The Danish government rejected a proposal put forward by a liberal opposition party, calling for communication with the Syrian regime to return the Syrian refugees on the deportation lists.
“We do not support the proposal of the Liberal Party,” said Danish Foreign Minister, Jeppe Kofod, in a written comment.
The foreign affairs rapporteur, Rasmus Stocklund, considered that accepting the proposal would send the wrong message, that Denmark views the regime’s head, Bashar al-Assad, as “the victor,” according to the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in late February.
Former Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, also rejected his party’s proposal, saying, “my position has not changed. We should not cooperate with the Assad regime.”
At the present time, Denmark cannot send rejected asylum seekers to Syria by force, due to the European Convention on Human Rights. Denmark has signed the convention, stating that it would not send rejected asylum seekers if they would be at risk of torture or political persecution in their countries of origin.
The foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition party, Mads Vogled, had called on the government to agree with the regime to return the rejected refugees, including guarantees that the returnees would not be persecuted.
Vogled called for pressure on his country’s government to enter into dialogue with the regime at the level of the European Union, despite his acknowledgment that the regime is a “criminal dictatorship,” as he described it.
He wrote on his Facebook account, last Monday: “I would like to emphasize that the Liberal Party does not believe that Denmark should recognize the Assad regime (…) it is a criminal dictatorship, but we should discuss what we do with all the Syrian asylum seekers in Europe as Syria becomes safer around Damascus and how they can safely return to their country.”
The Danish Refugee Council had decided earlier to stop granting renewal of temporary residency for refugees pending deportation to their country. The government began to actually withdraw residency permits from some refugees, but the Refugee Complaints Board did not approve the deportation of Syrians for several reasons, including the risks to their lives.
The number of Syrian refugees in Denmark is estimated at 44,000, of whom 35,000 entered the country after 2011.
Some refugees obtained political asylum, temporary residency, and temporary protection residency status.
However, in 2020, the European country recorded a significant decrease in the number of asylum applications, by 57%, due to “its strict immigration policies,” according to the Ministry of Immigration.
According to the ministry, 1,547 people applied for asylum in Denmark in 2020, while 2015 saw the submission of 21,316 applications.
Denmark announced in July of last year that some asylum seekers from Syria could be returned to the governorate of Damascus, after an assessment made by the Immigration Department. The assessment decided that the region was no longer dangerous enough to grant its residents asylum, which led to the cancellation of some asylum claims.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.