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Denmark: Nationwide demonstrations planned against deportation of Syrian refugees

Refugees from Syria
Refugees from Syria © Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Large demo to take place in Copenhagen tomorrow At least 39 Syrians in country have received their final assessment and are now in position to be deported ‘Our research shows that Syrians who have been sent back are routinely subjected to interrogation by Syrian security forces’ - Dan Hindsgaul Thousands of people in Denmark are expected to attend demonstrations and protests in 25 cities across Denmark tomorrow (19 May) to oppose the Danish government's withdrawal of residence permits for Syrian refugees. Hundreds of Syrian refugees - including children - have been told by the Danish

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Denmark: Deal to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda is 'new low'

Refugees from Syria
Refugees from Syria © Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Amnesty supporters write to Danish Minister of Immigration and Integration to oppose move Responding to news that the Danish authorities have signed an agreement with the Rwandan government to potentially send people seeking asylum to Rwanda for “processing”, Nils Muižnieks, Europe Director at Amnesty International, said: “These proposals show that Denmark is shifting their responsibility to protect refugees - it is a new low. “The idea that rich countries can pay their way out of their international obligations, stripping people seeking asylum of their right to even have their claims

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Denmark: Protect Syrians at risk of return

Nordic Youth Conference 2016
days left to take action

Against the backdrop of contested country-of-origin reports on the situation in Syria, the Danish Immigration Service and the Danish Refugee Appeals Board consider Damascus - and from February 2021 also the rural Damascus region - “safe” for returns.

By April 2021, at least 39 Syrians who fled the armed conflict in Syria have received a final decision on their case and have been put in a so-called ‘return position’ in Denmark – meaning that they are at risk of being deported if Denmark re-establishes diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime. 30 days after the denial of asylum, revocation or non-renewal of their residence permits, Syrian refugees will be placed in return centers where they are unable to work or study. Denmark does not have any diplomatic ties with the Syrian regime and cannot carry out deportations. According to the Danish Aliens Act, the Danish authorities could use “motivation-inducing” measures – including detention – to “motivate” foreign nationals without regular migration status to “voluntarily” return.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that Syrians without residence permits will face serious restrictions, possibly including detention, to “incentivize” their “voluntary” return to Syria. As people are placed in return centres without access to work or education, the conditions imposed by the Danish government leave them with little alternative and might pressure them to return. Amnesty International believes that stripping individuals of their regular migration status, job and education, imposes on them conditions that pressure them to return to Syria. This is a violation of the international law obligation of non-refoulement, which prohibits states from transferring people, directly or indirectly, to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations.

Danish Immigration authorities are using the current absence of hostilities in Damascus and the Rif-region as a justification to either revoke or refuse to renew residency permits. According to Amnesty International’s documentation, residents from Damascus and the Rif-region would still face a real risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations upon return - regardless of the absence of conduct of hostilities - and are therefore still in need of international protection.

Amnesty International is currently conducting research on violations against Syrian refugees who have returned to Syrian government-controlled areas, including to Damascus. Our research to date shows that civilians returning to their place of origin in government-controlled areas are requested to go through a “security clearance” involving interrogation by Syrian security forces. Amnesty International considers these forces to be responsible for widespread and systematic human rights violations and abuses constituting crimes against humanity, including the use of torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances.

In 2019 the Danish government introduced a so-called “paradigm-shift” in its immigration and refugee policies. The focus changed from supporting integration to emphasizing the hoped-for short duration of protection and using all measures to effect return at the earliest opportunity. Part of the shift was to grant temporary residency permits to refugees in need of protection instead of the permanent status previously granted. In December 2019 the Danish Refugee Appeals Board ruled to deny asylum to three Syrian nationals from Damascus, stating that the individuals were not at risk of persecution due to the “general conditions” in the area.  The Board partly based its decision on a report from the Danish Immigration Services of 21 February 2019, according to which Syrians from Damascus were not at risk from ‘general violence in Damascus’.  Against this backdrop, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration decided in June 2020 to accelerate the review of residency permits of around 900 refugees from Damascus that had been given temporary protection status due to the general violence in Syria.  Since February 2021 this decision has now been extended to also include people from Rif-Damascus.

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Denmark will be breaking international law if Syrian refugees forced to return

Refugees from Syria
Refugees from Syria © Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Decision to revoke residency permits of Syrian refugees puts them at risk of torture, enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention if forced back ‘It beggars belief that the Danish authorities could deem certain parts of Syria – a country where people are routinely detained, disappeared and tortured – safe for return’ - Nils Muižnieks Amnesty International has today launched a global ‘Urgent Action’ calling for the protection of Syrians in Denmark who are at risk of return. Earlier this year, Denmark stripped at least 380 Syrian refugees of their residency permits or did not renew it at the

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Denmark: 'Historic day' as law passes to recognise that sex without consent is rape

© Jonas Persson

Denmark is only the 12th country in Europe to recognise sex without consent as rape Responding to the passing of a bill in Denmark’s Parliament today that, once law, will recognise that sex without consent is rape, Anna Błuś, Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Researcher, said: “This is a great day for women in Denmark as it consigns outdated and dangerous rape laws to the dustbin of history and helps to end pervasive stigma and endemic impunity for this crime. “Since culture is downstream from law, this is a vital first step towards change. The next task is to start creating a culture

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Denmark: pledge to introduce consent-based rape legislation welcomed

Campaigners at a rally in Denmark last year © Jonas Persson

Government makes commitment after long-running campaign from activists ‘Shockingly, Denmark will be only the tenth country in Europe to recognise that sex without consent is rape in law’ - Anna Błuś Following the publication of a “Government agreement” committing itself to introducing consent-based rape legislation, Anna Błuś, Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Researcher, said: “This commitment by the new Government to amend Danish law to recognise the simple truth that sex without consent is rape in law, is a welcome, if long-overdue, step forward. “It is a testament to all the survivors

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New Amnesty report reveals Nordic nations are failing rape victims

Despite being among the top-ranking countries in the world in terms of gender equality, four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) have disturbingly high levels of rape and survivors of sexual violence are being failed by their justice systems, Amnesty International said in a report published today. The report, Time for change: Justice for rape survivors in the Nordic countries, reveals that flawed legislation and widespread harmful myths and gender stereotypes have resulted in endemic impunity for rapists across the region. Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary

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Denmark: Women failed by 'dangerous' victim blaming culture and impunity for rapists - new report

Consent march in Denmark
Consent march in Denmark © Jonas Persson

Denmark has some of the highest levels of rape in Europe Rape survivors face traumatising experiences One woman forced into a police cell after reporting rape “Despite Denmark’s image as a land of gender equality, the reality for women is starkly different” – Kumi Naidoo Out-dated laws and an ‘insidious culture of victim blaming’ has left Denmark with some of the highest levels of rape in Europe, Amnesty International said in a report published today (5 March). The 63-page report – ‘Give us respect and justice’ – reveals how women and girls in Denmark are being failed by flawed legislation and

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Denmark's suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia welcomed

Crater left by a Saudi coalition missile which injured six members of the same family in Sana'a in Yemen earlier this year © Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

‘A small country like Denmark can make a difference’ - Trine Christensen Responding to a decision today by the Danish government to suspend all exports of weapons and military equipment - including surveillance equipment - to Saudi Arabia, Trine Christensen, Amnesty International Denmark’s Director, said: “We welcome this decision. The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia has deteriorated rapidly over the past years, with a concerted effort to crush dissent and curb freedom of expression. “Despite the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the world has continued to sell weapons fuelling the conflict

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Denmark: Discriminatory face veil ban comes into effect

As a new law banning the wearing of face coverings in public comes into force in Denmark, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director, said: “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. “Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women's rights to freedom of

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