Støjberg has now admitted that her claim that young asylum couples were forcibly separated by Denmark’s previous government – made at a hearing prior to parliament’s summer recess – was incorrect.
The admission was made in an answer to a request for information made by the parliament, report newspapers Politiken and Information.
During the second of two hearings earlier this year, Støjberg admitted that young asylum pairs were forcibly separated without their cases being individually assessed – breaching Denmark’s domestic and international human rights obligations and a result of an illegal directive issued by Støjberg in February 2016.
Støjberg said at both hearings that the directive was actually a press statement that was erroneously implemented as a directive.
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While Støjberg conceded at the June 23rd hearing that her ministry had administered illegally on the basis of the directive, she also claimed that asylum seekers under the age of 18 had been separated from partners without individual case assessment under former justice minister Mette Frederiksen, now leader of the opposition Social Democrat party.
With parliament now back in session, a third hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, with opposition parties still not satisfied with the minister’s explanation of the unlawful directive.
That claim relating to Frederiksen's administration — a key element of Støjberg's defence at the prior hearing — was based on a “misunderstanding” within the Ministry of Immigration and thereby incorrect, the minister has now confirmed.
“As such, I received incorrect information from the Ministry of Immigration and Integration prior to the hearing on July 23rd 2017,” the minister wrote in the parliamentary response, adding that she was not made aware of the inaccuracy of the claim until after the hearing.
Social Democrat MP Mattias Tesfaye, who has led the party’s questioning of Støjberg during the hearings, told Information that he did not find Støjberg’s explanation sufficient.
“We asked again and again during the hearing in June and in the end she said that the illegalities had gone on for a long time, referring to Mette Frederiksen. I perceived it as something she was making up due to the situation, and the response we now have confirms that,” Tesfaye said.
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen of the Red-Green Alliance, who also led questioning of Støjberg at the June hearings, criticised the minister for not providing clarity over the incorrect information earlier.
“Why has the minister not put up an information on the [ministry] website to say she received incorrect information? Why is it not coming out until a day and a half before the [third] hearing, and only because we have asked about it?” Schmidt-Nielsen said to Information, adding that she considered the management of the incorrect claim as “yet another example of [Støjberg’s] unbecoming undemocratic style.”
Both Politiken and Information write that they were unable to contact the minister for comment over the issue.