Professor Matthew J Gibney, RSC Director, writes in today’s Metro about the decision by Home Secretary Sajid Javid to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship. He states: “No matter what one thinks of Begum, the powers being used against her should send a shiver down our spine.”
Gibney highlights that laws enabling the deprivation of citizenship have ‘had a remarkable renaissance across Western countries’ in recent years, due to increased fears of terrorism and the rise of Isis. However, he comments, “No Western country…has made its citizenship as easy to lose as the UK or used its laws with greater frequency.” In 2017, in excess of 100 UK nationals were stripped of their citizenship on the grounds that doing so was ‘conducive to the public good’.
Gibney further states that “Everything changed when Theresa May (Javid’s immediate predecessor) became Home Secretary in 2014. Since then, deprivation of citizenship has become a regular practice confined not just to terrorists or threats to national security but even to serious crimes.”
He argues that Begum is the “victim of a dangerous set of state powers that cheapen British citizenship, making it almost as easy to lose as the residence rights of those holding immigration permits.”
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