The Danish authorities are being criticized for revoking the residence permits of dozens of Syrian refugees after declaring parts of Syria as a “safe place to send refugees back.”
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed concern about Copenhagen’s decision despite the suspension of deportations, in light of the absence of communication between the Danish government and the Syrian regime.
UNHCR issued a communique Thursday, calling for maintaining the protection of migrants, saying the recent security improvements in parts of Syria are not sufficient, stable, or permanent to justify ending international protection for any group of refugees.
The organization demanded that Syrian refugees are not forcibly returned to any place in their country, regardless of who controls the area in question.
Since June 2020, Copenhagen has embarked on a large-scale process to review each of the cases of 461 Syrians from Damascus, saying the current situation in the city no longer justifies granting or extending their residence permit.
Last week, Aya Abu Daher, 19, appealed to the authorities to keep her in Denmark, especially that she’s a few months away from graduating from high school.
Activists reported on social media the case of Aya and many other refugees who are threatened to return to Syria.
Abu Daher's school principal urged the government to reverse its decision and allow her to continue her studies in Denmark, saying she is an exemplary student.
Last March, Denmark revoked the permits of 94 Syrians, out of 273 cases that were studied individually, according to the latest report of the Danish Immigration Services. Some of them have been placed in immigration detention.
Denmark aims for “zero asylum seekers” to see an end to asylum requests in the country. The policy encourages the voluntary return of Syrians and has only issued temporary residence permits since 2015.
Legally, permits are granted without time limits, in the event of an extremely dangerous situation in the country of origin, characterized by arbitrary violence and attacks on civilians.