LWF urges Denmark to reconsider changes to refugee law

This sculpture, entitled ‘the refugee ship’, was made by Danish artist Jens Galschiot and exhibited at Nyhavn in Denmark.Photo: blondinrikard/Flickr (CC-BY)
This sculpture, entitled ‘the refugee ship’, was made by Danish artist Jens Galschiot and exhibited at Nyhavn in Denmark.Photo: blondinrikard/Flickr (CC-BY)

New legislation approved by Danish government allows for forcible removal of refugees and asylum seekers

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is deeply concerned by amendments to the Danish Aliens Act which were passed by the Danish parliament on 3 June. The law effectively sanctions the forcible removal of refugees and asylum seekers by authorizing their transfer from Denmark to a third country for processing.

In a statement, the LWF expresses dismay at the Danish government’s decision, which “which risks exposing refugees, migrants and asylum seekers to uncertainty, peril and unwarranted gaps in their human rights and protection.” The statement notes that the amendment “goes against the spirit of international law and commitments on the protection of refugees and asylum seekers,” including the 1951 Refugee Convention (to which Denmark is a signatory) and the more recent Global Compact on Refugees.

The statement reiterates that “refugees lose many things when they flee, but never their human rights.” It stresses that the protection of refugees and asylum seekers is enshrined in international law, but with the adoption of “this new law, the Danish government is seriously undermining its solidarity with the most vulnerable, its international commitments, and its reputation as a nation respecting the rule-of-law and human rights.”

The statement concludes that to welcome the stranger is a core message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a call that is shared with other religions, and it is a humanitarian imperative. The LWF calls on

  • The government of Denmark to urgently reconsider this decision
  • The international community and the European Union to ensure that international law and commitments are upheld
  • Its member churches to advocate with their governments to uphold the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

 

Read the statement


*Photo: blondinrikard licensed under CC-BY.