During his latest speech at Versailles castle on Monday 16th November, French president François Hollande declared that the fight against ISIS would need a change in French Constitution in order to deal with the menace originating within the same country.
He explained how he wishes to modify articles 23 to 25 of civil code which regulate the loss of citizenship by people born in a foreign country and later naturalized French. According to current laws, a French citizen – France applies the ius soli, which means that those who were born within French boundaries automatically gain French citizenship, independently from their parent’s origins – can’t be denied its citizenship.
The reason is that the deprivation of citizenship would actually create stateless persons, which would violate rights safeguarded by the Declaration of Human Rights – the right to have a homeland. Consequently, citizenship can be lost only in the case in which the person had a double citizenship and only in the case in which he had committed a terrorist act or similar.
Hollande wishes to modify the laws so that even binational people born in France can lose citizenship. Evidently, French government realized that radicalization not only univocally comes from the outside – and from immigration fluxes – but it also grows up in the country, among French citizens.
Moreover, Hollande expressed the will to extend the ITF – interdiction de territoire français – from those who are deemed guilty of a crime in France by a judge to binational who wouldn’t be allowed to come back to French territories, unless they have passed strict controls.
The debate on deprivation of citizenship had already raised after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher supermarket in Paris between 7th and 9th January 2015. Then, the National Front party and others, advocated for de-naturalization of jihadists, declaring that it should be used as a tool against terrorism. Other proposals that gained popularity among French politicians were the re-establishment of the crime of “national indignity” and “national declaration”, inspired by a series of measures taken after World War II and that consisted in the separation of citizenship from nationality and included a number of restrictions.
However, since Hollande’s declaration, critics have discussed the effectiveness of these measures thought to prevent terrorist attacks. Effectiveness is actually questioned, when we look at the figures: a large number of French jihadists who left France in 2014 would not be concerned by constitutional changes, because they were born French and did not have a double nationality.