Australia to strip foreign fighters of citizenship

Australian government to strip citizenship from nationals who hold dual-citizenship and are fighting overseas

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday announced that his government will strip citizenship from its nationals who have dual-citizenship and are allegedly carrying out terrorist attacks at home or overseas as part of militant groups.

“As flagged by me in my national security statement in February, we will be legislating within a few weeks to strip dual citizens involved in terrorism of their Australian citizenship,” said Abbott.

The prime minister claimed that around 100 Australians are allegedly fighting in Iraq and Syria and there are around 150 Australia-based supporters.

According to attorney general George Brandis, 40 to 50 percent of alleged fighters overseas are dual-citizens.  

The new legislation will provide the immigration minister authority to remove Australian citizenship of dual-passport holders even if they are not convicted of an offence, yet the decision will be subject to judicial review.

“I want to stress we will be ensuring that as far as we can humanly make it, no-one becomes stateless, and any decision by the minister to strip someone of their citizenship, to strip a dual national of Australia citizenship, will be subject to due judicial review,” said Abbott.

Australia has already taken a step towards its intentions by cancelling the passports of 100 people on national security grounds.

The Australian government takes a firm stance against alleged fighters and supporters of ISIS.

Last week the government made it clear that anyone who has travelled overseas to fight in the conflicts in the Middle East and now wants to come back after regretting the decision will be heavily prosecuted.

Lawyers representing foreign fighters have been seeking leniency from the Australian government for their clients to return.

“If you go, and you seek to come back, as far as this government is concerned you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will be jailed,” said Abbott.

The Australian prime minister also highlighted that the new legislation is based on rules and regulations seen in other countries, in particular the UK, and said, “Australia is not acting alone here and we are not ahead of the pack… We have taken advice from our partners.”

TRTWorld and agencies