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Information Tribunal hearing over refusal to reveal numbers of women and parents stripped of citizenship

An Information Tribunal challenge is being brought against the Information Commissioner and the Home Office by human rights research group Rights Security International (RSI) regarding their refusal to reveal numbers of women and parents stripped of citizenship.

Posted on 25 April 2023

Human rights research group Rights Security International (RSI) has a hearing in the Information Tribunal on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 April over its Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the number of formerly British women and parents who were deprived of their citizenship in 2019-2020, and how many children have been affected.

The Home Office refused the request in March 2021 after it had refused several other similar requests dating back to 2019.

The Information Tribunal challenge is being brought against the Information Commissioner and the Home Office.

The FOI request by RSI seeks information about the number of women who were deprived of their citizenship in 2019-2020, the number of individuals who were parents of minor children at the time of the deprivation, and how many minor children they had. 

This information will assist RSI and the public to better understand the Home Office’s policy with regards to its treatment of vulnerable women and children.

This may include those previously connected with the Islamic State (IS), many of whom may be victims of trafficking or happened to be born to parents allegedly connected with IS. These children and women are now facing a future of indefinite confinement in dangerous conditions in camps in north eastern Syria.

RSI is represented by human rights solicitor Lucy Cadd, at law firm Leigh Day, who has instructed Alex Littlewood at Monckton Chambers.

Lucy Cadd said:

“The Home Office publish the overall number of individuals who have been deprived of their citizenship each year, yet they refuse to disclose how many of those individuals are women, are parents of minor children or how many children are affected by the deprivation decisions made.

"This is deeply concerning. It prevents RSI from undertaking analysis as to, in particular, any gender-based harm caused by the Home Office’s deprivation of citizenship policy. In light of the numbers of British and previously British women and children who remain in the camps in north eastern Syria and who are in an extremely vulnerable position, this is a topic that desperately requires further public debate and scrutiny. RSI has now been waiting for this information for two and a half years.”

Sarah St Vincent of RSI said:
 
“Citizenship deprivation is one of the most profound, life-altering powers any government has, and historically, it has been deeply connected with bias against particular religious or ethnic groups. The people of the United Kingdom, who ultimately determine the country’s laws via their elected representatives, have a right to know whether the government could be taking away citizenship based on bias, including intersectional bias against certain women and children. They also have a right to evaluate whether the government is taking seriously the impact of citizenship-stripping on the lives of children who are very real and very much at risk of death or permanent harm in places such as Syria.”

The Information Tribunal hearing will be held at Field House, 15-25 Breams Buildings, EC4A 1DZ.

The hearing is due to begin at 10am.

For more information contact Leigh Day press office at pressoffice@leighday.co.uk

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Lucy Cadd (1)
Human rights

Lucy Cadd

Lucy Cadd is a senior associate solicitor in the human rights department.

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