European Union and Diplomatic Affairs

Danish Parliament approves law to confiscate funds from refugees

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The Danish Parliament. Image: News Oerresund, Johan Wessman

A series of political changes to Danish migration law have been approved following a heated debate  in the Danish Parliament.

The Folketingssalen voted through new legislation that affects the benefits available to asylum-seekers in Denmark.

It’s reported that the new law will enable the Police to confiscate cash or assets worth more than 1,340 euros (10,000 Danish kroner) from refugees.

It’s also being reported that the new legislation changes the contemporary protection status for refugees.

They will need to have been in Denmark for three years without breaking the law, before they are able to arrange for their spouse and children to join them.

The Danish media is reporting that the Danish Government wants to make it less appealing to seek asylum in Denmark.

It’s feared that the current level of immigration is threatening the economy and social cohesion.

When Integration Minister, Inger Stoejberg, first presented the bill, it was unclear whether the Police were being given the power to confiscate items of sentimental value, such as jewellery and wedding rings.

The government has since clarified that the Police won’t take valuables of sentimental values if the asylum seeker has an personal story attached to it.

The proposals have attracted controversial media coverage around the world.

Some critics have compared it to the situation of the jews during the second world war in Germany, when they had their valuables confiscated.

But the Danish Prime-minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, has called it the most ‘misunderstood’ bill in the history of Denmark.

UNHCR has warned that the legislation will breach the European Convention on Human rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Child, and the UN Refugee Convention.

The UN says it won’t be the first time a country within the EU has been seizing cash and valuables from refugees.

In the Netherlands this has been going on since 2008.

Listen to in the attached audio:

By Mariana des Forges and Astrid Hald.

 

 

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