Denmark: Refugees denied asylum move to Red Cross shelters

The families have been denied asylum. They can't legally work in Denmark, and the government isn't deporting them back. How long does the Danish government think it can keep it up? Five years? Ten? Twenty?

The government will allow several families denied asylum at the nation's refugee centres to move into Red Cross administered facilities

Bowing to pressure from several parties and interest groups, the government decided Tuesday to allow 60 families denied asylum status to move out of state-run refugee centres and into those operated by The Danish Red Cross.

The families being given the allowance are those that have spent years at the centres and cannot or will not return to their native countries.

'There are a number of asylum seekers who won't return home even though their cases have been ruled on,' Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, said at his weekly press conference. 'It can be a problem for their children and that is the primary reason for the government's actions.'

But Ramsussen added that the family members are still not allowed to legally work in Denmark.

Conditions at several of the country's asylum centres, especially for the young people, have been criticised as being sub-standard by human rights groups and even by the prime minister's wife. Recent studies showed that many of the children at the centres become mentally ill after living there for such long periods.

All political parties supported the initiative at least in part, with the exception of the nationalist Danish People's Party.

'It's a bad idea. You shouldn't reward people denied asylum and who have refused to return home by letting them move out of the centres,' said the party's leader Pia Kjærsgaard, who added that she did understand the concerns for the children.

The opposition Social Democrats also criticised the move, but their position was that it did not go far enough. The Social Liberals backed them up on that point.

'We're glad that the prime minister has freed these people from the shackles,' said Morten Østergaard, the Social Liberals' integration spokesperson. 'But it shouldn't be a special measure - it should apply to all asylum seekers with children.'

The Red Cross is now in the process of finding rental properties where the 60 families can be placed.

Source: Copenhagen Post (English)

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