Protest in Denmark against plan to repatriate Syrians

Protest in Denmark against plan to repatriate Syrians
People demonstrate in Copenhagen against the Danish government's decision to withdraw the asylum status of refugees from Syria. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix
Around 1,000 people protested Wednesday outside the Danish parliament against the government's decision to revoke residence permits for Syrian refugees citing a "safe" situation around Damascus.

Denmark has one of Europe’s most restrictive migration policies.

“I’m here to show my support for the Syrian refugees. I think it’s irrational that we are the only country in the European Union to send back Syrian refugees to the Damascus area,” Anne, a 24-year-old student who would not disclose her last name, told AFP.

Tulip Bashour, who received a letter on March 30th informing her that her residency permit had been withdrawn, was pleased by the turnout at the demonstration.

“It actually means a lot to me that many people are standing with us and they are against this law. They are with the Syrian people and they don’t want them to be sent home because it’s not safe there,” the 21-year-old student said.

She has appealed the decision to send her back.

Denmark decided last summer to re-examine the cases of about 500 Syrians from the capital Damascus, which is under the control of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. 

It said “the current situation in Damascus is no longer such as to justify a residence permit or the extension of a residence permit”. 

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Since then, more than 189 Syrians in Denmark have had their permits revoked.

Those who had only been granted temporary residency have been placed in a detention centre pending their deportation.

Under Danish immigration law, temporary residence permits are issued without an end date in cases of a “particularly serious situation in the country of origin characterised by arbitrary violence and attacks against civilians.”

But they can be revoked once conditions are deemed to have improved.

Some 35,500 Syrians currently live in Denmark, more than half of whom arrived in 2015, according to Statistics Denmark.


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