Safe for Syrians: Investigating the forced return of Syrians

The impact of Danish government policy to return Syrian refugees

Hosted by Sarah A. Tobin, Research Professor at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), with funding from the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies, the “Safe for Syrians? Investigating the Forced Return of Syrians” workshop was held in Bergen from 31 March to 1 April 2022.

With the Danish government beginning the process of revoking residency permits for at least 250 Syrians and forcing their return to Syria, this workshop explored the impact of this policy for the other Scandinavian countries and for Syrians in Scandinavia, as well as within the Middle East, including the impact of the threat of forced return, whether immediate or not.

The Danish actions have humanitarian and political importance that merit research and public discussion, not only for Syrians in  the region and in other, large hosting countries, but also with other populations that have had or may have similar experiences, for example Afghans and Somalis.

In this two-day workshop, invited academics, practitioners and activists came together from across Europe and the Middle East to discuss the current situation for Syrian refugees both within Scandinavia and the Middle East, as well as the drivers for the political will to forcibly return Syrian refugees and possible measures to counteract this.

This workshop was convened in association with the “States of Protractedness: Utilizing Norwegian Expertise for Solutions to Protracted Displacement Situations” FORSTERK project number 309192, funded by the Norwegian Research Council.