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Citizenship Deprivation, Security and Human Rights

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image of European Journal of Migration and Law

In response to the rise of IS and the growing problem of foreign fighters, deprivation of citizenship of persons deemed to threaten the interests of the state has been revived as a key tool for security and counterterrorism. Yet, citizenship deprivation raises profound issues for human rights. In the UK, the Immigration Act 2014 includes a power to deprive naturalized British citizens of their citizenship on security grounds, even if doing so would render individuals stateless. The UK government has argued that deprivation would satisfy the requirements of necessity and proportionality under Article 8(2) ECHR, provided it could be shown to be necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the UK. Yet the risks are not only to private and family life. Citizenship deprivation may also involve other rights (not least Articles 2 and 3) where the consequence of deprivation is that individuals suffer loss of life, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This article explores the genesis of citizenship deprivation resulting in statelessness and offers a strong critique on grounds of legality and rights. It also raises serious questions about its efficacy as a security strategy.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, St Cross Building, University of Oxford St Cross Rd, Oxford OX1 3ULUKFaculty of Law, University of New South Wales Building F8, unsw Australia, Union Road, Sydney nsw 2052Australia


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