Citizenship Deprivation under the European Convention-System
A Case Study of Belgium
In response to Islamic-inspired terrorism and the growing trend of foreign fighters, European governments are increasingly relying on citizenship deprivation as a security tool. This paper will focus on the question of how the fundamental rights of individuals deprived of their citizenship are affected and which protection is offered for them by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (‘ECHR’). In many countries, these new and broader deprivation powers were left unaccompanied by stronger (procedural) safeguards that protect the human rights they might affect. Unlike the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the ECHR does not provide for an explicit right to citizenship. The question therefore rises what protection, if any, is offered by the ECHR system against citizenship deprivation and for the right to citizenship. Through a case study of the Belgian measure of citizenship deprivation, the (implicit) protection provided by the Convention-system is demonstrated.