Author Topic: There is something rotten in the state of Denmark  (Read 56 times)

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mistermax

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There is something rotten in the state of Denmark
« on: February 01, 2016, 01:20:33 am »

The Danish parliament this week approved by a substantial majority new legislation on asylum, including the “jewellery law”, which allows the authorities to confiscate valuables worth in excess of £1,000 from refugees. Lawmakers also imposed a three-year moratorium on applications from asylum seekers wishing to be reunited with their families.
The legislation caused global outrage and attracted stiff opposition from some sections of Danish public opinion. Nevertheless, it was endorsed not only by the rightwing government of Lars Lokke Rasmussen, which is heavily dependent on the support of the nationalist Danish People’s party, but also by the Social Democrats, known in the past for a more emollient attitude towards refugees.
 Denmark previously had a proud record where refugees were concerned: during the second world war, for example, 95 per cent of the country’s Jewish population was smuggled into neutral Sweden and saved from Nazi persecution. It was also the first state to sign the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. Recently, however, the prime minister called for the convention to be “adjusted”. Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, observed that the new legislation is in sharp contrast with “Denmark’s humanitarian and social traditions”, adding that it “highlights a worrying trend in European politics”. His concerns have been echoed by his successor, Ban Ki-moon.
The Danish government claims that the purpose of the legislation has been misunderstood. It points out that Denmark has already received more refugees than most other European countries; that it spends more than most on refugees and that other European countries have similar provisions for confiscating valuables from migrants.
But the government has not been misunderstood. On the contrary, it wanted to send a signal — to refugees elsewhere in Europe, to the Danish electorate and to the world at large. That signal has been received. The law serves no practical purpose. There has not been a single instance of a refugee arriving in Denmark with a fortune to confiscate, nor is any such person ever likely to materialise at the border. Rather, it is an ill-conceived attempt to manage the flow of migrants by signalling that Denmark is not the place to go.
After the arrival in Germany last year of 1m refugees and almost 200,000 in Sweden, Denmark now finds itself in the role of conduit for asylum seekers travelling from the former to the latter. After the introduction by Sweden, at the beginning of the year, of tighter border controls, Danish politicians began to panic at the prospect of large number of refugees in transit getting stranded in Denmark, leaving the authorities unable to control the influx. It was in this context that the “jewellery law” was conceived in December — as a deterrent to migrants contemplating Denmark as a destination.
 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e31579a-c675-11e5-808f-8231cd71622e.html#ixzz3yro8ns5k
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