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Denmark to face legal action over trying to return Syrian refugees

Denmark to face legal action over trying to return Syrian refugees

Denmark will be facing legal actions at the European court of human rights for trying to return over a thousand Syrian refugees to Damascus after claiming the city to be safe. The lawyers representing the refugees said that the action will "set a dangerous precedent" for nations.

Guernica 37, a London-based chamber is challenging the policy to Denmark under the Geneva Convention principle of "non-refoulement". Their strategy note said that the situation in Denmark is deeply concerning. The risk of political violence in Syria remains as great as ever and the refugees returning from Europe are being targeted by regime security forces.

Denmark has about 1,200 Syrian refugees who fled from their homeland due to unsafe and violent circumstances. The Denmark government refused to renew their temporary residence status last summer citing a report which said that the security situation in some parts of Syria has "improved significantly." No other nation or the UN has found Syria to be safe, reported The Guardian.

The human rights firm added that if the Danish government tries to forcibly return Syrian refugees, several other European nations are likely to follow. Denmark's reputation for tolerance and openness has been affected by the rise of the far-right Danish People's party. Denmark does not have diplomatic relations with Syria's Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Syrian refugees whose residency renewals are denied may end up in detention centres. People cannot work or study in immigration centres. The new policy will affect women and older people the most because the Danish government recognises that Syrian men are likely to be forcibly drafted into the military. Many women are in fear of being separated from their families.

Carl Buckley, the barrister leading Guernica 37's efforts, told The Guardian that the ECHR is a slow-moving system but an application asking the court to consider interim measures would make Denmark authorities stop revoking residencies until a ruling. A consortium of 150 Danish law firms is also working for the Syrian refugees.

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TAGS:Syrian Refugees Denmark Geneva Convention 
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