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Syrians returning home have been detained, disappeared and tortured, Amnesty says

Syrians taking shelter in a camp in Idlib, Syria on June 30, 2021 [Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency]
Syrians taking shelter in a camp in Idlib, Syria on June 30, 2021 [Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency]

Amnesty International has released a report to say that 66 Syrian refugees who returned home have been detained, forcibly disappeared, and tortured by Syrian security forces.

The report, "You're going to your death", said that of the violations, 13 were against children, and all occurred between mid 2017 and spring 2021.

According to AP, of the 66 people, five died in custody and the whereabouts of 17 people who were forcibly disappeared is still unknown.

The report comes as Denmark, Sweden, and Turkey are putting pressure on Syrian refugees to return home.

In March the Danish government declared that the Syrian capital Damascus and other areas under Assad's control are safe and, on that basis, it can revoke the residency permits of Syrian refugees and they can return home.

Under this decision, asylum seekers can be deported from Denmark, however, because it doesn't have an extradition treaty with the country Syrians are to be held in deportation centres for an unspecified period of time.

READ: Assad regime launches intense attack on Syria's besieged Daraa city

Rights groups and experts have warned against sending Syrians home as in government-controlled areas forced conscription, arbitrary arrest, indiscriminate detention, and enforced disappearances take place, violations which are compounded by a lack of basic services, including water and electricity.

In its 2020 world report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that events the previous year underscored that atrocities in the country were the rule rather than the exception.

The International Justice Chambers, Guernica 37, is working with Syrian families in Denmark affected by the decision. It has said: "The situation in Denmark is deeply concerning. While the risk of direct conflict-related violence may have diminished in some parts of Syria, the risk of political violence remains as great as ever, and refugees returning from Europe are being targeted by regime security forces."

Amnesty refugee and migrant rights researcher Marie Forestier has said: "Any government claiming Syria is now safe is wilfully ignoring the horrific reality on the ground, leaving refugees once again fearing for their lives."

Sweden has also started revoking the residency permits of some Syrian refugees, AP reports.

Categories
Amnesty InternationalDenmarkEurope & RussiaHRWInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSwedenSyriaTurkey
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