Ukrainian refugees in Denmark revives debate on Syrians and new immigration policy

Amid talk of war and Russian expansionism, the debate about the next refugee crisis opens. In Denmark, while Ukrainians are welcomed with open arms, Syrians are sent home.

Alena Harciníková and Camila Soumastre

A debate with panelists from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Refugee Protection Watch, Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity and Refugees Welcome was held in Copenhagen’s historic Vartov building on Thursday 10 March. The focus: the lack of protection for Syrian refugees under Danish migration policy and the precedent for Ukrainian refugees. 

More than 400 Syrians are at risk of returning to their country when their protected status is revoked as a result of the amended Aliens Act in 2021. “People are afraid of spending years in detention centres (…) We have to continue to document and make the link to the situation in Ukraine and what has been happening in Syria to keep the pressure on the Danish government,” says Lisa Blinkenberg of Amnesty International DK.

Michala Clante Bendixen of Refugees Welcome

Michala Clante Bendixen of Refugees Welcome adds that the Danish protection system is too weak and that a broader definition of the law is needed. “The situation of the Ukrainians really illustrates how crazy the policy against Syrians has been,” adds Clante. During the evening, a dinner was held to continue the debate on Syrian refugees and the new Danish migration policy.