Woman Fleeing Afghanistan Gives Birth, Baby's Citizenship Unclear

Woman Fleeing Afghanistan Gives Birth, Baby's Citizenship Unclear

A woman fleeing Afghanistan gave birth on a Turkish Airlines flight headed for the U.K. … but the citizenship of the baby is something of a mystery.

Soman Noori, a 26-year-old Afghan with 2 kids, was on board the jet when she started having contractions. As the plane cruised at 33,000 feet above Kuwait, she gave birth.

The baby’s name is Havva — in English, Eve.

There have been other births during the evacuation as well.  Several other Afghan women gave birth either on a U.S. aircraft or at a U.S. military base in a foreign country.

One woman gave birth on a U.S. military plane that landed in Germany. Medics jumped on board when the plane landed and tended to her. The parents named the newborn girl Reach … the call sign of the C-17.

According to the State Dept’s Foreign Affairs Manual, “A U.S.-registered aircraft outside U.S. airspace is not considered to be part of U.S. territory,” thus “a child born on such an aircraft outside U.S. airspace does not acquire U.S. citizenship by reason of the place of birth.”

If a child is born over U.S. airspace, they would become a U.S. citizen.

It’s unclear if a baby born on a military base in a foreign country would be eligible for U.S. citizenship.

As for planes flying to Europe … there is generally no automatic citizenship. However, there’s something called the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness … and countries that have signed on offer citizenship in the country where the aircraft is registered.  This presents a problem for refugees … the plane might be registered to a country that has no connection to the final destination of the aircraft.

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