Denmark - the Refugee Appeals Board’s decision of 1 March 2018

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
01-03-2018
Court Name:
The Refugee Appeals Board
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Denmark - The Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1)
Denmark - The Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (3)
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Headnote: 

The complainant, an Ethnic Arab and Sunni Muslim from Damascus, Syria, was granted temporary protection under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (3).

On 1 March 2017, the complainant lodged a complaint claiming refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

The Board accepted that the complainant, who did not want to be redrafted into the Syrian Army, if he returned to Syria, would be at risk of being recalled to military service and therefore at specific and individual risk of persecution covered by the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1). Consequently, the complainant was granted refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

Facts: 

The complainant, born in 1972, is an Ethnic Arab and Sunni Muslim from Damascus, Syria. He entered Denmark in October 2015 and in April 2016 he was granted temporary protection under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (3).

On 1 March 2017, the complainant lodged a complaint claiming refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1). In support of the compliant he informed that he fears being recalled to military service. In July 2015 the complainant’s residence was called upon by five men from the Syrian Regime. The men asked for the complainant and were informed that he was at work. That same day the Syrian Regime sought the complainant at his place of work. After the complainant had left Syria his family had been called upon twice.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Refugee Appeals Board upheld (the decision) that the complainant met the conditions for being granted temporary protection under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (3).

The Board cited from several country of origin information reports, namely from the Finnish Immigration Service: “Syria: Military Service, National Defense Forces, Armed Groups Supporting Syrian Regime and Armed Opposition”, “Landinfo’s temanotat Syria”: “Reaksjoner mot desertører og personer som unndrar seg militærtjeneste” from 3 January 2018 and a report from the Danish Ministry of Integration from August 2017: “Syria: Recruitment Practices in Government-controlled Areas and in areas under Opposition Control, Involvement of Public Servants and Civilians in the Armed Conflict and issues Related to Exiting Syria”. According to these sources military service in the Syrian Army implies a nearby risk of being forced to participate in serious human rights violations. Several sources noted that the Syrian Government had pushed the age limit of conscription to include men over the age of 42 years.

UNHCR has asserted that reports of conscription of men over the age of 42 have generally involved qualified personnel with specific expertise and that it was unclear whether the age limit has been raised as part of a government policy or instead is happening on a case by case basis. According to UNHCR, as lower-level commanders have been given more authority due to increasing decentralisation, it may be on a more local level that commanders have deviated from existing regulations regarding age limits.

The complainant was 43 years old when he left Syria and 44 years old when the Danish Immigration Service decided on his case. The complainant has earlier completed his military service where he obtained certain military skills.

Against this background the Board accepted that the complainant, who did not want to be recalled for service in the Syrian Army, if returned to Syria would be at risk of being recalled for military service.

Based on country of origin information the Board accepted that military service in the Syrian Army implies a nearby risk of being forced to participate in serious human rights violations. The Board therefore found that based on the conditions for military service in Syria the complainant was at a specific and individual risk of persecution covered by the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1). Consequently, the complainant was granted refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

Outcome: 

The applicant was granted refugee status under the Danish Aliens Act Art. 7 (1).

Other sources cited: 

The Finnish Immigration Service: “Syria: Military Service, National Defense Forces, Armed Groups Supporting Syrian Regime and Armed Opposition”, 23 August 2016.

Landinfo’s temanotat “Syria: Reaksjoner mot desertører og personer som unndrar seg militærtjeneste”, 3 January 2018.

The Danish Ministry of Integration: “Syria: Recruitment Practices in Government-controlled Areas and in areas under Opposition Control, Involvement of Public Servants and Civilians in the Armed Conflict and issues Related to Exiting Syria”, August 2017.