Denmark’s Hostile System Forces Refugees to Return to Syria

Denmark’s hostile and contentious immigration system is coming into international focus. The country is sending back Syrian refugees to return to Syria, despite understanding the realities of the war there and what is at stake by sending asylum seekers back. 

One refugee in Denmark, 22-year-old Maryan Awad, applied to renew her residency permit as a refugee in Denmark. It was rejected two years ago, and since then, she has tried to appeal the sentencing. 

Awad and her younger sister face imminent deportation, and their situation is not unique in Denmark. 

In 2019, Denmark notified about 1,200 refugees from the Damascus region of Syria that their residency permits would not be renewed, and they would have to go back to Syria. 

Most of the West still recognizes that Syria is not safe for refugees to return, who will face either detention, hostility, torture, or even death. The United Nations and EU firmly stand against sending refugees and asylum seekers back to Syria. 

But Denmark has decided Syria is safe to return to. Experts say that this is wildly untrue and that Denmark is willfully ignoring reality. 

Denmark is only sending women and the elderly back. Men could still be drafted into the army, so Denmark has allowed them to stay. So too can women who have children within the Danish school system. But young women, and women, who are in the school systems themselves, are up for deportation. 

Amnesty International Denmark’s Lisa Blinkenberg said the policy has become notably more hostile in recent years. The Danish Prime Minister in 2019 declared that Denmark wanted “zero asylum seekers.” 

Denmark has seen public support for right-wing parties, which signaled to the government that it was okay for the country to be unwelcoming to refugees or asylum seekers. It makes Denmark’s immigration rules some of the worst in the West. It is being widely condemned by human rights experts, legal experts, and experts in war, especially in Syria.