GCHRJ Deplores Denmark’s Decision Isolating Unwanted Refugees
GENEVA – Geneva Council for Human Rights and Justice (JCHRJ) condemned Denmark’s decision to isolate “unwanted ” refugees to a remote island.
The Council criticized Denmark’s Immigration Minister Enver Stoiregge as saying that the targeted refugees were “undesirable and would feel it.” According to the plan, which must still be passed by the parliament, that address may be Lindholm Island in the southeast of the country, which lies two miles out to sea and for decades has housed a research center for seriously ill and contagious animals.
These facilities will be cleared and an immigration center with an initial capacity of 100 residents built in their place.
According to a government statement, the new center will house refugees who have what is known as “tolerated stay” status, meaning they do not have a residence permit but cannot be deported for other reasons, including threats to their life if they are sent home; those who are set to be deported due to criminal activity or for national security reasons; and foreign fighters and rejected asylum seekers convicted of breaking certain laws.
“Our approach is that they should stay on the island as much as possible, and if we can keep them there the whole time, we will aim to do that,” said Henriksen, who claimed that the policy was inspired by the Australian immigration model. “We plan to have police, prison services, guards and detention cells in place, in case of any unrest.”
The plans have caused concern among rights groups. “It is important to note that these people, while they have committed crimes, have already served their sentence,” Louise Holck, deputy director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, told CNN. “There is no grounds for detention, and from a human rights perspective, we are not just talking about windows with bars …. We will have to assess that they are
GCHRJ refused to justify the Danish authorities’ decision that the targeted refugees had committed crimes or had been denied asylum and that it was difficult to return them to their countries.
It stressed the responsibility of the Danish authorities to take appropriate action while complying with international obligations in dealing with refugees in accordance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and to ensure that refugees are not victims of arbitrary detention.
The Council highlighted the escalation of anti-refugee policies in Denmark since he right-wing party came to power, including the cancellation by its government of its existing agreement with the UNHCR on the reception of 500 refugees a year.
GCHRJ called on the Danish authorities to withdraw their decision to isolate refugees and fulfill their responsibilities to treat them equally before the law and to ensure a decent and secure life for them.