Britain's dirty drone secret

Posted by Rachel Robinson on 07 April 2014

Today the House of Lords will debate Clause 64 of the vile Immigration Bill – if passed, this Clause will allow the Home Secretary to remove citizenship from British citizens, regardless of whether this may render them stateless.

Not only is intentionally forcing someone into the abyss of statelessness inhumane and unprincipled, it is also ineffective in keeping us safe. As Baroness Smith of Basildon has asked: “What are the implications for national and international security of allowing terror suspects to be loose and undocumented in whatever country they happen to be in when their citizenship is revoked?”.  It is a gravely retrograde step, ignorant of the emerging international consensus on reducing statelessness.

As established by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there is an even shadier side to this clause.  In 2010 the Home Secretary stripped Bilal al-Berjawi, a British-Lebanese citizen, of his British nationality. He was then reportedly killed by a US drone, just hours after calling his wife in the UK to congratulate her on the birth of their first son. 

It’s hard to avoid reaching the same conclusion as former Special Advocate Ian Macdonald QC, that removal of citizenship “means that the British government can completely wash their hands if the security services give information to the Americans who use their drones to track someone and kill them”. 

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson

Policy and Advocacy Manager