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Down Under’s rejoinder to terror

The basic intention is to ensure that militants with dual nationality who are fighting overseas should not return to Australia.



Published: Wed 24 Jun 2015, 10:12 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:51 PM

Australia is walking a tightrope as it rewrites its citizenship laws. The third largest destination that welcomes immigrants from all over the world — after the United States and Europe — is poised with a difficult political question of its existence. It is contemplating whether to be generous in keeping its doors open for the best of the best talent to make Australia their home or slam the door on potential aspirants. That is so because the country feels that it is losing the war at the hands of terror recruits, who are exploiting Australian laws and citizenship to further their nefarious designs.

Through an act of law, Canberra plans to strip citizenship from dual nationals engaged in terrorism. This is easier said than done, but the fact is that a growing number of recruits for Daesh and a series of arrests inside Down Under have compelled the government to reconsider its immigration policy. This is in addition to the policy of screening citizens at airports to double-check their bona fides.

The basic intention is to ensure that militants with dual nationality who are fighting overseas should not return to Australia. The law is pre-emptive in essence, through which those working or aligning with terror groups could be prosecuted and stripped of nationality. Moreover, all those convicted of certain terrorism-related offences would automatically lose their Australian citizenship.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has implemented a straightjacket policy when it comes to illegal immigrants and anti-terror activities, will have to pause for a while and reconsider whether the policy to forfeit citizenship is advisable or not — taking into account the human face of Australia as a preferred destination for would-be-immigrants. Needless to say that terrorists and unscrupulous elements should be sternly dealt with. International law, however, says that in no case a person can be rendered stateless. While extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures, the new laws should be seen as deterrence to check radicalism in society.


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