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

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.

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

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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Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links

Six men suspected of being members of the so-called Islamic State (Isis) group or funding it were arrested in an anti-terror raid in Denmark on Tuesday, police said.

Six arrested in Denmark raid for suspected Isis links
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The suspects, whose identities were not disclosed, are aged between 27 and 35, police in East Jutland said.

Two of the suspects were arrested in the Danish capital Copenhagen and the four others in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-biggest city.

“Two of the people arrested, a man aged 29 from the region of Aarhus and a 30-year-old man living in Copenhagen, are suspected of penal code violations… for having travelled to Syria in 2014, where they were recruited by the terrorist organisation Islamic State,” police said in a statement.

The 29-year-old is also suspected of having tried to return to Syria in early 2015 to rejoin Isis.

Under his instruction, the four other suspects are accused of having acted as “intermediaries” and having sent money to the organisation.

According to Danish intelligence service PET, at least 160 people have travelled from Denmark to fight in Syria or Iraq. About a third of them have been killed in action, 32 are still there and around half of them have either returned to Denmark or another country.

Jihadism is considered the biggest threat to Denmark’s national security, according to PET.