From Charles Hector email@example.com
In UK, a young woman, who had just given birth to a
baby, currently at the Syrian refugee camp has had her citizenship revoked by
the Home Secretary. It is a concern of all concerned with human rights and
We invite your organisation/group to endorse this
statement, which shall be issued as a Joint Statement of all endorsing groups.
The statement was drafted in consultation with several individuals including
RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS AND RESTORE SHAMIMA BEGUM’S UK NATIONALITY
We, the undersigned
organizations and groups are appalled that the United Kingdom has revoked the
citizenship of Shamima Begum, a 20-year-old mother who asked to come back to
the UK after giving birth to a baby boy in a Syrian Refugee camp. While the UK
government refused to allow her and her child in, the baby died.
It was reported that the
Home Office sent Begum’s family in UK a letter informing her that Home
Secretary Sajid Javid had made an ‘…order “removing her British citizenship” on
Tuesday [19/2/2019]. The document, addressed to Begum’s mother, said the
decision was taken “in light of the circumstances of your daughter…”
DENIAL OF RIGHT TO BE
HEARD & A FAIR TRIAL
It is unconscionable and
unjust that anyone is deprived of one’s citizenship and/or nationality. It is
even more shocking when they have not been accorded the right to be heard and
to a fair trial. In addition, any decision should be made by the courts – not
merely an administrative order of some Minister, in this case the Home
The fact that the UK
government knows that Begum is in a Syrian Refugee camp, not in the United
Kingdom, and that she had been asking the government to help her and her baby
get home, made this act of citizenship cancellation even more outrageous. The
tragic death of her child, who was born a British citizen and may have been
saved had he been allowed into the UK with his mother, is unconscionable.
The Home Secretary
allegedly made his decision “…in light of the circumstances…” but Begum has not
been heard, therefore the ‘circumstances’ may not be true – they have certainly
not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
with a couple of friends, allegedly left the UK and travelled to Syria. She
then allegedly got married to a man from Holland. They allegedly had children,
and this is now her third child. Her other children apparently are also no
longer alive. Her ‘husband’ was allegedly involved in ISIS and/or a terrorist
group. There are allegations that Begum herself may have supported terrorist
agendas, beliefs, ideology and may even have participated in their activities.
There can be many
allegations, but allegations are irrelevant when it comes to the administration
of justice, especially when the end result is the possible deprivation of
liberty, or worse, the loss of nationality. Allegations need to be proven
beyond reasonable doubt especially when it comes to cancelling one’s birth
right. Begum was a citizen at birth. She was not granted her nationality by any
subsequent act of government.
What we have heard and
seen in the media may have influenced the government of the day. There is
always the possibility of bias, selective ‘quotes’ and/or selective reporting
that may invite wrong conclusions.
The government, on the
other hand, must be more thorough and just, especially if the end result is the
expulsion of a person from the UK, the only country that Begum belongs to, the
separation from her family there, and now the death of a new born.
At present, there is no
crime in UK law that prescribes that the penalty is the revocation of
citizenship. Even the worst of criminals, such as convicted mass murderers like
the Yorkshire Ripper keep their nationality.
A mother, wife, child or
relative of a person convicted of a crime should never be considered guilty
simply because of family ties or association. If Shamima Begum did break UK
law, then she should be brought back to the UK and accorded a fair trial. If
convicted, then she should be sentenced as a citizen in accordance with the
Different treatment based on parentage…
Discrimination is also a
major concern if different treatment is being accorded to a class of citizens
who are assumed to be or maybe entitled to dual nationalities through
parentage, or even marriage. Would other citizens of the UK, with no migrant
heritage, be treated in the same way ending up with the revocation of their UK
‘…Speaking after he
revoked her British citizenship, [Home Secretary,] Sajid Javid said he would
not take a decision that would leave an individual with nowhere to go….
Although he has not commented directly on the case, Mr Javid appeared to
confirm earlier in the week the government felt able to take such action –
which would prevent her from returning to the UK – because she is a dual
national or has the right to citizenship elsewhere. Under international law,
revoking someone’s citizenship is only permissible if it does not leave that
person stateless….’ (Sky News, 21/2/2019).
It must be noted that
Begum does not hold dual citizenship, which is permitted in the UK, but is a UK
citizen from birth. The Home Secretary’s order would thus now make her
stateless. Bangladesh has
already stated that Begum does not have any right to Bangladeshi citizenship.
The position adopted by
the UK is clearly discriminatory. It sets a frightening precedent for millions
of people born in the UK to immigrant parents. They can now lose their
citizenship whilst those born to British-born parents cannot.
It is most disturbing to
find out that there has been a significant escalation of removal of
citizenship. This was highlighted by the Windrush scandal where Commonwealth
citizens who had lived in the UK for decades were deported if they could not
show documentation proving their citizenship.
Removal of Citizenship has
increased by 600% in a year. Over the past 10 years, 150 people have been
deprived of UK nationality. Fourteen people were deprived of citizenship in
2016, and 104 in 2017. (Independent, 21/2/2019).
This is another result of
the ‘racist policy’ to create a ‘hostile environment’ against anyone assumed to
be an immigrant from the ‘New Commonwealth’ (i.e. people from countries with
mainly non-white populations) put in place by Prime Minister Theresa May when
she was then Home Secretary.
Child Rights Convention
– Removing A Mother’s Nationality Is Not In The Best Interest Of A UK Child
Begum’s son was born days
before her citizenship was revoked and was therefore a UK citizen. The
government’s action was against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC), amongst others, as it deprived him of his mother and of his right to be
breastfed by her. It was certainly not in the best interest of the child.
His subsequent death is a tragedy that may have been avoided had his rights
been prioritized. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott questioned whether stripping Begum of her nationality “made
it impossible for her to fulfil her duties as a mother and bring her baby home
to a safe place.”
Call on the UK government
to forthwith revoke the Home Secretary’s order removing Begum’s UK
citizenship/nationality, and immediately bring her back to the UK as per her
Call on the UK Government
to respect human rights, including the rights of the child as contained in the
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC); and
Call on the UK to abolish
laws and/or policies that can result in discriminatory treatment against
citizens based on factors including parentage.