International Round-Up: Syria continues to supply the most asylum-seekers - The Post

International Round-Up: Syria continues to supply the most asylum-seekers

In related news, southern and eastern European countries continue to spend the most on processing new arrivals, warn academics

Syria continues to account for the largest proportion of asylum-seekers in Denmark (photo: Ggia)
July 9th, 2019 2:25 pm| by Ben Hamilton

Syria, after four straight years as the biggest generator of asylum-seekers in Denmark, lost its crown to Eritrea last year, but this year it is back on course to generate the highest number.

Brief Eritrean surge
Syria is leading the way again, according to figures supplied by, ahead of Eritrea, Morocco, Georgia and Somalia. In 2018, the top five were Eritrea (656), Syria (598) Georgia (396), Iran (196) and Morocco (181).

With one exception (2016), Eritrea has been in the top five every year since 2014. Nevertheless, with just over 5,000 Eritreans seeking asylum, the African country is a long way behind the 18,000-plus Syrians who have applied.

Falling approval rate
Between 2015 and 2018, the total number of applications fell from 21,300 to 3,523, but despite the lower numbers the approval rate has dropped over the same time period from 85 to 56 percent, meaning there were just 1,652 successful applications last year.

The number of unaccompanied minors is also steadily falling from 10 percent of the total in 2015 to 7 percent in 2018 and only 5 percent this year.

Danish academic calls for European wall to keep out migrants
Uffe Østergaard, a Danish university academic specialising in identity history who works for both Aarhus University and Copenhagen Business School, has suggested in a Politiken opinion piece that Europe should build a wall around its perimeter consisting of “wire fences in four lanes, floodlights and watchtowers” to control immigration. Integration, he argues, has been a failure, and it’s time the more prosperous western European nations – many of which don’t have exterior EU borders – stepped up to co-finance a wall to take the pressure off union states in the east and south of the continent. “After World War II, there was a strong belief that the Nordic welfare state model was so robust and attractive that it could integrate all ‘strangers’,” he wrote. “Protecting borders is necessary – otherwise the population will rebel against the government.” Østergaard favours assimilation, contending that new arrivals in Denmark need to adopt Lutheran values to properly fit in.

Glimmer of hope for Dane accused of killing his wife and child in Nigeria
A forensics expert giving evidence in the trial of Peter Nielsen, a 53-year-old Danish man accused of killing his Nigerian wife Zainab Ali-Nielsen and daughter Petra in Abuja in April 2018, has been exposed as a fraud, reports Nigerian newspaper The Guardian. Dr Richard Somiari was introduced to the court as a respected forensic physician who studied crime scene processing at Florida International University, but now it transpires his forensics expertise is the result of a 16-hour course he sat online. Somiari’s evidence has played a key role in building up the case against Nielsen. He has compiled five reports and had access to all the sensitive material. In light of the revelations, the case has been adjourned until September 28, by which time Nielsen will have been in custody for over 17 months.

Mandela to continue serving South Africa in Copenhagen until start of 2019
Zindzi Mandela will continue as South African ambassador to Denmark until the end of the year. The daughter of legendary leader Nelson Mandela had been due to return to her homeland at the end of June, but an official government statement explained that the recent elections had sidetracked the impending diplomatic switches. An extension of all ambassadorial postings due to end in June will accordingly give President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government more time to weigh up its options. Mandela recently courted controversy with a series of tweets questioning why white people continued to own the majority of the land in the country, with a number suggesting it was in conflict with the reconciliatory tone of her father’s.