Swiss to revoke citizenship of dual-national jihadists – SWI

The criteria range from relatively specific to extremely broad. The one about “insulting” another state is particularly egregious as well as the lack of due process:

The issue has been debated for a long time. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is in theory already able to denaturalise dual nationals, based on the 1952 law on the acquisition and loss of Swiss citizenship.

This law is vague, however, stating that the SEM can revoke – with consent of the canton of origin – the citizenship of a person holding dual nationality if his or her conduct is “seriously detrimental to the interests or the reputation of Switzerland”. This has never occurred.

On June 17, the cabinet agreed the regulation, which will enter into force in January 2018. Among other things, it listed offences that could result in someone being stripped of their Swiss citizenship.

These include a serious crime being committed in connection with terrorist activities, violent extremism or organised crime. Also mentioned are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violations of the Geneva Convention and other crimes that could apply to Islamic State fighters and jihadists.

Since 2001, 77 people have left Switzerland to fight in conflict areas, mostly Syria and Iraq, according to figures for July from the Federal Intelligence Service. Of these, 29 had Swiss citizenship – and of those 17 had dual nationality.


Dual citizens could also lose their Swiss passport if they “endanger in the long term Switzerland’s good relations with another state by insulting that state”.

In addition, the regulation includes the main offences that were written into the 1952 law with Nazis in mind: attacks upon Swiss independence, banned political intelligence and propaganda that could harm the country.

The regulation will apply only to dual nationals, since preventing statelessness is central to basic international law and the Swiss government regularly rejects bills that violate this.

Citizenship will also be revoked only on condition of a legal conviction. That said, this requirement can be qualified: if the state in which the offence is committed is not in the position to carry out penal proceedings, citizenship can be revoked without a conviction.

Source: Swiss to revoke citizenship of dual-national jihadists – SWI

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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