Migration and mobility

The new report entitled “Our Lives are Like Death: Syrian Refugee Returns from Lebanon and Jordan” released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) argues that Syria is not a safe country for refugee returns.

Based on interviews with 65 returnees or their family members, the NGO said that in 60 cases violations were reported: 21 cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, 13 cases of torture, 3 abductions, 5 extrajudicial killings, 17 enforced disappearances, and 1 case of alleged sexual violence.

Researcher in the Refugee and Migrant Rights Division at HRW, Nadia Hardman, explained that “the horrifying accounts of torture, enforced disappearances and abuse endured by refugees who have returned to Syria make it clear that returnees are not safe there.”

While some countries continue to promote the return of Syrian refugees and Denmark has withdrawn the status of persons under “temporary protection” from Syrian refugees from Damascus and its surrounding areas, several organisations are worried about the fate of these refugees once they return. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has stated that it will refrain from facilitating mass returns of refugees in the absence of certain protection conditions, but will facilitate voluntary individual returns.