Tribune de Geneve.
Dual nationals implicated in terrorist activities or who leave to fight in the name of jihad, should be stripped of their Swiss nationality. The Swiss National Council voted in favour of a UDC (SVP) parliamentary initiative of this nature by 102 votes against 85 on Monday.
The initiative’s text, put forward previously by UDC (SVP) president Toni Brunner, was narrowly voted down in January by a Federal Council commission. The recent attacks in Paris have perhaps tilted the balance in favour of acceptance of such measures.
Socialist member Cesla Amarelle thinks the measure is purely symbolic and will not dissuade jihadists from carrying out crimes or strengthen the county’s security. She also voiced concern that removing Swiss nationality could prevent someone committing such crimes from being extradited to Switzerland.
The commission thinks the penal code provides sufficient tools to go after someone committing crimes abroad. Certain activities such as belonging to a criminal organisation or preparing for criminal acts are already punishable. The law already allows Swiss nationality to be stripped from dual nationals who behave in ways that could have a serious impact on Switzerland’s interests or reputation.
According to Swiss administration, currently only four people could potentially lose their Swiss passports under this initiative.
- A jihadist could lose his Swiss nationality (Le News – 05.11.15)
Toni Brunner is not alone in proposing automatic passport removal. The PDC (CVP) put forward a similar proposal, which was rejected by the Federal Council in November 2014, considering it disproportionate and unnecessary. Law allowing the removal of Swiss passports from dual nationals has existed since 1953, but has never been used (see below).
Now the States Council, Switzerland’s 46 member upper house, needs to vote on the parliamentary initiative.
Full Tribune de Genève article (in French)
Since 1953, Swiss law has permitted the removal of Swiss nationality from dual nationals from the moment their behaviour seriously harms the country’s interests or reputation, provided those concerned are not left without nationality. The relevant text is set out in Article 48 of this law (in French).