There is a poor lost soul who is both a New Zealand and Australian citizen who in 2014 chose to travel to the Middle East to be part of a community supportive of Islamic State. Her name is Suhayra Aden. She has spent most of her life in Australia but was born in New Zealand and has dual citizenship. She has two children who were born in the Middle East but who are also New Zealand citizens.
Using its reprehensible citizenship stripping law Australia has taken away her Australian citizenship leaving her to be New Zealand’s problem. They did this even though she left Australia for Syria in 2014 before the law was in force. The decision has caused some fraying of the Trans Tasman relationship. And the New Zealand Government has agreed to accept her and her children back into the country, essentially because it had no choice.
Radio New Zealand has the details:
Suspected of links to Islamic State, Aden was born here but raised and radicalised in Australia, a country she’s called home since she was six years old. It made Australia’s decision to revoke her citizenship stick even harder in New Zealand’s craw.
Australia dumped its responsibility squarely in New Zealand’s lap, bullishly and unapologetically. The angry response and pleas for co-operation from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern went unheeded. The promise from her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison that it won’t happen again is a hollow offering.
No one should be surprised Australia refused to bow – consider Morrison’s own domestic audience and his country’s long-held hardline stance at the border – it was never in its interests to give any quarter to someone with links to a brutal terrorist organisation, even in the absence of specific charges or allegations.
The last comment however misses the big point. Citizenship is a right and even if you are a ratbag, or a totally delusional thinker, you should be entitled to retain your passport and your ability to return to your home country.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
And these two:
Everyone has the right to a nationality …
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Of course Australia has not been the best at recognizing international human rights and respecting the rights of an individual. Just read any of the Standard posts about Peter Dutton to realize this is another example of weaponised brutality for political advantage.
Until recently Aden and her children were being held in Turkey. Negotiations are now concluded and they will be returned to New Zealand.
As Pablo at Kiwipolitico points out in this very persuasive post Aden has not been accused of being involved in any overt terrorist activity. He has described her as being a concubine and the description appears to be accurate. Certainly Interpol have not treated her as a person of interest for criminal charges and you get the impression that she is someone who does not present a threat. Pablo suggests that she was not involved in any violence activity and may have been held against her will.
So what will National and Judith Collins do? I am afraid Judith’s response yesterday was rather predictable and she did not rule out having the same law that Australia has.
National isn’t happy, with leader Judith Collins calling the decision a “total disappointment” on Wednesday.
“We got done over by the Australians and it’s not like she had anything to do with us other than she happened to be born here, left when she was six and you know I just feel sorry for her poor little kids,” she told The AM Show.
“They’ve been brought up and dragged up, you could say, in a place like Syria in IS camps and this woman chose to marry three times to IS fighters… I just think we are going to rue the day that we have to take her in.”
As for following Australia and changing the law:
Bridges then asked whether New Zealand should consider a law that would automatically revoke the citizenship of Kiwis who join terrorist groups.
Collins said it should be considered but conceded it would come with challenges.
“It’s very hard to do that with someone who is born in the country.”
If by “getting done over by the Australians” you mean them refusing to do what they do and breach some pretty fundamental rights then you may have a point.
Gerry Brownlee has also been sipping the racist kool aid. From Radio New Zealand:
National’s foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said Australia’s stance was unreasonable, but the New Zealand’s government’s decision showed the government did not have a high degree of concern for individual responsibility.
“I think you always have a choice,” he said. “You can’t really resile with the fact that this woman left Australia to join an organisation that wanted to destroy our way of life … that considered that the way in which we live in both New Zealand and Australia is somehow evil.”
He said it showed the government’s excuse that Aden could not be separated from her children did not stack up.
“Those children are victims of their parents’ decisions. We have organisations in New Zealand that regularly take children away from bad parents so … I don’t think the suggestion that there were family bonds there that could not be broken was reasonable.”
He thought it was “very poor” that the government would not give details about what kind of security arrangements would be in place, and the legal and operational security reasons given were “not good enough”.
“I think it’s just an excuse for not trusting the New Zealand public to know what they’re up to.”
Yep stripping someone of their citizenship and leaving them and their children stateless because they associated with some not very nice people should happen all the time. And his demand that details about the security arrangements be released is pure tripe. He knows this will never happen. These sorts of arrangements are never ever publicised for very good security reasons.
Pablo’s description of Brownlee should be bookmarked for future use:
Mr. Brownlee was/is a “racist dog-whistling, grasping-at-straws-on-the-security-angle tool.” I say so because Brownlee is the guy who ran the Christchurch earthquake “relief” efforts and sent private investigators to spy on insurance claimants and residents asking for help; who said that there were no white supremacists in Christchurch after the March 15 attacks; who hinted at dark conspiracy theories about Covid during the 2020 election; who railed about refugees during debate about the Control Order Bill last year when the Bill was strictly about returning Kiwis suspected to be involved in foreign conflicts. He was part of a government that regularly hid, misled or deliberately lied to the public on a number of issues, including those involving national security. He was an atrocious Defence Minister, more interested in junkets than full metal jackets, and a piss-poor Foreign Minister (among other failures) who was every diplomatic reception’s worst nightmare. He is long past his expiry date as a politician, so being a public buffoon is a step up.
This is a particularly vile example of the depths that conservative politicians including National will sink to. Shame on them.