until they turn 18.

Nationality versus ethnicity[edit]

Main article: Ethnic nationalism

Nationality is sometimes used simply as an alternative word for ethnicity or national origin, just as some people assume that citizenship and nationality are identical.[7] In some countries, the cognate word for nationality in local language may be understood as a synonym of ethnicity or as an identifier of cultural and family-based self-determination, rather than on relations with a state or current government. For example, some Kurds say that they have Kurdish nationality, even though there is no Kurdish sovereign state at this time in history.

In the context of former Soviet Union and former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, "nationality" is often used as translation of the Russiannacional'nost' and Serbo-Croatiannarodnost, which were the terms used in those countries for ethnic groups and local affiliations within the member states of the federation. In the Soviet Union, more than 100 such groups were formally recognized. Membership in these groups was identified on Soviet internal passports, and recorded in censuses in both the USSR and Yugoslavia. In the early years of the Soviet Union's existence, ethnicity was usually determined by the person's native language, and sometimes through religion or cultural factors, such as clothing.[8] Children born after the revolution were categorized according to their parents' recorded ethnicities. Many of these ethnic groups are still recognized by modern Russia and other countries.

Similarly, the term nationalities of China refers to ethnic and cultural groups in China. Spain is one nation, made up of nationalities, which are not politically recognized as nations (state), but can be considered smaller nations within the Spanish nation. Spanish law recognises the autonomous communities of Andalusia, Aragon, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and the Basque Country as "nationalities" (nacionalidades).

Nationality versus national identity[edit]

National identity is a person's subjective sense of belonging to one state or to one nation. A person may be a national of a state, in the sense of having a formal legal relationship with it, without subjectively or emotionally feeling a part of that state. Conversely, a person may feel that he belongs to one state without having any legal relationship to it. For example, children who were brought to the U.S. illegally when quite young and grow up there in ignorance of their immigration status often have a national identity of feeling American, despite legally being nationals of a different country.

Dual nationality[edit]

Dual nationality is when a single person has a formal relationship with two separate, sovereign states.[6] This might occur, for example, if a person's parents are nationals of separate countries, and the mother's country claims all offspring of the mother's as their own nationals, but the father's country claims all offspring of the father's.

Nationality, with its historical origins in allegiance to a sovereign monarch, was seen originally as a permanent, inherent, unchangeable condition, and later, when a change of allegiance was permitted, as a strictly exclusive relationship, so that becoming a national of one state required rejecting the previous state.[6]

Dual nationality was considered a problem that caused conflict between states and sometimes imposed mutually exclusive requirements on affected people, such as simultaneously serving in two countries' military forces. Through the middle of the 20th century, many international agreements were focused on reducing the possibility of dual nationality. Since then, many accords recognizing and regulating dual nationality have been formed.[6]


Statelessness is the condition in which an individual has no formal or protective relationship with any state. This might occur, for example, if a person's parents are nationals of separate countries, and the mother's country rejects all offspring of mothers married to foreign fathers, but the father's country rejects all offspring born to foreign mothers. Although this person may have an emotional national identity, he or she may not legally be the national of any state.

Another stateless situation arises when a person holds a travel document (passport) which recognizes the bearer as having the nationality of a "state" which is not internationally recognized, has no entry in the International Organization for Standardization's country list, is not a member of the United Nations, etc. In the current era, persons native to Taiwan who hold Republic of China passports are one example. [9][10]

Nationality conferment[edit]

This list includes parents' ability to confer nationality on their children or to spouses.[11]




A Soviet birth certificate, in which the nacional'nost' of both parents (here both Jewish) was recorded. These records were subsequently used to determine the ethnicity of the child, as specified in his internal passport.

  Unmarried fathers inability to confer nationality on their children

  Mothers inability to confer nationality on their children

  Women’s inability to confer nationality to spouses and/or acquire, change and retain her nationality

For the documentary, see Second Class Citizens. For the usage in computer science, see First-class citizen.

A second-class citizen is a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or criminals, second-class citizens have limited legal rights, civil rights and socioeconomic opportunities, and are often subject to mistreatment or neglect at the hands of their putative superiors. However, they are different from "less-than-whole citizens",[1] as second-class citizens are often disregarded by the law or have it used to harass them (see police misconduct and racial profiling). Systems with de facto second-class citizenry are generally regarded as violating human rights.[2][3]

Typical conditions facing second-class citizens include but are not limited to:

The category is normally unofficial and mostly academic, and the term itself is generally used as a pejorative and governments will typically deny the existence of a second class within the polity. As an informal category, second-class citizenship is not objectively measured; however, cases such as the American South under segregation, aborigines in Australia prior to 1967, apartheid in South Africa, women in Saudi Arabia under Saudi law, Dalits in India and Nepal, and Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland during the parliamentary era are all examples of groups that have been historically described as having second-class citizenry.

A resident alien or foreign national, and children in general, fit most definitions of second-class citizen. This does not mean that they do not have any legal protections, nor do they lack acceptance by the local population.[4] A naturalized citizen carries essentially the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen (a possible exception being ineligibility for certain public offices), and is also legally protected.

Relationship with citizenry class[edit]

Citizenry classFreedomsLimitationsLegal status
Full and equal citizenshipFreedom to reside and work, freedom to enter and leave the country, freedom to vote, freedom to stand for public office,No limitations

Internationally recognized

Less-than-whole citizenshipAll the freedoms above with limitations on: civil or military service opportunities, limitations on freedom of movement and association and marriage.Partially limited

Internationally recognized

Second-class citizenryRestrictions on freedom of language, religion, education, and property ownership, and other material or social needs.Largely limited

Internationally recognized

Non-citizensRights are neither given nor withdrawn from the individual.Non-Assessable

Internationally recognized

Outlaws, criminalsNo rights to outlaws, or criminals in normal citizenry classes, however, certain countries have constitutional sets and legal standards for criminals and outlawsCompletely limited

Widely unrecognized


  • Proposals for a U.S. guest worker program—which would provide legal status to and admit foreign workers to the U.S., but provide no path to citizenship for them—has been criticized on the ground that such a policy would creating second-class non-citizens.[5][6][7]
  • Latvian non-citizens constitute a group similar to second-class citizens.[8] Although they are not considered foreigners (they hold no other citizenship, have Latvian IDs), they have reduced rights compared to full citizens. For example, non-citizens are not eligible to vote or hold public office. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has described their status as making "people concerned feel like “second-class citizens”.[9] Estonian non-citizens are in a similar position.
  • New Zealanders receive automatically a "Special Category Visa" upon entering Australia, which presents no pathway to Australian citizenship. New Zealanders are denied access to Centrelink, to name just one of the services. This means that if, for example, a New Zealand person came to Australia to live with his or her Australian spouse, and that spouse committed domestic violence upon them, the New Zealander could not then turn to Centrelink to provide them with funds to leave the abusive spouse.
  • Mainland Chinese citizens who are settling are Hong Kong or Macau by means of a one-way permit do not have citizenship rights (such as obtaining a passport) in both the mainland or the SAR after settling but before obtaining the permanent resident status, effectively rendering them second-class citizens.
  • Burakumin (部落民) is a designation of Japanese Second-class status meaning the people who are from the place called "buraku." Buraku basically means a village or small district. For a long time, people have discriminated against people from "buraku" even though they belong to the same race, and there are no differences between ordinal Japanese people and people who are called burakumin. It is not clear when and why this started, but it is said that it was most common in Edo period.[10] They are often called "eta" (穢多) or "hinin" (非人) meaning polluted or not a human. Even though in Meiji 4 (1871), this discrimination was officially ended by kaihourei (解放令), many people resisted it and continued treating them as burakumin. Today, fewer people are discriminate towards burakumin, however, the term burakumin is still recognized as a discriminating word while there are certain amount of recent young generations who do not even know the term and idea of burakumin. Also, in some cases, people still happen to be discriminated especially when they get a job or get married.[11] These cases often reported as problems.
  • Natives of many colonized lands in the past could be considered second-class citizens compared to the colonists, however as generations pass on they become "Less-than-whole citizens" unless dramatic citizenship rights are ensured.[1]
  • Language: Citizens of countries which have more than one official language where one language is more prevalent than the other. The citizen of the minority language seeks assistance at an embassay of the citizen but is unable to obtain service immediately in their native language due to lack of personelle who speak the minority language. Same situation can apply at border entry ports where immigration staff do not have the language skills to speak to the citizen in their native tongue. Canada is a good example where this happens to Canadian citizens whose native language is French despite officially English and French having equal status.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abEngel, Stephen (2016). Fragmented Citizens: The Changing Landscape of Gay and Lesbian Lives. NYU Press. ISBN 1479809128. 
  2. ^"the definition of second-class citizen". Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  3. ^"Definition of SECOND-CLASS CITIZEN". Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  4. ^"the definition of second-class citizen". Retrieved 2017-05-12. 
  5. ^"That's Hospitality | New Republic". The New Republic. April 17, 2006. 
  6. ^Conor Friedersdorf, Reform Immigration, but Don't Create Second-Class Non-Citizens, The Atlantic (January 17, 2013).
  7. ^Anna Stilz, Guestworkers and second-class citizenship, Policy and Society, Vol. 29, Issue 4 (November 2010), pp. 295–307.
  8. ^"'Walk like a Latvian'". New Europe. 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  9. ^Third report on Latvia. CRI(2008)2Archived 2009-05-09 at the Wayback Machine. Executive summary
  10. ^Roth, Louis Frédéric ; translated by Käthe (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap. pp. 93–94. ISBN 9780674017535. 
  11. ^Saito (齋藤), Naoko(直子). "部落出身者と結婚差別". 
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