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Monday, 27 June 2022
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Withdrawing the British citizenship without warning and the fate of British families in northeast Syria
Zara saleh
Recently, the UK government is preparing a draft bill that allows the Home Office to strip citizenship from someone without warning them under various circumstances. Such circumstances could be in the interests of "national security" or maybe for other "public interests" or because of the threats of terrorism. That means people who are holding British citizenship will not be notified that they have been stripped from their citizenship according to the new bill.

Activists and human rights organisations have been alarmed that the new bill is now pushing for more power to do without notifying anyone. In other words, British citizenship is unsecure and in danger even to those born in the UK. Added to that, the UK government has been using their power to remove more than 100 citizenship in 2017. Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative MP who is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) also has expressed his critics on such a new bill and said, "We need to take responsibility for these people and not use citizenship as a device". On the other hand, by drafting such a new bill, the UK government is seeking to tackle and prevent the radicalisation and extremism or people who had connections with ISIS and returned from Syria and Iraq.

The new draft bill, definitely, will affect all British family’s children, and women who live in northeast Syria and become stateless. For instance, the Home Office in the UK has already refused to recognise British people who had links with ISIS, like Shamima Begum. In February 2019, Shamima has lost her citizenship after she fled London and joined ISIS in Syria, and became IS bride; and now she still lives in Roj camp-prison in northeast Syria under the Kurdish authorities. The UK government refused to bring back these British citizens since they had joined ISIS like many other European countries.

According to official resources, nearly 900 UK citizens have been joining the so-called Islamic State in Syria, and some of them had returned back, while others have been killed, but there are about 20 British families still detained in Al-Hull and Roj camp in northeast Syria that controlled by the Kurdish authorities after defeating and smashing ISIS. However, the Kurdish forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were the only trustworthy ally on the ground with the international coalition against ISIS that has been behind the defeat of the so-called IS caliphate in Syria.

Now, the Kurdish self-administration in northeast Syria is still taking all responsibility for more than 70,000 ISIS fighters and families in the Al-Hull camp without any support, and even most of the European countries still refuse to return back their citizens and do not even ask about their citizens. Added to that, ISIS family’s children in both camps, Al-Hull and Roj, are living in very poor conditions with no medical care and schooling and consequently are a project brainwashed by radical IS mothers. In such an ideological and radical environment, these children will be definitely radicalised and become ISIS fighters in the future, and that is why the European countries including UK should take their responsibility to find out a right solution for their citizens in northeast Syria.

Zara Saleh

BY: Zara Saleh