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Danish newspaper written by refugees

Friday’s edition of Danish newspaper Information was written by a team of a dozen refugees, whom the paper said have become “extras in a political debate”.

Danish newspaper written by refugees
Friday's edition of Information was put together by a team of refugees. Photo: Information
The Friday edition of left-leaning Information newspaper looks just like any other day’s but its editorial process was quite different. Instead of putting the paper together with the work of staff journalists, Information handed the controls over to a team of 12 refugees. 
 
Information’s editor-in-chief Christian Jensen said that the newspaper wanted to give a voice to those we hear from “only rarely and sporadically”.
 
“They are numbers in a statistic and they are extras in a political debate that must often feel foreign to them. We all talk about refugees, but today it is the refugees who talk to us in a special edition of Information,” he wrote. 
 
In the run-up to the release of Friday’s special edition, Information’s regular journalists and editors took to social media to criticize Integration Minister Inger Støjberg for her failure to respond to interview requests from the refugee team. Jensen doubled down on that criticism in Friday’s newspaper. 
 
“For politicians, refugees are just a problem that should be solved as quickly as possible and the majority prefer to do it without having to look them in the eyes. This includes Integration Minister Inger Støjberg, who despite ten days’ notice was unable to find the time to be interviewed by the editorial staff,” he wrote. 
 
Information’s special edition was written by refugees from Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Kenya, Thailand and Iraqi Kurdistan. Some are new arrivals to Denmark while others have been in the country for years. 
 
The special edition is available electronically here.  
 
Information was created by the Danish resistance movement during World War 2. It is one of Denmark's smallest daily papers with a circulation of just under 20,000. 
 
 
 

IMMIGRATION

Denmark suspends asylum centre talks with Rwanda

Denmark now aims to work with other EU countries to transfer asylum seekers to centres outside Europe and has suspended talks with Rwanda as it no longer plans to go it alone, its migration minister said on Wednesday.

Denmark suspends asylum centre talks with Rwanda

The Scandinavian country’s plans, first announced by the previous Social Democratic government, called for people seeking asylum in Denmark to be transferred to reception centres outside the European Union while their requests were processed.

A law adopted in June 2021 did not specify which country would host the centre, but said asylum seekers should stay there even after they were granted refugee status.

Discussions were launched with Rwanda and other countries, but they have now been suspended since the installation of a new Danish left-right government in December headed by the Social Democrats.

“We are not holding any negotiations at the moment about the establishment of a Danish reception centre in Rwanda”, Migration and Integration Minister Kaare Dybvad told daily Altinget.

“This is a new government. We still have the same ambition, but we have a different process”, he added. “The new government’s programme calls for the establishment of a reception centre outside Europe “in cooperation with the EU or a number of other countries”.

The change is an about-face for the Social Democrats, which had until now rejected any European collaboration, judging it slow and thorny.

“While the wider approach also makes sense to us, [Denmark’s change of heart] is precisely because there has been movement on the issue among many European countries”, Dybvad said. “There are many now pushing for a stricter asylum policy in Europe”, he said.

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Inger Støjberg, leader of the Denmark Democrats said on Facebook that she was “honestly disgusted” by the government’s decision to delay plans for a reception centre in Rwanda, pointing out that Kaare Dybvad had said during the election campaign that a deal would be done with Rwanda within a year. 

“Call us old-fashioned, but we say the same thing both before and after an election. We stand firm on a strict immigration policy. The Social Democrats, Liberals and Moderates clearly do not,” she said. 

Lars Boje Mathiesen from the New Right Party accused the government of perpetrating a “deadly fraud” on the Danish people. 

“It is said in Christiansborg that it is paused. But we all know what that means,” he wrote on Facebook, accusing Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen of “empty words” in the run-up to the election. 

In the face of this reaction, Dybvad told the Ritzau newswire that although talks with Rwanda were not happening at present, the government had not given up on a deal with the African nation. He also said that he was confident that asylum reception centres outside of the EU would be a reality within five years.

EU interior ministers are meeting in Stockholm this week to discuss asylum reform. Those talks are expected to focus on how to speed up the process of returning undocumented migrants to their country of origin in cases where their asylum bid fails.

Denmark’s immigration policy has been influenced by the far-right for more than 20 years. Even Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, the head of the Social Democrats, has pursued a “zero refugee” policy since coming to power in 2019.

Copenhagen has over the years implemented a slew of initiatives to discourage migrants and made Danish citizenship harder to obtain. In 2020, it became the only country in Europe to withdraw residency permits from Syrians from Damascus, judging that the situation there was now safe enough for them to return.

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