In the event of a win for Denmark’s left-wing parties in the next general election, an inquiry would be initiated in an illegal directive to separate asylum seekers under the age of 18 from their partners.
A third parliamentary hearing on Wednesday concluded with the position of the three parties in the coalition government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party unchanged — that they would block any attempts by the current parliament to initiate an inquiry.
During three separate hearings, the last of which took place on Wednesday, Støjberg admitted that young asylum pairs were forcibly separated without their cases being individually assessed – breaching Denmark's domestic and international human rights obligations.
The separations were 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.
Until recently, other parties in parliament’s ‘red bloc’ – the Social Liberal, Red-Green Alliance, Alternative and Socialist People’s parties – have been without the Social Democrats, the largest opposition party, in calling for an inquiry, reports newspaper Politiken.
But Frederiksen’s party has concluded after the third hearing that it also feels an inquiry is justified.
“An independent investigation is needed, first and foremost because have not received answers to the questions we have asked, and because the minister keeps changing her explanations. To be honest, I have lost confidence that the minister is speaking the truth over this issue,” said the party’s spokesperson on the issue Mattias Tesfaye to Politiken.
“It will not do to give elected representatives the impression that they can force authorities to administer illegally, speak incomprehensibly and change stories in parliament without consequence, just because the minister is popular,” he added.
The Red-Green Alliance’s Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen also criticised Støjberg.
“This is very serious. The minister has lied to parliament. That kind of thing should obviously be investigated thoroughly. We cannot go any further now, as the blue bloc has put up its defences around her,” Schmidt-Nielsen told Politiken.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Støjberg declined to take responsibility for the application of the directive, the illegal nature of which was confirmed in May this year.
“It is the responsibility of authorities [to ensure illegal administration is not pursued] she said during the hearing according to Politiken.
Støjberg said that she was not made aware of the illegal nature of the directive until several months after it was issued in February 2016.
Civil servants’ union Djøf told the newspaper that statement was “disappointing”.
“It’s disappointing to see a minister that publicly reprimands her civil service. That does nothing for confidence in either the service or the minister,” Djøf Offentlig chairperson Sara Vergo told Politiken.