In almost 80 percent of countries around the world, citizens can be deprived of their citizenship based on disloyalty, military or other service to a foreign country or other criminal offences. These deprivation powers have increased significantly in the post-9/11 period. Since 2000, one-in-five countries have added new grounds for nationality deprivation that relate to national security or counter-terrorism. More than half of these countries were in Europe, making it the epicentre of resurgent interest in citizenship stripping. This trend is worrying for several reasons. First, citizenship stripping leads to the erosion of the right to a nationality. The majority of deprivation powers target only certain categories of citizen — most commonly citizens by naturalisation — instituting a second-class, conditional citizenship that can be taken away on the basis of discretionary government decisions. Newly-minted nationality deprivation powers increase both direct and indirect discrimination against minority communities, serving to bolster and justify racist, xenophobic and populist narratives. Secondly, the potential normalisation of de-nationalisation as a legitimate power for the state to hold over its own citizens also has a knock-on impact internationally for efforts to protect the right to nationality and prevent statelessness. Third, citizenship stripping invariably upsets the law-based international order. These and other concerns have resulted in litigation efforts in cases of nationality deprivation, which have in turn sparked further (legislative) developments. In some cases, this has led to courts making a rights-based pronouncement and overruling nationality deprivation. Sometimes, however, such a ruling would only lead the government to bring in new legislation that erodes protections further, like in the UK.
In this one-day workshop, we discuss the nexus between, on the one hand, legislative developments in the area of security-related citizenship deprivation and the litigation strategies developed in response to these developments. We examine legislative trends, with a focus on Europe in a global context, identifying the main grounds for deprivation, the scope of deprivation powers, and safeguards against statelessness. We review recent court cases on denationalization and discuss experiences of civil society actors, lawyers/practitioners and academics involved in litigation, as well as how the outcomes of litigation have influenced legislation (both positively and negatively), to better understand the two-way interaction. The workshop will include a limited number of paper presentations to ensure ample time for discussion and exchange of ideas and experiences.