Tag Archives: Denmark

Symbolic move to scare people away

Because Denmark found it had to need tighter immigration rules Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesman for the populist DPP, used the debate to call for an extension of the border controls that have currently been introduced on a temporary basis.

Copy of “the Independent” cartoon in the article about Human rights groups who also objected to measures delaying family reunifications (2016 January 27)

Do we have to say “After more than ” or “it took only” three hours of debate to have the minority Liberal Party government’s bill adopted by 81 votes to 27, with the support of the opposition Social Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP)? One politician abstained and 70 others were absent.

This shows clearly how the majority of Denmark is feeling about people in need coming to safer places, like Denmark and Germany.

Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, of the opposition left Red-Green Alliance, argued that the measures taken are

a symbolic move to scare people away.

The United Nations warned the measures would “fuel fear and xenophobia” but Danish politicians claimed they were

“about creating equality between migrants and Danes”.

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The tough measures such as confiscating refugees’ valuables to pay for their stay and delaying family reunification to three years, are not worthy for a free democratic state.

Denmark’s prime minister has warned that the 1951 United Nations treaty governing the rights of refugees might need updating. After Sweden imposed identity checks for travellers coming from Denmark, Denmark did the same along its border with Germany. Hungary had already built a razor-wire fence along its border with Croatia. {NYT}

Denmark and all the other European countries can and should take other measures to avoid the influx of refugees to the more wealthy countries of Europe. Last year, a record 21,300 refugees entered Denmark, one of the highest rates per capita in the EU, but Germany has to face more entrants and public opinion is also under pressure in that country.

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote to Denmark’s immigration minister to oppose the property seizures.

“I believe that such a measure could amount to an infringement of the human dignity of the persons concerned,”

he said.

The family reunification delays have also been heavily criticised, with Denmark being accused of violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Jonas Christoffersen, the director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera:

“The right of refugees to be reunited with their family is protected by numerous international conventions ratified by Denmark. We believe the government is overstepping international law by implementing this bill.”

Liberal and left-wing EU parliamentarians criticised the proposed bill and took aim at a new provision in Danish law that would delay family reunification for up to three years for people in need of temporary protection.

“This law … goes completely in the wrong direction,”

Cornelia Ernst, a far-left German politician, said on Monday.

Amnesty International said the country had started a “race to the bottom” as support for refugees continues to wane across Europe.

“To prolong the suffering of vulnerable people who have been ripped apart from their families by conflict or persecution is plain wrong,”

John Dalhuisen, its Europe and Central Asia Director said.

“This is a sad reflection of how far Denmark has strayed from its historic support of international norms enshrined in the Refugee Convention.

“European states must stop this dismal race to the bottom and begin to meet their international obligations, by upholding refugees’ human rights and dignity. Anything less is a betrayal of our common humanity.”

Liberal Party spokesman Jakob Ellemann-Jensen defended their proposition by telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last month:

“All Danish citizens and refugees coming here receive universal health care; you receive education from preschool to university, and you receive elderly care; you receive language training and integration training free of charge, paid for by the government.”

The only demand that we set to measure this is if you have the means to pay for your housing and for your food — regardless of whether you are a Dane or whether you are a refugee — then you should.”

Similar laws exist in Switzerland and Germany, according to officials there. Dozens of cases were reported in Switzerland of migrants’ assets being confiscated to fund their living expenses, although in Germany it was unclear if, or how widely, the policy was enforced.

According to CNN many in socially liberal Denmark say they are appalled by the law, which the U.N. Refugee Agency has called

“an affront to (refugees’) dignity and an arbitrary interference with their right to privacy.”

Wiebke Keson, a 72-year-old Danish refugee center volunteer, said she was “shocked” by the notion of confiscating jewelry.

“Since I’m German, I was immediately thinking about our own history,”

she said, voicing a common criticism that the policy echoes Nazi confiscations of Jewish valuables.

The refugee camp in Thisted (Photo the Telegraph)

A Syrian family was stopped by the police at Padborg Station in Denmark, near the German border, en route to Sweden last year. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

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Please do find to read:

A stain of shame for the European Union

Denmark votes in favour for a Discriminatory Nazi law

Denmark approves controversial refugee bill allowing police to seize asylum seekers’ cash and valuables

Danish MPs approve seizing valuables from refugees

Denmark adopts controversial law to seize asylum seekers’ valuables

Denmark approves law on seizing refugees’ valuables and delaying family reunions

Danish Law Requires Asylum Seekers to Hand Over Valuables

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Denmark votes in favour for a Discriminatory Nazi law

On Tuesday the 26th of January 2016 it was good to see and hear that there was someone from a tiny country who dared to raise his voice against an outrageous and discriminatory Nazi law of which the Danes and some other East European countries would hope keep away other asylum seekers.

In 2008 Denmark had barely immigrants from the ‘other’ category, under which granted asylum requests also fall. In 2009 it rose, to 7.6 immigrants per 10,000 residents. That was the same as in the Netherlands, but the country was more desired and achieved in 2010 more asylum seekers than the Netherlands. The “other” category counted for Denmark in 2010, 9.7 against 7.2 for the Netherlands.

Danish politician Lars Løkke Rasmussen. (This ...

Danish politician Lars Løkke Rasmussen. (This image is a cropped version of File:Dmitry Medvedev in Denmark 28 April 2010-12.jpeg). Attribution: http://www.kremlin.ru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen‘s center-right party Venstre presented his new cabinet in June 2015, it looked forward to a stricter policy to arrive mainly because the influx increased constantly.

On Tuesday, January 26th, it was the in December proposed plan toned down, that was accepted to be taken in a law.

The Danish government wants to make it clear that all rejected asylum seekers are immediately returned, but also wants to bring a dissuasion by taking the belongings of immigrants.

In Europe more and more Nazi ideology seems to get back coming up. By excluding certain groups of people travelling between the communities it creates a dangerous distinction. If one were to ask money to people to be allowed to settle in the country one could still accept it. But to just take the belongings from only one population group, refugees, is just unacceptable.

Following similar moves in Switzerland and southern Germany, Denmark’s parliament voted on Tuesday to allow police to search asylum-seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 Danish kroner (about €1,300) that have no sentimental value to their owner. Who will also determine the handling of emotional value which may be retained and which are pricey to be saved? In any case, it also creates the possibility for the police force to hold back (steal) goods from those who are trying to enter the country and to have the confiscated goods disappearing in their own pocket.

The centre-right Danish government says the procedure is to cover the cost of each asylum-seeker’s treatment by the state, and mimics treatment of Danish citizens on welfare benefits.

The UN has nevertheless called the move concerning and regrettable, while an opposition party termed it “morally horrible”. This new legislation is ethically unsound and unworthy for a Union which want to carry the words democracy and freedom in its emblems. In the European Union all states should join hands to take care that human rights standards are kept high.

May we expect such a ague or getting the creeps by those in power in the European Union that measures will be taken to protect the right of those who are fleeing war and horror?

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Find also: A stain of shame for the European Union

A Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Denemarken zwicht onder druk van anti asielzoekers

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