Pluto’s Frances Webber, author of Borderline Justice (Pluto, 2012), last week wrote an article for the
Institute of Race Relations. She takes on Teresa May and her recent attempts to amend British citizenship law to remove nationality from anyone who, in her view, is undeserving. Webber sketches out the immigration law and May’s mantra that threatens it: ”Citizenship is a privilege, not a right’.
The news reports suggest that May wants to implement her proposals by pushing through an amendment to the Immigration Bill currently going through parliament. But however fierce her determination to restore national sovereignty so as to de-nationalise and remove those she considers undesirable, she is sixty years too late. The body of international human rights law built up by the cooperation of states since the end of the second world war has created obligations for those states which, freely entered into, limit their freedom, their ‘sovereignty’, in ways which the international community as a whole, through the UN, has approved. An attempt to take Britain out of the Statelessness Conventions would deservedly create as much international outrage as renouncing the Refugee Convention. Is that next on the agenda?