UK citizenship-stripping powers ‘discriminate against Muslims’ say UN experts


UK citizenship-stripping powers ‘discriminate against Muslims’ say UN experts

United Nations (UN) human rights experts have told the UK government that its use of citizenship-stripping powers is likely discriminatory and unlawful because of its disproportionate impact on Muslim and migrant communities.

In a letter to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss made public on Wednesday, five UN special rapporteurs also expressed concern about government efforts to extend the powers in the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill. The proposed legislation, contained in clause nine of the bill, would allow the government to remove someone’s citizenship without any requirement to notify them.

The existing powers have been used extensively in recent years, mostly against British nationals who travelled to Syria during the country’s civil war. Those targeted include people accused of travelling to join the Islamic State (IS) group.

But Middle East Eye exclusively reported in 2017 that British aid workers had also been deprived of their citizenship. In their letter, the special rapporteurs said that the government’s existing use of the powers was likely discriminatory because of their disproportionate impact on “people from non-white racial and ethnic backgrounds, and especially people from Muslim and migrant communities”.

They cited figures suggesting that two in five people from non-white backgrounds could be at risk of losing their citizenship, compared with one in 20 among white people. “Such disproportionate impacts will likely constitute prohibited discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, descent, and national or ethnic origin, as well as other grounds such as religion,” the special rapporteurs wrote.

It is illegal under international law to deprive someone of citizenship if they do not hold another citizenship or an alternative entitlement to citizenship.

Source: Middle East Eye

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