Middle East

Denmark strips 94 Syria refugees of residency in one week – Middle East Monitor

Denmark has stripped 94 Syrian refugees of their residency status in one week as it presses ahead with a controversial, dangerous policy of maintaining that Syria is safe to return to.

Denmark is the first European nation to strip Syrian refugees of their citizenship with Danish Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye saying in February that their residence permits can be withdrawn if protection is no longer needed.

This means that a total of 189 Syrians have now had applications for their temporary residency status denied since last summer and roughly 500 are having their applications re-evaluated.

In 2019 Danish immigration services said Damascus and its surrounding areas are safe, however Secretary-General of the Danish Refugee Council Charlotte Slente has said that the Refugee Council disagrees with the decision to deem any part of Syria as safe just because there is no fighting there:

Neither the UN nor other countries deem Damascus as safe

Bashar Al-Assad’s feared intelligence service still regularly detain, torture and forcibly disappear citizens whilst water and electricity are scarce in regime-held areas.

Ordinary citizens struggle to survive with food prices soaring by 230 per cent.

READ: Chemical weapons watchdog: Syrian air force may have dropped chlorine bomb on town in rebel area in 2018

Roughly 30 Syrians have lost their appeals against the decision to reject their application renewal in what critics says is a toughening policy on immigration for fear of losing votes to the right wing.

Denmark does not have diplomatic relations with Syria and cannot deport people there so some have been placed in a detention centre likened to a prison.

The government has offered Syrians £22,000 ($30,327) per person to voluntarily return but in 2020 only 137 accepted.

Secondary school and university students, truck drivers and NGO volunteers are among those who have been asked to leave.

At the beginning of April Danish-American activist Alysia Alexandra shared a thread on Twitter featuring Syrians whose residencies have been revoked and must return to Syria or go into a deportation camp, featuring Dania, who is supposed to graduate from secondary school in June, and her brother Hussam who is set to finish next year.

Asmaa and Omar’s residencies have been revoked whilst their two sons may stay in Denmark.

Twenty-five-year-old Faeza Satouf is a nursing student yet has been told she must leave Denmark.

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