UK Home Office backtracks on deporting Syrian refugee

UK Home Office backtracks on deporting Syrian refugee after criticism
2 min read
13 January, 2022
The Home Office says it will not return anyone to Syria, days after telling an asylum-seeker he was not at risk of persecution in the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
The Home Office has adopted a more hostile policy to refugees in recent months, prompting protests [Getty]

The UK Home Office announced on Tuesday it would not return any asylum seeker to Syria, days after hinting that it considered the war-torn country safe for some asylum-seekers.

" Under the current circumstances we are not returning people to Syria," the Home Office wrote on its official  Twitter account. "The UK government agrees with the UN judgement that Syria remains unsafe."

The clarification came after the Home Office came under fire for its decision to reject a 25-year old Syrian's asylum application. The man, who arrived in the UK in May 2020, said he evaded forced conscription into the army and that returning to Syria would put his life in danger. 

But the Home Office found this was not enough to claim asylum, writing in its rejection letter that it was not "satisfied to a reasonable degree of likelihood that you have a well-founded fear of persecution".

The rejection was condemned by Syrian refugees and human rights organizations for promoting the highly dubious narrative that Syria is "safe".

In March 2021, Denmark set a precedent in Europe by revoking the residency of dozens of Syrians, saying they could safely return.

But Syrian security services continue to intimidate, interrogate and forcibly disappear hundreds of Syrians  -including returnees - despite assurances of safety.

The UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel has also pursued an aggressive anti-migrant policy over the past months.

The Nationality and Borders bill she pushed in the House of Commons this summer has been criticized by the UN Refugee Agency, who said it breaches international law. Earlier this month, Patel vowed to penalise countries that refuse to take back asylum seekers from the UK. 

Human rights groups and refugee charities have slammed her legislation for penalising vulnerable migrants and allowing the Home Secretary to strip an individual of their citizenship without notice.