Denmark’s government changes policy on UN quota refugees with new bill

The UNHCR and the Danish Refugee Council have criticised the government for a new bill which seeks to ease the path to repatriation of UN quota refugees.
A new immigration bill seeks to apply the government’s general change in approach to giving asylum status to UN quota refugees, newspaper Politiken reports.

The bill provides for quota refugees to be subject to the same rules regarding their asylum status as all other types of refugees taken in by Denmark.

That means the application of the government’s view that the status of refugees should always be considered as temporary, and that their status should be revoked as soon as conditions in origin countries are deemed to enable this.

“We wish to send a very clear signal to refugees that, if you are given permission to stay in Denmark, this is temporary, and this also applies to quota refugees,” immigration minister Inger Støjberg said to the newspaper.

United Nations refugee agency UNHCR considers the proposal by the Danish government to be a break with the historical spirit of international participation in its refugee programme, although there are no legal obstacles to withdrawing the status of refugees if conditions in their home countries are considered peaceful, Politiken writes.

“The key aspect with regard to quota refugees is that this small group of refugees have come to Denmark via UNHCR’s quota programme, and there has been a general understanding that resettlement via the quota programme takes place with a view to a long-term and permanent resolution,” the agency spokesperson for Denmark Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund told the newspaper.

“It is also worth remembering that, before quota refugees come to Denmark, they have been through a thorough and comprehensive selection process and have been prepared for life in Denmark,” Haslund added.