Somalia Ambassador: We have no repatriation agreement with Denmark

The Danish government wants to repatriate Somalis who are illegally in Denmark, however, the Somali government says no agreement between the two nations on forced repatriation.

Somalia’s EU ambassador to Brussels, Ali Said Faqi, speaking on behalf of Somalia’s government said that no such deal is in place. The ambassador is in “close” and regular contact with the Somalia government, including those responsible for immigration and national security.

“I have been in contact with the Director of Migration, and he confirms and says there is absolutely no agreement between Denmark and Somalia about involuntary returns of refugees,” says Ambassador Ali Said Faqi.

The Danish immigration authorities are currently deporting nearly 800 Somali residents and, according to the most recent public information available, there are plans to repatriate 74 people in the immediate future.

2 of the 74 have had their final appeal rejected and have been ordered by the court to leave Denmark on Saturday, what happens to them if they do no leave Denmark remains uncertain.

Peter Vedel Kessing, a senior researcher at the Department of Human Rights said that it will be difficult for Denmark to send Somalis back without a formal agreement in place between the two countries.

Migration researcher Martin Lemberg-Pedersen from Aalborg University also estimates that Somalia’s message is a “bomb under the Danish government’s deportation policy” regarding Somalis.

“Without an agreement in place, it will be difficult to repatriate them. Countries like Somalia and Iran will not accept their own nationals unless they travel home voluntarily. So if the agreement is not there it would be futile sending them back,” says Peter Vedel Kessing.

Martin Lemberg-Pedersen a researcher at Aalborg University said that the Somali position nullifies the Danish government’s deportation policy’ for Somalis.

The Danish National Police and the government have for months redacted all information regarding the possibility of forcibly returning refugees to Somalia.

The Danish daily paper Politiken wrote in April that the Danish Government believes that they have an ‘informal’ agreement with Somalia. On March 8, Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Støjberg wrote to Parliament that an informal agreement was reached with Somali counterparts in 2014 and that after a period of ‘changing announcements’, they two were again able to reach a consensus that Somalis can be forcibly deported from Denmark.

However, it is an agreement that the Somali Ambassador to the EU knows nothing about, and even if it existed, it cannot be used to repatriate Somalis, he says.

“Our country does not support informal agreements. They are not legally binding. ”

Somalia has had a new government in place since February of this year and the ambassador cannot answer whether they may have been informal discussions between the former Somali government and Denmark, however, he reiterates that no such discussion took place with the new administration.

Martin Lemberg-Pedersen believes that Somalia’s negation of an alleged existing agreement raises serious questions about who Denmark has signed this agreement with and in what capacity were they working in. Did that person have the authority to sign the agreement with Denmark?

Politiken has asked the Immigration and Integration Minister whether or not it is true that an ‘informal agreement’ was reached between Denmark and Somalia and that if the representative from Somalia had proper authorization for such a deal.

In response, Inger Støjberg said what the ministry has previously stated: “For a long time, Denmark has” worked to establish cooperation with Somalia. ”

“I do not want to comment on the details of this cooperation. However, I do not want to hide that I want to see that foreigners staying illegally in Denmark are sent back to their home countries as soon as possible. This also applies to Somalis without legal residence,” the minister writes.