UNHCR regrets the adoption of new amendments to the Danish Immigration Act

Briefing Notes, 5 May 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 5 May 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

UNHCR regrets the adoption on Tuesday of new amendments to the Danish Immigration Act, which are not fully in line with the UN Refugee Convention. We have earlier submitted comments on the draft legislation.

Under the Refugee Convention, there are clear restrictions on the expulsion of refugees, given the very serious consequences that they could face. We are therefore concerned that the new Danish legislation allows for expulsion for lesser, albeit serious, offences, such as tax evasion and vandalism.

Likewise, we are worried that according to the new Danish legislation, the decision to expel a refugee also entails that he or she loses his or her refugee status, putting the person in a legal limbo.

Last year, Denmark received 2,260 asylum applications, primarily from Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo), Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Russian Federation, (including Chechens). In the last five years, 28,670 applications were submitted.