The European Council criticizes Danish asylum policy once again

In her latest report, the Human Rights Commissioner has included many issues of concern from civil society

The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic has just published her report on Denmark. She visited Denmark in May-June this year together with her staff, and met with both Danish authorities, national human rights structures and representatives of civil society. The previous report on Denmark was in 2013.
Refugees Welcome met with her to express our main concerns and her team was grateful for all the cases, links and facts in English that we contributed. The team visited centre Avnstrup but couldn’t find time to see Kærshovedgård.
The commissioner points a very sharp criticism on topics that fall within our area:
• She expresses concern about Denmark's new focus on temporary residence and return rather than integration, including the recurring reassessments of residence grounds. The new focus permeates many aspects of legislation and practice and leads to unnecessary stress and anxiety for all refugees. The commissioner recommends only withdrawing residence permits if a durable and stable improvement has taken place in the home country, and this must be done with consideration of the person's attachment, including between parents and children who have reached the age of 18.
The plan of externalization (eg. to Rwanda) should be stopped, as upholding human rights cannot be guaranteed, and the idea itself can undermine the global system for refugees. Instead, she recommends that Denmark work on a better and fairer distribution of responsibility internally in Europe and globally.
• Denmark should increase its quota for resettlement refugees, and change the strict criteria which in recent years have made it difficult to fill the very modest quota of 200 per year.
• The government should reconsider the use of deportation centres, especially for children. The long, perhaps even lifelong, stays in a human and legal limbo especially degrade the residents' mental health.
• Regarding the imprisonment of asylum seekers and other foreigners (Ellebæk), she recommends that priority be given to alternatives where strict, prison-like rules and conditions do not apply.
• Refugees should have easier access to family reunification, especially those under temporary protection (§7.3) and older children.
Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers who are granted residence due to a lack of network should not lose their status and be sent back as soon as they turn 18 – something that the previous report from 2013 also emphasized.
•The Commissioner is concerned about the increasing number of stateless people, and calls for children and young people who were born or brought up in Denmark to have easier access to citizenship, which should also apply to people with disabilities.

Find a link to the report at the top.

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