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Ali Dirie from Somalia, when he speaks to New Times. Photo: Hala.

Somali refugees risk losing their residence permits

Because of a new decision from the Immigration Service, some Somali refugees in Denmark now risk losing their residence permits. It has been decided to reopen Somali refugee’s cases, and possibly take away their residence permits.

By: Hala

Ali Dirie from Somalia-39 years old. He has lived in Dianalund Asylum Center for around one year. He came from small town in the south of Somalia called Bu-aale, which is controlled by the al-Shabaab terror group. He left his wife and 6 children and came to ask asylum in Denmark,: ”Denmark is a country, where people believe in democracy, freedom, and human rights, and I am very interested in the Danes”, Ali says, when he explains why he chose Denmark.

He didn’t know anything about the reopening of cases, and he was shocked, when he heard about it. He commented on the subject saying: “Somalia is a big country. Some places maybe became safe, but not all, which is the case with my town, because it is still under “al-Shabaab” control. Therefore I can’t go back to Somalia”, Ali says.

Ali Dirie finished his second interview in the asylum process, and he is waiting to get the Immigration service’s answer.


The expert
For more information about the Somali issue, New Times made contact with the head of the orginasation Refugees Welcome, Michala Bendixen, and asked her some questions. This is what she answered:

What can the Somali people do about the new decision to reopen cases?
If Somali people receive a letter from the Immigration Service, they have three weeks to reply. What they need to do is collect documentation of the following:

  • An individual asylum motive for one’s children (i.e. Risk of FMG (Female Genital Mutilation) for daughters), which has not been presented or acknowledged in one’s asylum case, and/or
  • The attachment to Denmark – this could be children, other family members, Danish language exam, jobs, education, voluntary work, and maybe weak connection to Somalia (if one left Somalia a long time before he or she came to Denmark or, if one has no relatives there anymore), and/or
  • Health problems that are serious and require treatment and/or medicine (needs to be documented by the doctor).

If it’s not possible to get the documentation within three weeks, send the reply anyway and mention that more documentation will follow later. In any case, he or she should also consider applying for resettlement support money in time, in case he or she will end up losing the residence permit. The time limits are very important. It is a lot of money, and for some it will be an opportunity to build a new life in one of the more safe parts of Somalia.

Can they apply for asylum in another country?
Usually not, because of the Dublin regulation. But there might be an option for family reunification in another country, if one has a spouse or a child in another country – this will follow the rules of that country and they vary.

What are the things required that makes a country “safe”?
They don’t say it is safe in Somalia, but they say that being in Mogadishu is not a violation of human rights in itself anymore. In 2012, all asylum seekers from Mogadishu got asylum, which is very rare and only happens for a limited period of time – like all Syrians get asylum today. A small change for the better might be enough to reject some of them. But the changes in Somalia are strongly disputed, some reports are actually showing a weaker security situation than last year.


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