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Wednesday 13th of November 2019

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What rights do the children of Islamic State have under international law?

Friday 1st of March 2019
theconversation
News

The case of Shamima Begum, the British teenager who, aged 15, left her home in London and travelled to Syria to join Islamic State, is not a one off. It’s now reported that a number more women who left the UK to live in the Islamic State caliphate are now in refugee camps in Syria.

The UK dealt with the Begum case by stripping her of citizenship, a measure only possible because she appears eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship through her parents – despite a denial of this by Bangladesh. While the UK may hope this action absolves it of responsibility for Begum, the wider problem hasn’t gone away.

It’s unlikely that all of the other British women and girls involved in Islamic State will have dual citizenship. This makes it impossible to side step the difficult questions around how to deal with them by removing their citizenship – as rendering a person stateless contravenes international law.

The children of these women and girls – such as Begum’s new baby boy, born in a Syrian refugee camp – were born to British citizens. This means they fall under the jurisdiction of the UK, raising further issues around how the UK will ensure the children’s international legal rights and fulfil its international legal obligations.

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