Icelandic girl Harriet Cardew was denied a passport by her home country, and it's all because of her English name.
Cardew's father, Tristan, was born in the UK and moved to Iceland 14 years ago. But like her mother, Kristín, Harriet was born in Iceland and grew up there. Both she and a sibling, Duncan, have "not been approved" by the Icelanding Naming Committee, reports Icelandic Review, and their names are officially listed as stúlka (‘girl’) and drengur (‘boy’).
“They have deprived our daughter of freedom of movement,” Kristín Cardew told visir.is. “It is in violation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Only when both parents are foreigners, or if a child has an Icelandic first or middle name, can a child have a foreign surname. Iceland is among a small number of countries, which includes Denmark and Germany, where personal names must be approved by officials.
The former mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, told The Guardian that the country's naming law was "unfair, stupid, and against creativity".
Last year, another Icelandic girl, 15-year-old Blær Bjarkardóttir, sued authorities to force them to accept her first name, which means "gentle breeze."
Particularly unusual names sometimes draw legal attention even in English-speaking countries. In 2008, a judge in New Zealand ordered that 9-year-old Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii's name be changed and stripped her parents of custody. Other names unacceptable to family court judge Rob Murfitt included Stallion, Yeah Detroit, Fish and Chips, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.
In 2010, a New Jersey Nazi couple lost custody of their son, Adolf Hitler, though that choice of name was perhaps the least of the indignities inflicted upon their children.
The Cardews have reportedly applied to the British Embassy for an emergency passport.
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