Instrumentalising citizenship in the fight against terrorism: How have deprivation powers evolved since 9/11?

Today marks the launch of a new joint report on citizenship stripping by GLOBALCIT and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. The report offers the first comprehensive global analysis of nationality deprivation powers and how these have evolved since 9/11.

Drawing on a new global survey of 190 countries, the report highlights the following trends:

  • 70% of countries provide in their law for the possibility to deprive citizens of nationality due to disloyalty treason national security or involvement in terrorism.
  • Two-thirds of these countries apply nationality deprivation powers explicitly to naturalised citizens, who are often from minority groups, increasing both direct and indirect discrimination and also serving to both bolster and justify racist, xenophobic, and populist narratives.
  • Three-quarters of countries lack safeguards to prevent statelessness. Moreover, many laws employ vague language, the interpretation of which is at the discretion of the authority in charge of taking deprivation decisions, creating legal uncertainty and the possibility for powers to be ‘stretched’ and abused, as in the case of Bahrain where human rights defenders have been a prime target.

Notwithstanding the existence of international legal obligations relating to deprivation, the study further reveals a steadily increasing securitisation of citizenship – with Europe at the helm, closely followed by the MENA region. The survey identifies the United Kingdom, where the case of Shamima Begum brought the country’s citizenship stripping practices into the international spotlight, as a global leader in the race to the bottom.

An online launch event will be held on 29 March at 16:30 (CET).

See also a European Network on Statelessness blogpost highlighting some of the key findings of the report.