#Human Rights
United Nations, US, Australian, UK, New Zealand, Canadian Government

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) launches this petition in the wake of the controversy surrounding jihadi bride, Shamina Begum, whose British citizenship has been revoked by Home Office Secretary Hon. Sajid Javid after she joined the Islamic State (IS).

This petition endeavours to reform the international law precepts regarding statelessness and in particular seeks amendments to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (‘The Convention’). Under International Law, a stateless person is someone who is "not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law."

In general under international law no person should be rendered stateless, a principle which is enshrined in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) as follows:

“Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality…”

Despite the aforementioned provision, in certain circumstances international law recognises that a person can be rendered stateless, namely where they have committed a war crime, a crime against humanity or a crime against peace. Furthermore, these people are not entitled to any protections conferred under the aforementioned 1954 Convention designed to provide certain rudimentary protections to those rendered stateless.

In recent years the question has arisen as to whether jihadi brides or other persons travelling abroad to join recognised terrorist groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah should have their citizenship revoked. International law seems to be hitherto unsettled on this matter which is why this petition seeks to compel a clearer framework for determining the kinds of conduct that would and should entitle a government to revoke a person’s citizenship and furthermore, whether people guilty of these acts should be precluded from any protections conferred under the 1954 Convention and the subsequent 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Pursuant to Article 1 (2) (iii) (a) of the 1954 Convention, certain stateless people are precluded from any protections conferred under the Convention. Namely, people who have committed crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Of concern is the fact that this provision and indeed the entire Convention does not expressly state people found guilty of terrorist offences or of joining terrorist organisations shall (a) be rendered stateless and (b) precluded from enjoying any protections ordinarily enjoyed by stateless people under international law. We would seek to amend this provision to make it explicit that those found guilty of terrorist offences committed abroad and those found guilty of joining terrorist organisations should lose statehood and should lose their protections under the aforesaid conventions.

Why is it so important to have this clarity? The current ambiguity in international law around how to deal with those who have gone abroad and joined terrorist groups has meant, for example, that many jihadi brides have been able to return to places like Britain because the threshold requirement of proving they have committed a ‘war crime’ is too high, especially given that acquiring evidence in such situations is complicated by the fact that any terrorist conduct occurred in a war zone where documentation of such crimes would be limited. The BPCA submits therefore that the mere act of travelling abroad to join an recognised terrorist group that itself has been involved in the commission of terrorist offences, war crimes or acts against the peace should suffice to render a person both stateless and ineligible for the ordinary protections that a stateless person is normally afforded. Of course where there exists unequivocal evidence of the individual’s involvement in the commission of specific war crimes etc then there should be heightened concern but the act itself of travelling abroad to join terrorist organisations that seek to destroy western civilisation should itself suffice to render a person stateless or, to quote the Latin terminology, persona non grata. This person is surely guilty of treason by being complicit in organisation’s whose agendas run contrary to western ideology and freedoms.

In the age of terror where a country must privilege its own national interests over giving a free return pass to people who have clearly demonstrated a total disregard for the well-being of their country and its inhabitants. International law should make a bold statement, that if you travel abroad to join a recognised terrorist group you are no longer welcome back home.

Please sign this petition to tighten international laws around jihadi brides, IS Soldiers and other people who travel abroad to join terrorist groups. It is time now to protect our freedoms and liberties and to stop capitulating to extremist agendas.

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The Reform international law precepts regarding statelessness petition to United Nations, US, Australian, UK, New Zealand, Canadian Government was written by Wilson Chowdhry and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.