Denmark has become the first European nation to tell Syrian migrants they must return to their home country, saying it is now safe for them there.
The Scandinavian nation has stripped 94 Syrian refugees of their residency permits after it determined Damascus and the surrounding area as being safe.
Migrants will be sent to deportation camps, but will not be forced to leave. But rights groups say the government is trying to give migrants no other option than to return to Syria on their own accord.
Mattias Tesfaye, Denmark’s immigration minister, said last month that the country had been ‘open and honest from the start’ with refugees coming from Syria.
‘We have made it clear to the Syrian refugees that their residence permit is temporary. It can be withdrawn if protection is no longer needed,’ he said, according to The Daily Telegraph.
His comments came as Denmark extended the parts on Syria considered safe for people to return, to include the southern Rif Dimashq Governorate.
‘We must give people protection for as long as it is needed. But when conditions in the home country improve, a former refugee should return home and re-establish a life there,’ he said.
Denmark’s ruling centre-Left Social Democratic Party has taken a fierce anti-immigration stance in an effort to fend off challenges from parties on the Right.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has promised to target ‘zero’ asylum seekers applying for residence in the country.
Read more: Daily Mail