This week Shamima Begum, who at fifteen fled the UK to join the Islamic State, was located in Al Hol refugee camp in northeastern Syria.
Begum has asked to return to the UK. A request which has again revealed the deep divisions in British society.
It has also highlighted that, in some cases, human rights are NOT for everyone.
The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has since called for her British citizenship to be revoked. A move that seems to have widespread support.
However, stripping the nineteen year old of her citizenship has the potential to make her stateless – this is ILLEGAL under international human rights law.
But when did Britain ever really care about human rights law?
We literally sell arms to countries on our human rights watch list AND the Tories want to rip up the Human Rights Act.
Bearing in mind Begum was a minor who was groomed online at the time she and two friends left to join IS.
Now nineteen, she has lost two children and has just given birth to another son. Javid has recently stated that her son’s citizenship won’t be affected if Begum loses hers.
But how many new born babies can make it back to Britain without their mother?
To deny her the right to come back to Britain is DANGEROUS.
Yes she has been radicalised, there is no doubt about that.
And yes, she did join a terrorist organisation (one which the West despises to its core – IS is not the only terrorist organisation in the world).
To strip her of her British citizenship and leave her to ‘rot’ as one (un)popular British TV presenter has stated, is a move that will only come back to bite us as a country.
For one, Begum is in a refugee camp made up of roughly 30,000 IS civilian families, including young children. It is essentially another Caliphate (or Islamic State).
To leave her there (and other EU nationals) is to potentially radicalise her further. Camps are breeding grounds for further extremism – living in poverty, with little security is obviously only going to strengthen hatred towards the country that refused her the right to return.
What about all the young children who are potentially going to grow up in an extremely radicalised setting? Give it another twenty years and the ‘war against ISIS’ will just repeat itself with the grown up children of this era.
History does teach us lessons around this.
Take the civil war in Rwanda for example. It was the children of the refugees expelled in the 1960/70s who returned to the country in the 1990s to fight against who they saw as their oppressors.
Some more on that: https://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/read/44135
Another point to make is that Britain loves to send ‘extremists’ and potential terrorists back to ‘their own country’. So why the hell are we not taking ours back?
Is our domestic law so weak we can’t bring them to justice? Surely it can’t be one rule for everyone else’s terrorists and another for ours?
Javid has suggested Begum should claim Bangladeshi citizenship due to her parent’s heritage. So Bangladesh, a country she has never visited, should take her in because Britain refuses to?
In response, the Bangladesh government has stated she does not hold dual citizenship therefore will not be allowed into the country.
If Javid goes ahead and revokes her citizenship, Begum will be made STATELESS. As said, this is illegal under international law.
There is a mounting legal challenge by Begums lawyer to prevent this – which is likely to win due to Bangladesh rejecting claims of dual citizenship.
SOME POINTS TO CONSIDER
Whether or not Begum was involved directly in any terrorists act, she is a BRITISH citizen and she deserves the right to a fair trial like anyone else.
We could learn a lot if we just listened to her. What made a teenage girl from Bethnal Green join a terrorist organisation? And how did she manage to leave the country without being stopped?
Making an example of a nineteen year old girl does NOTHING to prevent the root causes of why British nationals join IS.
If anything it will only serve to create a martyr out of Shemima Begum and potentially radicalise more people in the UK who already distrust the British State.