When Denmark became the first European country to revoke the residence permits of more than 200 Syrian refugees last month, it faced condemnation from the EU, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and human rights groups.
The authorities in Copenhagen argue that parts of Syria are safe enough for refugees to return.
Despite a previously liberal reputation, Denmark has strictly modified many immigration policies in recent years.
Further, the state had recently signed an immigration agreement with Rwanda, leading to speculation that it has planned to open a place where it can handle asylum applications.
Denmark states a law allowing asylum seekers to be sent outside the EU
The Danish parliament has stated a law allowing authorities to transfer asylum seekers to other countries outside the EU while their cases are reviewed.
The government, led by the Democrats, is seeking partner countries to manage camps and fund agencies to handle the asylum applications.
But the European Commission stated that she had concerns about the law, while non-governmental parties described it as an irresponsible decision.
This follows the arrival of more than 21,000 asylum seekers in Denmark in 2015.
The deputies in the Parliament voted in favor of the law by 70 votes to 24.
“If you apply for asylum in Denmark, then you know you’ll be back to a country outside Europe, so we hope that people stop seek asylum in Denmark.” Said government spokesman Rasmussen
The European Commission criticized the law.
“The external processing of asylum applications raises questions about access to asylum procedures”
UNHCR spokesman Adalbert Jansz
The Danish Refugee Council, a prominent NGO, said in a statement that members of the Parliament actually voted for a law they do know nothing about it as the model they supported doesn’t exist yet.
“The idea of processing asylum seekers’ applications outside the country is irresponsible and lacks solidarity, the statement said.
We- the Danish refugee council- have called repeatedly to the members of the Danish parliament to reject this law.”
The council added that there was now a risk that countries hosting larger numbers of refugees would follow Denmark’s lead.
As Denmark recently signed an immigration agreement with Rwanda, speculation intends to open a facility there.
After Denmark. Will Switzerland deport refugees to Damascus?
Most countries have a cautious attitude towards Syria. In Switzerland, too, nothing portends to change current practice. The state secretariat for Migration and the Federal Administrative Court continues to consider the implementation of deportation to Syria unreasonable, due to the general security and human rights situation as well as the ongoing armed conflicts in various parts of the country. Which also applies to the capital Damascus.
“For a return to Syria to make sense in general, the humanitarian and security situation on the ground must improve and stabilize over the long term,” the state secretariat for Migration wrote.
After Bashar Al-Assad’s re-election to a fourth term, it seems likely that these elections, already rejected by three of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, will not change the repressive nature of the Assad regime.
Elections against the Danish parliament in Copenhagen
Around 1,000 people demonstrated in front of the Danish parliament in Copenhagen against a government decision aimed at revising the residency of Syrian refugees in what authorities describe as a safe situation in Damascus.
Danish civil society organizations, including the people’s Cooperation Organization, the Danish Refugee Council Youth Organization, the teacup organization, and Syrian refugees residing in Denmark, participated in the Danish parliament building demonstration.
Justifications for withdrawal of residency!
Some protesters felt it was inconceivable that Denmark was the only European country that wanted to deport Syrian refugees.
The number of refugees whose residency has been reviewed is 189. Since last summer, Copenhagen had decided to review 500 asylum cases of Syrians previously living in or around Damascus.
Residency in Denmark is temporary
According to Danish immigration law, temporary stays are given without a valid date. Which can sometimes pose a risk to asylum seekers, especially those coming from conflict-ridden countries. 35,500 Syrian refugees live in Denmark, more than half of whom arrived in 2015, according to official government statistics.