Justice Under Pressure: Curtailing Citizenship Rights as Counterterrorism

Professor Lucia Zedner (University of Oxford)

The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these’. So observed Lord Hoffman, in a leading judgment striking down as unlawful the indefinite detention of foreign nationals suspected of terrorism. Yet just a decade on, new counterterrorist laws again seek to curb the rights to citizenship and mobility of those suspected of involvement in terrorism. Exclusion orders, flight bans, passport seizure, and forcible relocation are defended as essential to the security of a nation under threat. Citizenship appears no longer as a right but a privilege to be eroded or even denied. This lecture examines the damage done to justice and human rights when citizenship-stripping is used as a tool of counterterrorism and suggests that social exclusionary strategies do more harm than good.

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