Australia may strip citizenship of dual nationals

Australia says it will strip citizenship of dual nationals convicted of terror related crimes

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Police tape stretches across a road as police inspect and guard the area outside the New South Wales (NSW) state police headquarters located in the south western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, Australia, October 2, 2015.

Updated Apr 11, 2016

Australia, an ally of the United States in its battle against the DAESH terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, said on Friday it will strip dual nationals convicted of terror-related crimes of their citizenship.

The controversial claim put forward by Australian officials was hit by critics who suggested the ocean surrounded country was exaggerating national security threats to pass new laws.

French President Francois Hollande last month scrapped proposed plans to strip French nationality from people convicted of terrorism, despite the deadly November attacks in Paris which killed 130 people.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Melbourne that dual national citizens who were involved in terror activities, members of banned organisations or convicted of terrorism offences could lose their Australian citizenship.

Dutton said “there is a very significant penalty to pay if people have dual national citizenship and are involved in terrorist activities.

The Australian Parliament passed the Australian Citizenship Amendment Bill in December 2015, among many other counterterrorism bills which have provoked concern among many Australians for intruding upon personal privacy.

Australia's government has accused 200 people of being a domestic threat to the country and has been criticised for putting a 12-year-old child under the counterterrorism radar and charging children as young as 15 for terrorist acts.

Dutton claimed that approximately 100 Australians had left Australia to fight alongside terrorist organisations in Syria.

Under Australian law, it is prohibited to provide any form of support to armed groups in Syria. This "includes engaging in fighting for either side, funding, training or recruiting someone to fight and supplying or funding weapons for either side." Despite this, some Australians have fought in Syria and returned without being prosecuted.

In a recent case, Ashley Dyball - who had spent time abroad in Syria to fight for the YPG, an armed affiliate of the PKK terrorist organisation, was granted permission to enter Australia in December last year. 

Meanwhile, Australian teenager Oliver Bridgeman, who says he travelled to Syria to provide humanitarian aid to its people, has not been allowed to return and an arrest warrant has been issued for him. Authorities have accused Oliver of leaving with the "intention of engaging in hostile activities."

The 19-year-old has rejected these allegations and said during many interviews that he has not been involved in any terrorist acts. He said he has been documenting his charity work and has strictly engaged in humanitarian aid work.

TRTWorld and agencies