Foreign Fighters and the Deprivation of Nationality: National Practices and International Law Implications

Laura van Waas

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    While most people experience their nationality as a fixed and integral feature of their identity, it is not necessarily a permanent or immoveable characteristic. Indeed, most States’ nationality laws feature a set of rules—alongside those which elaborate the conditions for acquisition of nationality—which stipulate the grounds upon which a national can lose or be deprived of that nationality. With concern rising about international terrorism and now the phenomenon of foreign fighters, governments have been rediscovering nationality policy as a potential instrument in the protection of their national security interests. This chapter highlights a range of States’ perspectives on the deprivation of nationality and discusses recent developments in national-level debate and/or policy around the deprivation of nationality from foreign fighters. It then goes on to explore the international law implications of an expanded use of such deprivation powers. In particular, the chapter looks at the international law prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of nationality and what this requires of States that would seek to deprive a person of nationality in response to their engagement in an armed conflict in a third country. It discusses how international legal standards relating to the prevention of Statelessness restrict States’ powers of deprivation of nationality and asks what the significance is of such restrictions for the enjoyment of nationality by dual nationals. Finally, the chapter also assesses to what extent different approaches to the deprivation of nationality from foreign fighters pose a challenge from the perspective of the international law principle of non-discrimination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationForeign fighters under international law and beyond
    EditorsAndrea de Guttry, Francesca Capone, Christophe Paulussen
    PublisherTMC Asser Press | Springer
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)978-94-6265-099-2
    ISBN (Print)978-94-6265-098-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • nationality
    • statelessness
    • citizenship
    • arbitrary deprivation of nationality
    • dual nationality
    • banishment
    • passport


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