Brussels PM: Revoking fighters' citizenship 'Nazi method'

BRUSSELS – The head of the regional government in Brussels compared on Wednesday the Belgian government’s plans to revoke foreign fighters’ citizenship to methods adopted by the Nazis.

Rudi Vervoort, the Francophone Socialist and Prime Minister of the Brussels region, told local Belgian media, "taking away nationality is a weapon used by several extremist regimes. One of the first measures adopted by the Nazis was to take German nationality away from the Jews. The Vichy regime in France did the same."

Representatives of Belgian authorities are gathered in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the issue of how to deal with foreign fighters returning to Belgium from Syria and Iraq.

"Returning Syria-fighters must be punished, but do we really want to go so far as to withdraw their nationality?" Vervoort said. He warned that making people stateless is a violation of international law.

According to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, just under 300 people left Belgium in the two years up to December 2014 to fight in Syria.

According to the London-based think tank, Belgium was one of the most heavily affected countries in Western Europe, supplying 27 fighters per million people of their population.

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