Syrian asylum seekers will not be granted automatic residency due to the on-going instability in the country, despite an appeal from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).
Sweden and Norway, on the other hand, have decided that Syrians will be automatically granted asylum simply because of the widespread conflict in their home country.
Both countries based their decisions on a precedent-setting European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision last year that said two Somali men could not be deported, despite having committed crimes, due to the risks they faced in the troubled country.
In a letter to the DRC, however, Flygtningenævnet, which serves as appeals board for asylum applicants, said it did not find that the situation in Syria necessitates granting Syrians residency based solely on the general situation in the country.
Eva Singer from the DRC found the verdict disappointing.
“They do not argue for why it is not the case,” Singer wrote in a press release.
While Syrians are not granted automatic asylum in Denmark, those whose applications have been rejected will be permitted to remain in Denmark after the Flygtningenævnet stopped forced repatriation to Syria due to the conflict.
And in a letter to the DRC, Flygtningenævnet wrote that it has not “ruled out the possibility that the general security situation [could be] so severe and extreme in nature that a person fulfils the conditions [for asylum] simply because of it”.
Despite this assurance, the decision by Flygtningenævnet still means that Syrians applying for asylum will be judged individually rather than as a group, as is now the case in Sweden and Norway.
Speaking to Information newspaper, Singer questioned how Denmark could interpret the findings of the ECHR so differently than Norway and Sweden.
“It is often said that it is hard to compare asylum policies in different countries because of the differences in individual cases,” Singer said. “But here we are talking about an assessment of conditions in Syria generally in relation to the verdict that the [ECHR] made in relation to article three [of the European Convention on Human Rights].”
In Sweden, the verdict by the ECHR has led immigration authorities to determine that the situation in Syria means that the conditions for ‘alternative need for protection’ have been fulfilled.
Syrians that are granted asylum under the ‘alternative need for protection’ are given temporary residence in Sweden for three years.
According to the Syrian opposition 17,434 people have been killed in Syria since March 2011, while 65,000 are missing and another 212,000 demonstrators have been imprisoned.