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World Association of International Studies

Post Denmark to Return Some Syrian Refugees
Created by John Eipper on 04/27/21 4:21 AM

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Denmark to Return Some Syrian Refugees (Edward Jajko, USA, 04/27/21 4:21 am)

From the article: "Denmark's approach marks s dramatic transformation of a nation that was the.first to sign the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and which was long seen as a paragon of openness and tolerance":


JE comments:  This is a significant about-face for a nation popularly viewed as one of the world's most welcoming for the Tired/Wretched and the Oppressed.  The Danish government now claims that Damascus and certain other regions in Syria are "safe."  Few are convinced.  One of the more shocking revelations in the Monitor article is the prevalence of women among the deportees.  Male refugees are protected, because they are subjected to conscription if sent home.

Denmark's move inspires a bigger question:  is immigration no longer a left-right issue?  I hope Paul Levine in Copenhagen will comment.

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  • Denmark to Return Some Syrian Refugees: I Am Deeply Troubled (Leo Goldberger, USA 04/29/21 3:42 AM)
    About my beloved Denmark's recent steps to return some of their Syrian refugees to a likely continuing and dangerous "home"--all I can say: I am deeply troubled!

    Right now there are about 380 such refugees who are being targeted. Were they to refuse leaving, they would be interned in a refugee camp, quite a distance from Copenhagen--where most now have lived and worked, as they were successfully becoming quite assimilated into Danish culture and language.

    As Danish culture is very much like a large, fairly homogeneous society (much like an extended family) where in my time, back in the 1930s to the 1950s, it took some 15 years to become a citizen, assimilation is quite a significant element in becoming a Dane. And naturally, because of the religious difference, it is more than likely that it might take a bit longer than it was for us Jews, who were often quite ready to integrate and assimilate-- though even that took many years for some, going back to the 15th century.

    Forcing these refugees, many of them children and youngsters, even indirectly, would put them at serious risk of torture and abuses!

    Of course I'd like very much to hear from my WAISer colleague Paul Levine, who lives in Denmark, about his sense of what is going on. My own information comes from my many Danish friends in Copenhagen.

    From what I've learned, I believe that it is largely a political power struggle, with the current prime minister, Mette Fredriksen, having--unfortunately--sided with the extreme right wing "People's Party" on the more traditional liberal anti-refugees policies in order to strengthen her Democratic Party. But I also believe, she would much prefer and concur with a world-wide protest---specifically coming from such sources as Amnesty International.

    Needless to say, I'd encourage everyone on WAIS to contact AI with their response.

    JE comments:  The number of potential deportees is small, but the political symbolism is not.  Leo, what can you tell us about Denmark's "People's Party"?  Are they cut from the same cloth as other anti-immigration ultraright movements in Europe, such as France's National Rally (previously National Front) and the German AfD?  And how could the PP gather enough influence to sway Fredriksen's policies?

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  • Is Escaping Conscription a Legitimate Reason for Refugee Status? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 04/29/21 4:41 AM)
    Referring to Denmark's granting of refugee status to Syrian men escaping conscription, why is this a reason to ask for political asylum? Would it be the same in the US now?

    If your country is at war it is your duty to fight, no reason to ask for political asylum abroad. My older friends in 1943 during Italy's civil war never thought to escape to Switzerland but joined the fight, even if not on the same side.

    JE comments:  Eugenio Battaglia has made this point before, and it's worth further contemplation.  Two questions:  Is it one's duty to fight in a war you don't believe in, or what's worse, on the side you despise?  And second, let's look at the international perspective.  How is the world "served" by perpetuating Syria's civil war?  Meaning, isn't there a wider benefit in keeping as many people as possible from fighting at all?

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