Belgians who fight in Syria to lose nationality

Summary

Home affairs minister says young people who choose to leave Belgium to join rebel fighting abroad will find themselves stateless

Fighting radicalisation

Federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) has announced plans to confiscate passports from Belgians who join rebel forces fighting in Syria, taking away their Belgian nationality. Jambon also wants to draw up a list of radicalised jihadist fighters wanted by national and international police forces, he said in a policy statement.

The measures are aimed at discouraging young people from being influenced by extremist propaganda and joining terrorist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria.

“The government intends to consult with its international partners on how to deal with radicalisation and violent jihadism,” Jambon said. “We want to draw up an international list of terrorists, including jihadi fighters and recruiters, along with information on their travel plans.”

The minister said that Belgium would adopt measures to deprive people of their Belgian nationality if they have joined a terrorist group such as IS in Syria. The new measures, similar to those adopted by the British and Dutch governments, could be introduced by adapting a 1979 law on mercenaries, making it illegal to take part in certain conflicts abroad.

The home office also plans to use undercover officers to monitor websites that encourage radicalisation, hate or violence.

Jambon said he would introduce measures to allow the confiscation of travel documents if there is “serious and plausible evidence” that someone intends to carry out “activities that constitute a threat to the state”. 

Home affairs minister says young people who choose to leave Belgium to join rebel fighting abroad will find themselves stateless.

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