Discrimination against dual nationals in the name of national security: a Finnish case study

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Dual nationality is increasingly accepted by states, and many scholars see it as a resource that enhances individuals’ social mobility and access to human rights. However, dual nationality can also result in negative consequences for individuals with nationality ties to more than one state. This is particularly so in sensitive contexts, such as those involving national security, including military defence, where possibly conflicting bonds of loyalty remain potentially problematic. The treatment of dual nationals in the context of the Finnish Defence Forces shows that dual nationality is an under-explored axis of potential discrimination that can be a proxy for other kinds of differential treatment and entrench the marginalisation of minorities. In pursuing national security, states’ legal frameworks, in order to be reasonable and proportionate under human rights commitments, ought to assess actual individual risks. They must also seek to minimise distinctions between groups of citizens and carefully justify any departures from equal treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1630-1650
Number of pages21
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • discrimination
  • Dual nationality
  • Finland
  • national security
  • Russia

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