Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison hold 'constructive' phone call after citizenship row

Ross Houston
February 18, 2021

The University of Otago global relations specialist fully endorses Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's public dressing down this week of Australian leader Scott Morrison in saying Australia had "abdicated its responsibilities" by revoking the citizenship of a woman born in New Zealand who had been with ISIS in Syria. This confirms the information released in 2016 by the Director of the Secret Intelligence Service, that the women travelling to Syria had lived in Australia for many years and had left from there.

As a normal part of the justice process, as would be the case for any other crime, the woman in this case should go through a rehabilitation and deradicalisation process to ensure that she is able to be a good parent to her children.

New Zealand announced to withdraw its troops and conclude its military mission in Afghanistan by May 2021.

Turkey announced on Monday that it captured Suhayra Aden, who until previous year was a dual national of both Australia and New Zealand, after she attempted to cross into the country.

Ms Ardern's Facebook post has been shared thousands of times while hundreds have commented across her social media pages.

"We believe Australia has abdicated its responsibilities in relation to this person and I have personally made that point to Prime Minister Morrison", Ardern said in an unusually blunt statement.

"We have a situation where someone is now detained with two small children", Ms Ardern said. That would be the right thing to do.

Ms Aden reportedly had a third child who died of pneumonia, after marrying twice in Syria to Swedish nationals who also both died.

Ms Ardern said she raised the issue with Mr Morrison a year ago, but that New Zealand's concerns had been brushed aside. "And I think Australians would agree with that".

New Zealand is unable to simply follow Australia's lead and cancel the woman's citizenship and that of her children; that would make the woman stateless, something barred by worldwide law.

"My job is Australia's interests".

He added that legislation passed in parliament automatically cancels the citizenship of a dual citizen accused of being engaged in terrorist activities. The two prime ministers are scheduled to speak later today.

"We do not want to see terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations enjoying privileges of citizenship, which I think they forfeit the second they engage as an enemy of our country", Morrison said in a press conference.

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