In May 2021, the Danish Government decided to offer evacuation from the camps in Northeast Syria to 19 children and three mothers with Danish citizenship. The background for the evacuation mission is the deteriorated humanitarian and security situation in the camps. Further, it has been assessed that the three mothers would eventually return to Denmark with their children and as Danish citizens the mothers could not be denied entry to Denmark.
The three mothers with Danish citizenship and their 14 children have now been evacuated from the Roj camp and are in Denmark.
The evacuation has been conducted after constructive cooperation between the Kurdish-dominated local administration and Danish authorities. A Danish delegation comprising staff from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Danish Ministry of Defence and Danish police as well as a psychologist, a nurse and a doctor assisted with the evacuation from Syria to Denmark.
The women and children arrived at Karup Airport on 7 October 2021. The evacuation has been conducted with assistance from the United States and in close cooperation with Germany, which on the same flight evacuated 23 children and 8 mothers from the camps.
Upon arrival in Denmark, the three mothers were arrested by the Danish Police and charged with violation of paragraphs 114 e and 114 j of the Danish Criminal Code on the promotion of terrorist activities and maintaining a physical presence in an area of conflict.
The children are in a difficult situation due to the choices made by their parents. Each child will be given the help and support needed to meet their individual needs. As in other specific cases and for the sake of the children, no information will be disclosed regarding the condition of the children. No ongoing status reports regarding their development will be provided either.
The reception in Denmark has been planned extensively by a coordinating social services function under the auspices of the National Board of Social Services, which among other authorities has included the Danish National Police, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), the Danish Health Authority, the Danish Centre for Prevention of Extremism and the relevant municipalities.
The purpose of the broad cooperation between Danish authorities has been to ensure the right support for the children in need of specialised efforts and treatment after the evacuation. The individual treatment and support will be provided by the relevant municipalities.
In addition to the three mothers and 14 children, the Danish Government is willing to evacuate the five children of three mothers still in the camps. This is subject to consent from the three mothers, who no longer hold Danish citizenships. The three mothers have so far not consented to evacuation of their children.
Erik Brøgger Rasmussen, Chief Operating Officer and head of Consular Services at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark:
“We have conducted a highly complex evacuation operation with practical and logistical challenges. Throughout this process, we have had a constructive dialogue with the Kurdish-dominated local administration about the evacuation as well as a close cooperation with the US and Germany. On behalf of Denmark, we would like to thank all those involved.”
Leading Police Inspector of the Danish National Police Tenna Wilbert – National Emergency Management Department:
“Immediately after the aircraft landed in Denmark, Central and Western Jutland Police arrested the three mothers. The arrests proceeded as intended and in an undramatic manner. The mothers have been transported together with the children to three different reception centres in the respective municipalities. Here, the social services authorities were ready to provide care for the children. The police will now undertake an investigation into the cases against the three women.”
Public Prosecutor at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Henriette Rosenborg Larsen:
“The three women, who have now landed in Denmark, have been arrested. They have been charged with violation of paragraphs 114 e and 114 j of the Danish Criminal Code. They are expected to be brought to a preliminary examination. In that case, the Prosecution Service is expected to request that court proceedings are conducted behind closed doors to avoid jeopardising further investigation into the case.”
Director Ellen Klarskov Lauritzen of the National Board of Social Services says:
“The evacuated children are in a very difficult and vulnerable position. It is important that the children receive help and support tailored to their individual needs, and that the recipient municipalities and regions provide this help and support within the applicable legislative framework. To ensure the best possible effort, the National Board of Social Services is providing advice and guidance to the recipient municipalities, while also serving as the coordinating liaison between the various involved authorities.”
The authorities will host a briefing at Polititorvet at the Danish National Police on Thursday 7 October with the participation of COO and head of Consular Services Erik Brøgger Rasmussen of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Leading Police Inspector Tenna Wilbert of the Danish National Police, Public Prosecutor Henriette Rosenborg Larsen of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Director Ellen Klarskov Lauritzen of the National Board of Social Services.
Questions regarding the social services efforts in Denmark: The National Board of Social Services: Press telephone: 41 93 25 48 (no text messages).
Questions regarding the evacuation operation and the dialogue with the Kurdish-dominated local administration: email@example.com
Questions regarding prosecution in Denmark: Director of Public Prosecutions: Press contact: 72 68 90 08.
Questions regarding citizenship and basis for residence: Ministry of Immigration and Integration press telephone: 61 98 32 90.