Denmark: Taking care of rejected refugees

What I find interesting about this article is that a refugee can have his application rejected but continue to live in the host country because of "unstable conditions" in his home country. Somebody would have to explain to me the difference then between these "refugees whose application has been rejected but continue living in the host country" and "refugees whose application has been accepted and continue living in the host country".

Members of the prime minister's party are demanding that he take steps to improve conditions at the nation's refugee centres Cramped living conditions at the nation's asylum centres can be blamed on refugees whose requests for asylum have been rejected, according to the prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He was responding to criticism from within his own ranks that especially children face miserable conditions at the centres.

Rasmussen pointed out that many of the families, some of whom have lived at the refugee centres for up to six years, simply refused to leave the country.

'It is a problem, but these people's requests have been processed by competent authorities. And they have found that there is no ground for asylum. That means there is only one thing to do: find a way to send them home,' Rasmussen said on Tuesday.

Members of parliament's integration committee, led by Ejvind Vesselbo of the prime minister's Liberal Party, and Henriette Kjær of junior government partner the Conservatives, criticised conditions at the centres after the panel visited two Copenhagen-area centres last month.
'If there is a limit for how miserably people can live, I think we've passed it here,' Vesselbo said after visiting Kongelunden centre on Amager and Camp Sandholm near Birkerød.

The two centres were constructed to house families for up to a year. The average stay has increased from 300 days to 1000, according to Jørgen Chemnitz, the head of the Red Cross's Asylum Department.

Nearly 90 percent of refugees have their request for asylum rejected, but many of them are unable to leave Denmark due to unstable conditions in their home countries.

Vesselbo said the situation required centres to allocate more space for families unable to return home.

The committee's visits found that the extended stays were especially difficult for children, many of whom had lived most of their lives in the asylum centres.

'We need to give them more room and adequate free time activities, so that kids don't wind up in the care of parents who don't have time to stimulate or care for them,' Kjær said.

Kjær suggested that one way to improve conditions for refugees was to give families temporary residence permits until they could return home. She would allow refugees to live outside the centres and work as a way to give them 'a semblance of a normal daily life'.

Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshøj refused to comment on the committee's criticism, but said she would review any proposals they made.

The Red Cross hoped the committee's visit would result in improved conditions:

'After bombarding politicians, the government and the media for so long, it is nice to see that people are finally realising that the centres aren't built for long-term stays,' one official said.

Source: Jyllands-Posten (English)

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