France looks to revoke dual nationality for convicted terrorists

A new constitutional measure is being considered in France that would allow the country to revoke the nationality of terror convicts.

REUTERS/Etienne Laurent/Pool
French President Francois Hollande delivers a speech during "La France s'Engage" (France makes a commitment) ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, December 22, 2015.

The French government is hardening its position toward dual-nationals, in what is part of a new series of constitutional changes following the Nov. 13 attacks: French nationals who who have participated in acts of terrorism and who are also nationals of other countries could have their nationality revoked.

This measure, along with a move to uphold the state of emergency imposed by President François Hollande by enshrining it in the constitution, would require a three-fifths majority in the lower and upper houses of France's Parliament. Debate on these measures will begin Feb. 3, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The threat has never been higher,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters on Wednesday. “We must face up to a war, a war against terrorism, against jihadism, against radical Islam.” 

The state of emergency, which was declared by Mr. Hollande the night of the attacks, gives special policing powers to the French military – including authority to impose house arrests and to raid houses without judicial oversight. 

A 1961 United Nations convention, which France co-signed, seeks to ensure the right of every person to a nationality. The new security reform therefore only applies to dual nationals. 

Over 1,000 people have left France to join jihad in Syria and Iraq, and over 3,000 raids have taken place since the Paris attacks, leading to 360 house arrests and 51 people put in jail.

“Everyone has a right to their doubts, their queries, their questions,” Mr. Valls told reporters.

The decision to revoke the nationality of terror convicts is controversial. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira was one of the first to voice doubts, but stated that Hollande had the final word.

Many civil rights groups also have voiced criticism over the surge in house arrests and police violence, saying there have been many cases of mistaken identity. 

"Emergency powers are only supposed to be used in relation to an imminent threat," John Dalhuisen, director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia program, told Al Jazeera. "It's hard to judge the imminence of a threat from the outside… But it doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out that much more of this was preventative and speculative rather than linked to intelligence on [the attacks]," he said. 

The emergency in France has been extended from 12 days to three months following a series of other terror threats across Europe, including a recent scare in Switzerland.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to France looks to revoke dual nationality for convicted terrorists
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today