Home / Nine Years Seeking Asylum – Portrait of an asylum seeker who has been living within the asylum system for 9 years

Nine Years Seeking Asylum – Portrait of an asylum seeker who has been living within the asylum system for 9 years

Ronald Wasswa came from Uganda to seek asylum in Denmark when he was 22 years old; he is now 31.  He came as a young man full of hope. He had completed his Advanced Levels, also known as High School. Now he goes to a Danish School for young asylum seekers at the Red Cross Centre in Frederiksberg.

Reasons for Seeking Asylum
He left Uganda in 2002 because he was being mistreated and subjected to hard labour by his father and stepmother. In an interview with New Times, Ronald narrates that he came to Denmark to look for his mother, who came here when she got divorced. She lives in Copenhagen with three of her children, Ronald’s two younger sisters and brother. It was especially hard for him to come here, because it meant leaving his twin brother behind.

Encounter with the Danish Authorities
Ronald has been applying for family reunification because he has been supported by his mother, who  is now a Danish citizen, all the time. He says: “It is now coming up to nine years and I have been denied a stay in Denmark yet most of my family live here; I have my mother here.” 

It has been so many years now and he wants to use his talents and education. But what happens is that his door is being knocked on daily and he is called to do cleaning work at the centre where he lives; a situation that reminds him of the poor times he faced while still in Uganda. It makes him depressed.

However, he likes the way the police handle his case. He says that most of the time, when he gets into conflict with the police because of his mental state, they treat him really well.

He hopes to get his “positive” (Residence Permit) this year and to get his own apartment, whereby he will be able to live freely.Though he has got negative twice already, he believes that with the help of his lawyer he might make it next time round.

He looks so traumatised. he looks tired and cries when asked about his life, to the extent that he does not want anyone to talk to him. He is in a very fragile mental state. Ronald would like to apply for a resident permit on humanitarian grounds. Since he became ill because of staying too long in an asylum centre, Stinne Poulsen from the Danish Refugee Council says: “[You can] still apply for a humanitarian residence permit. However, [you] can not expect the application to have suspensive effect on the date of departure. Thus [you] can apply, but it is not sure that [you] will be allowed to stay in Denmark while the application is being processed.”

Family reunification

If you have close relatives in Denmark, you can apply for a residence permit on the grounds of family reunification.

Provided that certain requirements are met, family reunification can be granted to:

  • Spouses, registered partners and cohabiting partners.
  • Children under the age of 18.
  • Other family members. DenmarK will only allow family reunification between parents and children over the age of 18 in extraordinary cases.




Residence permit on humanitarian grounds

A residence permit on humanitarian grounds can be granted to a foreign national who is registered as an asylum seeker in Denmark, if significant humanitarian considerations warrant it. The Danish Parliament has decided that humanitarian residence permits should be the exception, not the rule.

In making this assessment, the Ministry places importance on the applicant’s personal situation, including whether he or she suffers from a serious physical or psychological illness, and whether the application concerns a family with young children who come from a nation at war.

If the applicant suffers from a serious illness which can substantiate a humanitarian residence permit, the Ministry will also assess whether the applicant can receive the necessary treatment for this illness in his or her country of origin.

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