Denmark has stripped 94 Syrian refugees of their residency permits after deciding Damascus and its surrounding regions are safe for people to return to.
"We have made it clear to the Syrian refugees that their residence permit is temporary. It can be withdrawn if protection is no longer needed," Immigration minister Mattias Tesfaye said as his ministry extended the parts of Syria considered safe to include the southern Rif Dimashq Governorate.
The decision on the Rif Dimashq area of Syria will mean a further 350 Syrian residents in Denmark will have their temporary protection permits reassessed, on top of the roughly 900 from around Damascus who had their cases reopened last year.
“That the Danish government is seeking to force people back into the hands of this brutal regime is an appalling affront to refugee law and people’s right to be safe from persecution,” Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrant rights director at Amnesty International UK, told the Daily Mail.
“This reckless violation of Denmark’s duty to provide asylum also risks increasing incentives for other countries to abandon their own obligations to Syrian refugees.
Not only will this put the lives of even more women, men, and children at risk. It will add to reasons that cause people to travel ever further afield in search of safety and security for themselves and their family," he added.
According to the UN, Denmark receives more than 19,000 Syrians and sets tough conditions for granting permanent residence, including residing in the country for eight years and having an uninterrupted job in the last three years, in addition to volunteering for a minimum of one year.