…As Tiger siblings rescued in Germany relocated to South Africa***
Danish lawmakers on Thursday approved a fast-track legislation that would strip Danish citizenship from individuals with dual citizenship, who have fought with the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and Iraq.
The bill was announced last week amid reports that hundreds of family members linked to Islamic State militants escaped from a camp in northern Syria, where fighting between Kurdish militias and Turkish-backed rebels had escalated.
“These people have turned their backs on Denmark and used violence to combat our democracy and freedom.
“They are not wanted in Denmark,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said last week.
The new legislation allows the minister for immigration and integration to revoke Danish citizenship from an individual who has fought with Islamic State even if he or she is not in Denmark.
The process did not require a court hearing, but individuals affected by the decision would have a four-week period to appeal.
Mattias Tesfaye, the Minister for Immigration and Integration, said on Wednesday after the first reading of the bill that it would be presented to parliament again before the summer of 2021 “to allow adjustments,” news agency Ritzau reported.
Frederiksen’s ruling Social Democrats received support from the main opposition centre-right Liberals and the populist Danish People’s Party as well as smaller centre-right parties.
The Social Liberals, the leftist Unity List and the Alternative voted against the bill, while the Socialist People’s Party abstained.
In another development, the Four Paws animal welfare organisation, said on Thursday that two tigers rescued in Germany have been moved to a sanctuary in South Africa.
The tigers are expected to spend the rest of their lives at the sanctuary because they cannot be released into the wild.
“Sadly, the story of Bela and Sharuk is one of many examples of how the trade in tigers is out of control.’’
“The breeding and trading of tigers is allowed throughout the European Union and in many other countries,’’ it said in a statement.
The tigers were born in 2014 in the garden of a private keeper in Germany, who was forced to give up the animals because minimum prescribed keeping standards were not met, Four Paws said.
Another tiger sibling, Imara, did not survive.
Bela and Sharuk spent more than four years at a sanctuary in Germany before being transferred to the Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa, even though tigers are not indigenous to Africa.
“A tiger in South Africa may sound strange, but when you know the story of the individual, sometimes it makes perfect sense,’’ said Fiona Miles, the director of Four Paws in South Africa.
“Bela and Sharuk were born in a garden in Germany, a place where tigers clearly do not belong either,’’ she added.
“At Lionsrock, we provide them with a home that gives them the peace, safety and comfort in an environment that helps them feel more at ease.’’
Four Paws has started a petition calling on the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to ban the commercial trade in tigers.
More than 210,000 people had signed it by Thursday.