map
youtube twitter facebook Google Paly App Stores

Victims until today

4048

Foreign Policy: Refugees at Risk as Germany Forces Them to Return to Syria

Published : 10-02-2019

Foreign Policy: Refugees at Risk as Germany Forces Them to Return to Syria

As the Syrian war draws to an end, refugees are being encouraged to return home by the countries to which they have fled. Those who do so, however, are finding the persecution that caused them to flee has not gone away, Foreign Policy magazine said in a report issued last week.

According to the report, a number of those who have returned have disappeared into the country’s notorious prison system, a stark reminder of the dangers the country’s former refugees face.

Foreign Policy has spoken to the relatives of two such Palestinian refugees, and activists confirm there are many more. Several others, meanwhile, have been rounded up and conscripted into the army.

Syria was and continues to be a police state with the same government and the same security apparatus in place, which is accused of thousands of politically motivated detentions. But governments hosting large numbers of refugees, including Lebanon and Germany, are under domestic political pressure to give incentives to refugees to go back home, it added.

One young man, Asser, chose to go back home from Germany after he was unable to surmount the bureaucratic hurdles preventing him from having his fiancée from Syria join him.

Two weeks after arriving back in Damascus, he was called in for questioning at the local intelligence branch. He phoned his family and told them he would be home soon. He has not been heard from since. His parents, who remain anonymous to protect them from regime retaliation, paid a mediator, who found out that Asser had been detained. Such go-betweens are widely used to gather information on the disappeared and imprisoned because officially no such information is made available by the government.

Asser’s cousin, still based in Germany, told FP his story, also on the condition of anonymity. “He tried several times to claim the reunion [with his fiancée], but he couldn’t,” he said. “He missed her and started to feel tired and depressed. That’s the most important reason he left.”

Yasim, another refugee who left Germany under similar circumstances, has also disappeared. His cousin Mohammad, still based in Germany, said Yasim could not obtain the papers required to enable his wife to join him. All their documents had been destroyed in Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus where they had lived.

“He left Germany and was detained near the Lebanese-Syria border. We don’t know anything about him after that,” Mohammad said, adding that without his wife Yasim had found it difficult to adjust to life in Germany, a culture alien to him. “He could not cope with it.”

FP said the lingering backlash to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward refugees in 2015 has forced the government to pursue policies that are ultimately placing refugees from Syria in the same danger from which they had fled. The dynamic raises questions of whether governments have a duty of care toward refugees who return, beyond the letter of the law.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees have simply disappeared into the regime’s prison system, with no record of their fate or whereabouts, since the start of the war, and returning refugees are especially vulnerable to such harsh treatment.

The 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention says clearly that compulsory returns are disallowed if “life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8286

As the Syrian war draws to an end, refugees are being encouraged to return home by the countries to which they have fled. Those who do so, however, are finding the persecution that caused them to flee has not gone away, Foreign Policy magazine said in a report issued last week.

According to the report, a number of those who have returned have disappeared into the country’s notorious prison system, a stark reminder of the dangers the country’s former refugees face.

Foreign Policy has spoken to the relatives of two such Palestinian refugees, and activists confirm there are many more. Several others, meanwhile, have been rounded up and conscripted into the army.

Syria was and continues to be a police state with the same government and the same security apparatus in place, which is accused of thousands of politically motivated detentions. But governments hosting large numbers of refugees, including Lebanon and Germany, are under domestic political pressure to give incentives to refugees to go back home, it added.

One young man, Asser, chose to go back home from Germany after he was unable to surmount the bureaucratic hurdles preventing him from having his fiancée from Syria join him.

Two weeks after arriving back in Damascus, he was called in for questioning at the local intelligence branch. He phoned his family and told them he would be home soon. He has not been heard from since. His parents, who remain anonymous to protect them from regime retaliation, paid a mediator, who found out that Asser had been detained. Such go-betweens are widely used to gather information on the disappeared and imprisoned because officially no such information is made available by the government.

Asser’s cousin, still based in Germany, told FP his story, also on the condition of anonymity. “He tried several times to claim the reunion [with his fiancée], but he couldn’t,” he said. “He missed her and started to feel tired and depressed. That’s the most important reason he left.”

Yasim, another refugee who left Germany under similar circumstances, has also disappeared. His cousin Mohammad, still based in Germany, said Yasim could not obtain the papers required to enable his wife to join him. All their documents had been destroyed in Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus where they had lived.

“He left Germany and was detained near the Lebanese-Syria border. We don’t know anything about him after that,” Mohammad said, adding that without his wife Yasim had found it difficult to adjust to life in Germany, a culture alien to him. “He could not cope with it.”

FP said the lingering backlash to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward refugees in 2015 has forced the government to pursue policies that are ultimately placing refugees from Syria in the same danger from which they had fled. The dynamic raises questions of whether governments have a duty of care toward refugees who return, beyond the letter of the law.

Thousands of Palestinian refugees have simply disappeared into the regime’s prison system, with no record of their fate or whereabouts, since the start of the war, and returning refugees are especially vulnerable to such harsh treatment.

The 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention says clearly that compulsory returns are disallowed if “life or freedom would be threatened on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

Short URL : https://www.actionpal.org.uk/en/post/8286