ECHR Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia: mass-confiscation of passports violates article 8

On the 12th of June the ECHR declared a violation of the right to private life (article 8) of two individuals who were left stateless in Russia for several years as a result of bureaucratic deficiencies not attributable to them. The judgment strengthens even further the Court’s earlier case law on the connection between nationality rights, statelessness, and article 8 of the ECHR. Read More …

The ‘Windrush Generation’ and Citizenship

Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK in the period after the Second World War are now close to retirement age and their right to live in the UK has come under challenge, with catastrophic consequences for some. The story has become a major political scandal and has led to the resignation of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. It is a rare instance of public and mainstream media support for migrants. Read More …

“Restore the factory settings”: Efforts to control executive discretion in nationality administration in Africa

March 2018 saw a series of bold rulings by African courts to protect both prominent politicians and ordinary people against excessive discretion in decisions relating to the right to a nationality. Most notably, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in its first decision touching on nationality administration, found Tanzania in violation of norms against arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Read More …

Tales of changing citizenship: what applicants told me about the process of making Britain their home

People who successfully apply for British citizenship are seldom asked to recount their stories. They simply carry on with their lives. But how does it really feel to go through the process of becoming a British citizen? What does achieving citizenship mean to those who gain it? How does it affect their sense of identity and belonging? To answer these questions for my new book, Britishness, Belonging and Citizenship I spoke to 30 successful applicants about their experiences. Read More …

“Votes for Life” Bill passes second reading in the UK House of Commons

On 23 February 2018, the Overseas Electoral Bill (the Bill’), which abolishes a 15 year limit to the franchise for non-resident citizens, passed second reading with a clear majority in the UK House of Commons and will now proceed for scrutiny by a Public Bill Committee. It was presented as a private member’s bill by Glyn Davies MP (Conservative) and sponsored, inter alia, by Mike Gapes MP (Labour) and Layla Moran MP (Liberal Democrats). Read More …

The curious case of Hungary: why the naturalisation rate does not always show how inclusive a country is

The ‘naturalisation rate’ is a commonly used indicator to measure the ratio of the number of persons acquiring citizenship of a country over the stock of non-national population in a country; as such, it is often used to measure the relative inclusiveness of a country’s naturalisation policy. According to Eurostat statistics, in Hungary the average naturalisation rates in the period 2011-15 was 7.8 percent, one of the highest rates reported in the European Union. Read More …

De jure and de facto tolerance of dual citizenship in Japan: lessons from the Renho controversy

The public understanding is that dual citizenship is not allowed in Japan: The reality is that dual citizenship (nijyu kokuseki) it is tolerated in some cases and forbidden in other cases which leads to the interpretation that it is neither allowed nor forbidden in current Japanese Nationality Law. The question of dual citizenship becomes a critical one for those in positions and occupations for which the Japanese law explicitly states a Japanese citizenship requirement. Read More …