The Conditions for Belonging

Michael Hutt

in Unbecoming Citizens

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780195670608
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081806 | DOI:
The Conditions for Belonging

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This chapter discusses legislation on citizenship, with a focus on the new Citizenship Act of 1977. It describes how transnational marriages came to be discouraged and how different Acts changed the terms within which Bhutanese citizenship could be acquired. The author elaborates on how, from 1988, an annual census began to sort the Lhotshampa population into different categories and to classify some as non-nationals. The provisions of the new Citizenship Act 1977 were broadly in continuity with those of 1958, but the required period of residence and/or government service was lengthened, and the 1958 provision (which enabled non-national wives to acquire citizenship swiftly) was removed. The Marriage Act of 1980 introduced punitive measures against Bhutanese who married non-Bhutanese. The censuses of Bhutan are then described. The 1988 Census implemented the 1985 Citizenship Act. The census operations that were carried on annually in most southern districts from 1988 onward quickly became a tool for the eviction of illegal immigrants, and for the dispossession and banishment of various categories of Lhotshampa citizens.

Keywords: Citizenship Act 1977; Marriage Act; 1988 Census; Bhutanese citizenship; Lhotshampa; government service; Bhutan

Chapter.  5599 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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