The Danish government has placed adverts in several Lebanese newspapers exporting a clear - but unspoken - message to would-be migrants: Don’t come to Denmark.
According to Agence France-Presse, the adverts appeared in at least three Arabic-language newspapers and one English-language publication in Lebanon Monday.
Urging caution to those considering a move to Denmark, the advert notes:
“Denmark has decided to tighten the regulations concerning refugees in a number of areas.”
It states that social benefits to newly-arrived refugees are being cut “by up to 50 per cent” and that foreign nationals will not have the right to “have their family brought to Denmark during the first year [of their residency].”
The government will ensure that “there is a special return centre for rejected asylum seekers to ensure [they] leave Denmark as quickly as possible,” it adds.
Announcing the adverts on Facebook, Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Støjberg of Denmark’s right-wing government, which relies on the backing of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party, according to Agence France-Presse, said:
“Today I have, as promised, published advertisements in four Lebanese newspapers informing about the changed conditions for people who apply for asylum in Denmark.”
The new measures, which went into effect Tuesday, will also be displayed in asylum centres in Denmark in 10 different languages and posted to social media.
“The aim is to inform objectively and soberly about the situation in Denmark, which the government is in the process of firming up,” she wrote.
“We know that patterns of travel to Europe is controlled by traffickers. We also know that Denmark is high on [the] trafficker’s charts.”
In August, the bodies of 71 migrants, thought to be Syrian, were discovered in an abandoned truck at the side of a highway in Austria.
Three Bulgarian men, suspected of driving the vehicle, have been detained in Hungary. Police said the crime is likely to be part of a Bulgarian-Hungarian human trafficking operation, the BBC reports.
Lebanon, which shares a 375km-long border with Syria, hosts 1.1 million Syrians who have fled the bloody civil war that has ravaged the country for four years.
According to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, Syrians are also the largest nationality among those trying to make it to Europe by sea to Greece following a troublesome overland journey through the Balkans and Hungary.
A total of 348,540 Syrians have filed asylum claims in Europe in July 2015, the agency states. More than 4 million Syrian refugees are hosted in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt
Qatar-based news outlet Al-Jazeera reports that another 7.6 million Syrians are displaced internally. Accordingly, analysts have deduced, that means that more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.4 million has been forced from their homes by the fighting.