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Foreign Fighters and the Deprivation of Nationality: National Practices and International Law Implications

  • Laura Van WaasEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

While most people experience their nationality as a fixed and integral feature of their identity, it is not necessarily a permanent or immoveable characteristic. Indeed, most States’ nationality laws feature a set of rules—alongside those which elaborate the conditions for acquisition of nationality—which stipulate the grounds upon which a national can lose or be deprived of that nationality. With concern rising about international terrorism and now the phenomenon of foreign fighters, governments have been rediscovering nationality policy as a potential instrument in the protection of their national security interests. This chapter highlights a range of States’ perspectives on the deprivation of nationality and discusses recent developments in national-level debate and/or policy around the deprivation of nationality from foreign fighters. It then goes on to explore the international law implications of an expanded use of such deprivation powers. In particular, the chapter looks at the international law prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of nationality and what this requires of States that would seek to deprive a person of nationality in response to their engagement in an armed conflict in a third country. It discusses how international legal standards relating to the prevention of Statelessness restrict States’ powers of deprivation of nationality and asks what the significance is of such restrictions for the enjoyment of nationality by dual nationals. Finally, the chapter also assesses to what extent different approaches to the deprivation of nationality from foreign fighters pose a challenge from the perspective of the international law principle of non-discrimination.

Keywords

Nationality Citizenship Statelessness Arbitrary deprivation of nationality Dual nationality Banishment Passport 

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Press and the authors 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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