When Ravan Bertawi, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee living in Denmark, reported her shift to a cosmetics company one day in mid-December, she found that her key card was not working. She sensed something was wrong.
Her anxious manager called her to his office and showed her an email he had just received from the Danish Immigration Service: Her refugee status – along with her right to work – had been revoked and she would have to leave the country.
Ms Bertawi and her family are among dozens of Syrian refugees whose residence visas have been revoked by Denmark and told to return to their war-torn country because the Danish government now considers Damascus – where they once lived – for safe. Human rights groups dispute the claim that any part of Syria is safe for returnees.
But since Denmark severed official diplomatic relations with Syria before the start of the civil war a decade ago, it has been unable to deport Syrians. Instead, it puts those who no longer have legal status in deportation camps, a policy that groups say seeks to pressure Syrians to return to Syria voluntarily.
“It is ruining people̵