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Deprivation of Citizenship Status

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:35 pm on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 1:35 pm, 20th February 2019

On the general question of returning foreign fighters and ISIS supporters, the President of the United States said:

“The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial.”

Does the Home Secretary accept that what the security services have been calling for is a very specialised programme of questioning, interrogation, de-radicalisation and quite possibly putting these people on trial, fashioned for this group of foreign fighters and their supporters? What is not helpful is to strip them of their nationality, which on the face of what he has said appears to be on a wholly arbitrary basis.

On the particular issue of Shamima Begum, there is no question but that she has said some very reprehensible things in the media, particularly about the Manchester bombings. However, the Home Secretary knows that the Home Office lost two cases where it attempted to strip people of their nationality on the basis of Bangladeshi nationality by descent, so why is he going forward with the same strategy now? Let me remind the Home Secretary of article 15 of the universal declaration of human rights:

“(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality”.

Can the Home Secretary explain how his actions are not in breach of the articles of the declaration?