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900 Syrian refugees may be on their way out of Denmark

Syrians in Denmark protesting against the Danish Government's policies, 2018. Syrians in Denmark protesting against the Danish Government's policies, 2018. Courtesy of Ahmad Abdulrahman

09 July 2020

The Danish government considers the Assad-controlled Damascus region safe and is making plans to deport refugees from that region back to Syria

In Denmark, several Syrian families now live in fear of being deported back to Syria. Following reports of the Danish government's plan to review the residency permits of 900 Syrian refugees from the Damascus area, stating that conditions in the Assad-controlled region no longer require them to have temporary protected status. 

In a recent announcement, Immigration and Integration Minister of Denmark, Mattias Tesfaye said: “Last year, almost 100,000 refugees returned to Syria from the surrounding areas. Of course, their countrymen who have been granted protection in Europe must also go home when conditions in Syria permit.”

He also stated that “In recent weeks, the Independent Refugee Board has ruled that five people from Damascus Province are not entitled to temporary protection because conditions in the area have improved. Therefore, I have now decided that we must quickly review the pile of cases with refugees from Damascus to investigate who no longer needs protection in Denmark.”

Following this announcement, the Danish government has come under heavy criticism from human rights organizations giving evidence of the Assad regime’s harassment, murder, detention, and torture of Syrians who have returned home. 

In a statement, the Secretary-General of the Danish Refugee Council, Charlotte Slente said, " The Danish Refugee Council maintains the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees position that the conditions inside Syria are not conducive for the safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees to Syria and we strongly warn against sending back Syrian refugees. The UNHCR encourages states to uphold the protection of Syrian refugees and DRC strongly encourages the Danish authorities to follow UNHCR’s recommendations”. 

The UNHCR’s recommendation is that on average refugees need 17 years of protection. Hence, the Danish Government is falling below the UNHCR standards and recommendations on refugee and asylum seekers protection.


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Author: Abbiba Ivy Princewill

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