What is Denmark’s policy on the children of Isis fighters?

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
What is Denmark’s policy on the children of Isis fighters?
Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye (L) in parliament last month. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye has presented a draft bill on how Denmark should manage the children of its citizens who have fought for militant organizations.


The draft bill has faced harsh criticism from several quarters as it goes through the parliamentary hearing stages, newspaper Dagbladet Information reported.

Particularly sharp criticism of the draft bill has come from the Danish Institute for Human Rights, which believes that the draft law would introduce provisions which would be “contrary to Denmark's international obligations”.

According to the draft law, children of Danish parents who are born in areas where a terrorist organization is fighting in an armed conflict should no longer automatically become Danish citizens.


That is based on the rationale that the children have not grown up in a situation whereby "a relationship is formed with Denmark and Danish values."

"In our opinion, this is contrary to a long-standing political and legal tradition and obligation to allow the child's citizenship to follow that of the parents," Jonas Christoffersen, executive director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights told Ritzau.

Christoffersen said he believes the measure suggested by Tesfaye would be a violation of the human rights of affected children, and has called for the government not to formally propose the bill to parliament.

The NGO director also argued that scheme would run counter to the principle of the family's right to civil unity and to the principle that a child should not lose his or her citizenship because of the actions of the parents.

The Danish Red Cross, Amnesty International and Save are among other NGOs to criticize the draft bill.

Save the Children argues that the draft law will result in discrimination between children outside Danish territory in general and children born in the specified conflict areas.

Additionally, the law would be in breach of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to Save the Children.

According to the Convention, children must be protected from "all forms of discrimination or punishment" based on the occupation, activities, views or beliefs of its parents.


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