Syrian refugees no longer allowed to stay in Denmark

Denmark became the first European country last month to revoke residence status for more than 200 Syrian refugees.

Syrians protesting
Authorities in Denmark say refugees from Syria are no longer allowed in Denmark, arguing that parts of Syria are now safe enough for refugees to return. File photo: Ahmed Akacha from Pexels

PRETORIA, May 19 (ANA) – Activists in Denmark are planning a protest in solidarity with Syrian refugees after Denmark revoked residence status for more than 200 Syrians, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

The British broadcaster said that, in April, Denmark became the first European country to revoke residence status, arguing that Syria’s capital Damascus and neighbouring regions are safe.

Authorities in Copenhagen faced condemnation from European Union lawmakers, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and human rights groups regarding the decision, the the BBC added in its report.

Speaking to the BBC, 19-year-old Sara said Danish authorities notified her family in February that her parents and younger siblings could no longer stay.

“All my life is here. How can I go back to Syria now?” she said.

Sara speaks fluent Danish and is due to sit for her final high school exams next month.

In a separate report, AFP News said 25-year-old Faeza Satouf’s world came to a standstill when she was notified by email that she has to leave her family behind and return to Syria soon.

“There are no laws in Syria that can protect me like here in Denmark. My father is sought after in Syria, so of course I will be arrested upon my return,” she said.

The news agency said that in the past six years, Satouf has learned Danish, graduated from high school with flying colours and is now studying to be a nurse while working in a supermarket.

For now, the decision affects only people from certain areas of Syria who got their initial asylum because they were fleeing civil war. It doesn’t include those who can prove a specific threat to their lives, AFP wrote.

Those who refuse to leave the country cannot be sent to Syria. Instead, they are sent to deportation centres separated from family, unable to work and withdrawn from education programmes.

AFP wrote that single women are likely to be sent to the Kaershovedgaard deportation centre, a remote complex of buildings about 300km west of Copenhagen.

Access is strictly limited, but Red Cross photos show rudimentary infrastructure where cooking is banned and activities are restricted. Even Danish language lessons are not allowed, AFP wrote.

The Council on Foreign Relation (CFR) explained that 10 years after the start of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s four-decade rule, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed and some twelve million people have been displaced.

Syria likely faces years of instability. Hopes for regime change have largely died out and peace talks have been fruitless, added the CFR.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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