In preventing acts of terrorism on their soil, a number of
Council of Europe member States have adopted legislation with a
view to making it easier to withdraw nationality from individuals
engaged or suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. In
some countries, the withdrawal of an individual’s nationality can
take place without a criminal conviction. Other countries make a
distinction between citizens by birth and naturalised citizens and
even allow the deprivation of nationality if the person would become
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights recalls that
under international law statelessness should be prevented and arbitrary
deprivation of nationality should be prohibited, although States
retain a wide discretion in deciding on nationality issues.
Laws and practices allowing for the deprivation of nationality
as a measure to combat terrorism raise several concerns regarding
their compatibility with international human rights standards. Although
States possess a legitimate sovereign right to guarantee security
on their territory, democratic societies can only be protected effectively
by ensuring that anti-terrorism measures abide by the rule of law.
Therefore, Council of Europe member States should consider the use
of alternative measures instead of depriving their citizens of their nationality.