Danish government to open office in Rwanda as asylum plan progresses

The Danish foreign ministry is to open an office in Rwandan capital Kigali. The government wants to open an offshore processing facility for refugees in the African country.

Danish government to open office in Rwanda as asylum plan progresses
Danish immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Two diplomats are to be sent from Denmark to work in a new office in Kigali, Rwanda by the end of the year, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The objective of the office will be to strengthen relations between the two countries, the ministry said.

“Denmark and Rwanda share a wish to help more refugees better than today and to fight irregular and life-threatening migration, including across the Mediterranean,” immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek said in the statement.

“Our shared goal is to reform the current, flawed asylum system and ensure a dignified and sustainable future for refugees and migrants. I am therefore pleased that we will soon be able to open an office in Rwanda,” he said.

In additional comments to news wire Ritzau, the minister said the new office “means we are going a step further in relation to strengthening our partnership with Rwanda with regard to opening a refugee centre.”

“I’m not saying this solves everything. But it is a step on the way to fulfilling the ambition which ensures we open a refugee centre. In relation to the agreement we have, this gives us new possibilities because we have a permanent location in the country,” he said.

Moving part of Denmark’s refugee system offshore to a non-EU country – confirmed in 2021 as Rwanda – is a long-term objective of Denmark’s Social Democratic government.

The plans entail Denmark sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, where their cases would be processed by Danish authorities, instead of allowing them to live in Denmark.

Negotiations between the two countries over the specifics of such an arrangement are ongoing.


A spokesperson from the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said in April that the agency “does not view the idea of outsourcing asylum, whether to Rwanda or another country, as a responsible or sustainable solution.”

Human rights organisations Amnesty International has previously criticised the Danish plan, saying it takes “responsibility-shifting of refugee protection by EU governments to a new low, and would set a dangerous precedent in Europe and globally”.

The minority government’s usual parliamentary allies, the centre-left Social Liberal party and left-wing Red Green Alliance, have both stated that they oppose the plan to process asylum seekers in Rwanda, news wire Ritzau reported.

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Danish immigration agency fires staff member for misuse of database

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) has fired a member of staff and reported them to police after discovering they looked up data of up to 3,300 individuals without authorisation.

Danish immigration agency fires staff member for misuse of database

SIRI, which processes applications for Danish work and residence permits on behalf of the immigration ministry, released a press statement on Tuesday relating to the matter.

The agency was last autumn contacted by a member of the public who said that a staff member at SIRI had accessed their information without authorisation.

Following this, SIRI identified the employee in question in November 2022.

This resulted in confirmation that the person had searched for information and accessed data which were unconnected to their job role.

The information included personal registration (CPR) numbers, income details, family relations and decisions on immigration cases.

SIRI said in the statement that as many as 3,300 personal files may have been accessed by the staff member in the period from January 2021 until November 2022.

The agency has contacted members of the public affected by the issue, it said.

The issue has also been reported to the Danish Data Protection Agency (Datatilsynet).

“This is a very regrettable matter which I take very seriously. This is a case of an employee who has grossly abused their access to personal information and whom we have fired and reported to police,” director of SIRI Trine Rask Thygesen said in the statement.

“We will do everything we can to stop it happening again. We will therefore also review our existing procedures and guidelines to see whether we can do more to prevent misuse of access to personal information,” she said.