Danish government wants to restrict family reunification

On the 19th September the Danish ministry of Justice announced that the government wants to give prima facie refugees a temporary status the first year of their stay in Denmark, thereby prolonging the possibilities for refugees to receive permanent protection. Persons fleeing from certain areas would therefore only receive a temporary protection based on the argument that the pressure on the Danish asylum system has increased and therefore permanent protection should only be given to those who most certainly need it permanently. This, the argument goes, makes the Danish government capable of receiving the refugees in a proper manner and enables the municipalities to integrate the refugees that have been given a permanent status. The realities of these new rules means that some Syrians seeking protection in Denmark have to live in uncertainty for a year before being able to apply for and possibly receive a more permanent status. The argument that there is a possibility that the refugees might have a safe home country after a year is deemed unrealistic by many critics, among others the General Secretary of the Danish Refugee Council, Andreas Kamm. He points to the fact that generally these kinds of conflicts can last up to 20 years.

Further more, there has been a suggestion from the Danish government that refugees obtaining this new form of temporary protection shouldn’t be allowed family reunification before receiving a permanent status. Once again the argument goes that the costs are too heavy on the Danish system regardless if these families were to be send back to their home country again after the termination of the temporary protection.

Andreas Kamm is worried that the newly proposed restrictions on family reunification might represent a breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Besides from the possible breach of rights there is also a risk that the restrictions might hurt the people in very vulnerable situations in the country of origin. It’s often the men taking the long and dangerous journey, women and children staying back home, who are typically more vulnerable groups, will be the ones suffering from this suggestion.

– Sofie

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