• Denmark's news in English
 
app_header_v3

UN wants Denmark to drop refugee restrictions

The Local · 17 Nov 2014, 11:02

Published: 17 Nov 2014 11:02 GMT+01:00

The Danish government announced in September that refugees fleeing civil wars like the one in Syria will be eligible for a new, one-year temporary residence permit. In October, that was followed up by the announcement that only those refugee who have had their permits extended beyond that first year can bring their family members to Denmark.
 
Immediately following the government’s proposals, the UNHCR warned that Denmark’s new restrictions risk violating international laws.
 
 
In an official statement submitted to parliament, the agency has gone a step further and called on the family reunification restrictions to be dropped altogether while also suggesting that Denmark reconsider other elements of its proposed asylum changes. 
 
The criticism led the Danish government to include a section in its final proposal on the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The final proposal now includes language that says that immigration authorities should give extra consideration to “the best interests” of children as inscribed in Article 3 of the convention. 
 
Other than the new language about the UN Convention in the law proposal’s comments, however, the content itself has not changed. This led Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen of the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) to accuse the Justice Ministry of merely trying to shield itself from a potential legal case for violating the UN Convention. 
 
“The fact is that the government is terrified of being convicted of violating children’s rights and that just goes to show how far out we are here,” Schmidt-Nielsen told Politiken. 
 
“The comments don’t change the basic content of the law: that the government will deny children the right to be together with their parents by making a refugee wait a year before seeking family reunification. It’s fine that they write that there can be exceptions, but that doesn’t help all of those children who are waiting around in a war zone,” she added. 
 
Marlene Borst Hansen, a spokeswoman for government coalition party the Social Liberals (Radikale), said that the UNHCR’s criticism has “made an impression”. 
 
“It always makes an impression when the UNHCR expresses criticism and it has done so here as well. This hasn’t been the world’s easiest proposal for the Social Liberals to put forward, I don’t think that is any secret. But we did it because the municipalities have been unable to keep up [with the influx of refugees, ed.],” she told Ritzau. 
 
Story continues below…
In addition to the UNHCR, several domestic aid organizations – including the Danish Refugee Council, Save the Children Denmark and the Danish Red Cross – also submitted statements critical of the proposal. 
 
While the proposal was largely aimed at controlling the number of Syrian refugees who seek asylum in Denmark, numbers from Immigration Services (Udlændingestyrelsen) showed a dramatic fall from September to October. While 3,130 people sought asylum in Denmark in September, the number was down to 1,818 in October – a 42 percent decrease.  
 
Parliament is first expected to take up the proposed law changes on Thursday. 

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Denmark offers help to earthquake-hit Italy
A firefighter works in the night at a collapsed house following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy. Photo: STEFANO RELLANDINI/Scanpix

The Danish government is willing to assist Italy in the rescue and reconstruction process as the country attempts to recover from Wednesday's deadly earthquake.

21-year-old man arrested for Copenhagen car fires
At least 22 cars and three mopeds were burnt. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Scanpix

Amager resident arrested after more than 20 cars were torched over the weekend.

Denmark aims for ‘first smoke-free generation'
Photo: Kyrre Lien/Scanpix

The Danish government on Wednesday released the details of what it called a “historic" plan to combat cancer.

Denmark takes small step towards medicinal cannabis
A cannabis plant. Photo: Coleen Whitfield/Flickr

A trial programme gets the okay in southern Denmark.

Danish police chase clues in motorway ‘stone murder’ case
Police technicians look for clues on the overpass. Photo: Kim Rune/Scanpix

Local residents and businesses have offered to put up rewards for information.

Danish MPs to visit Australia's Nauru migrant camp
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen said she'd use the trip as a fact-finding mission on Australia's "grotesque" system. Photo: MARIE HALD/Scanpix

One lawmaker vows to "ask some of the questions that the Australian government is preventing journalists from asking."

Danish MP: EU a bigger threat than Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Crimean officials last week in a hand-out photo from the Kremlin. Photo: Sputnik/Kremlin/Alexei Nikolsk/Scanpix

Danish People’s Party MP Marie Krarup is under fire for saying that the EU is “without a doubt” a bigger threat to Denmark than Russia.

Denmark to get year’s ‘last summer weather’
Time for one last trip to the beach? Photo: Thomas Rousing/Flickr

Temperatures could reach as high as 30C by week’s end in what is likely summer’s final hurrah.

Copenhagen vehicle fires continue for third night
The Copenhagen car fires have drawn comparisons to a similar spate of incidents in Malmö, pictured here. Photo: Johan Nilsson/Scanpix

For the third night in a row, Copenhagen Police reported that vehicles in the city had been torched by unknown arsonists.

Two straight nights of car fires in Copenhagen
The Copenhagen incidents come after a spate of more than 70 car fires in Malmö, as pictured here. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT/Scanpix

Has Sweden's spate of car fires now spread to Denmark?

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Per capita, Denmark is Europe’s Olympic champ
Sport
Denmark is Europe’s Olympic (per capita) champion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Female jogger left 'near death' in Copenhagen attack
National
Female jogger left 'near death' in Copenhagen attack
EU breathes down Denmark’s neck over bad air quality
National
EU breathes down Denmark’s neck over bad air quality
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark
Business & Money
Foreigners fill more than half of all new jobs in Denmark
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Society
Why you should learn Danish (and how it will benefit you)
Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves
Sport
Robbed in Rio: Danish Olympic team hit by thieves
Danish jets have bombed Syria for the first time
Danish jets have bombed Syria for the first time
Danish Muslim graveyard offers to bury French terrorist
National
Danish Muslim graveyard offers to bury French terrorist
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Technology
Danish Pokémon Go player finds dead body
Danish MP: Ban Muslim immigration to Denmark
National
Danish MP: Ban Muslim immigration to Denmark
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries
Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Culture
Our complete coverage from the 2016 Roskilde Festival
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
National
Danish police use infamous 'jewellery law' for first time
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Danes with foreign spouses to be hit by new restriction
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
International
After Brexit, Danish PM resists calls for similar EU referendum
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
Why Denmark won't try to follow the UK out of the EU
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
National
Copenhagen police tear down Christiania cannabis market
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
International
Danish PM: Orlando shooting act of 'hatred'
Society
Sex campaigns lead to Danish baby boom
National
Don't worry Denmark, the world still loves you
Culture
Danish diversity ad a massive social media hit – have you seen it?
2,218
jobs available