UK: Revoking Shamima Begum's British citizenship 'legally and morally questionable'

Responding to news that Shamima Begum, who joined the Islamic State group in Syria aged 15, is to lose her UK citizenship, Rachel Logan, Amnesty International UK’s Legal Programme Director, said:

“The Home Secretary’s revoking of Shamima Begum’s British citizenship is legally and morally questionable.

“Effectively rendering Begum stateless, even if only temporarily, is simply bypassing the UK’s responsibility to recognise that she was a 15-year-old child when groomed and enticed to Syria, while she now has a new-born British child whose best interests need to be at the forefront of any decision.

“Given the apparent lack of any attempt to engage with her in Syria, it’s hard to see how an adequate assessment of her son’s best interests could have been done.

“Generally speaking, the UK Government should provide British nationals who are effectively detained in IDP camps in Syria with consular assistance. This is all the more important in cases where children are involved.

“Of course, if the Government has reasonable grounds to suspect that any individual returning to the UK has committed crimes under international law or which constitute serious human rights abuses, they should ensure that person is properly and fairly investigated and charged appropriately, in her case as a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed.”

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