Denmark Lindholm island denmark-island-for-refugees-exlarge-169

Guantanamo comes to Europe : Denmark’s government to move “unwanted” refugees to a remote uninhabited island / (Engl, Ndl)

(Photo : Lindholm Island, seen in this file photo, lies two miles out to sea and for decades has housed a research center for seriously ill and contagious animals).


Denmark’s government has struck a deal to move “unwanted” refugees to a remote uninhabited island once used for contagious animals.

As part of a growing anti-immigration agenda, Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg, of the center-right Venstre party, wrote on Facebook that certain migrants “are unwanted and they will feel it.”

The controversial deal is part of a new finance bill for 2019 agreed between the center-right government and the Danish People’s Party (DPP), a populist right-wing party with anti-immigration policies. DPP immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told CNN: “Our hope … is that people outside Denmark will understand that Denmark is not a very attractive place to seek asylum, if you are of refugee background, mean to cause harm, or incite crime.”

Støjberg wrote on Facebook, “When you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance for regular Danes,” adding, “(The refugees) will be getting a new address.”
According to the plan, which must still be passed by the parliament, that address may be Lindholm Island in the southeast of the country, which lies two miles out to sea and for decades has housed a research center for seriously ill and contagious animals.
Danish immigration minister Inger Støjberg wrote on Facebook that certain migrants “are unwanted and they will feel it.”

These facilities will be cleared and an immigration center with an initial capacity of 100 residents built in their place.

According to a government statement, the new center will house refugees who have what is known as “tolerated stay” status, meaning they do not have a residence permit but cannot be deported for other reasons, including threats to their life if they are sent home; those who are set to be deported due to criminal activity or for national security reasons; and foreign fighters and rejected asylum seekers convicted of breaking certain laws.

Our approach is that they should stay on the island as much as possible, and if we can keep them there the whole time, we will aim to do that,” said Henriksen, who claimed that the policy was inspired by the Australian immigration model.We plan to have police, prison services, guards and detention cells in place, in case of any unrest.”

The plans have caused concern among rights groups. “It is important to note that these people, while they have committed crimes, have already served their sentence,” Louise Holck, deputy director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, told CNN. “There is no grounds for detention, and from a human rights perspective, we are not just talking about windows with bars …. We will have to assess that they are not detained de facto.”

However, Henriksen told CNN that he has no qualms about pushing the boundaries of human rights conventions.

“We are doing what we believe is in the best interest of Danes, and if it comes down to choosing whose interest to protect — then we will take care of our own first,” he said. “But it will, of course, be up to the Danish government to determine what lies within the conventions.”
I hope it will inspire other countries to do the same,” said Henriksen. “If they want any advice they are always welcome to call. We want other countries to tighten up their rules too. We believe it is in everyone’s interest to do that.

Finance Minister Kristian Jensen of the Venstre party told CNN that the facility is not a prison and residents will be free to catch the ferry to the mainland, though some will have to return to sleep on the island every night.
“Many of them are restricted by regular compulsory attendance that they need to abide by, because we need to know where they are located,” he said, adding that some have committed crimes that require the government to keep track of them.
“Denmark is an island,” he said. “We have lots of islands and lots of Danes living on islands. None of them feel this is a violation of their rights.”
However, refugees and refugee advocacy groups have condemned the plan.

Mohamad Hamid, 33, is a Palestinian-born refugee from Syria who moved to Denmark with his two young children and has a residence permit.
“I came to Denmark hoping they (his children) would have a better life,” he told CNN. “I watch them engage with Danish traditions, believing they are accepted as part of this society. It pains me, but they are not.”
The DPP posted a video on Twitter showing a Muslim man being dropped on Lindholm Island, explaining who would be sent there and why. Hamid called the video “deeply racist.”

Mads Nygaard, co-founder of Friendly Neighbors, a grassroots organization that works with refugees, told CNN that news of the policy spread quickly.

“It is a type of modern barbarity that I find deeply repulsive,” he said. “Being part of the larger refugee network, I have seen one despairing post after another come through today.”
Friendly Neighbors has announced a demonstration against the proposed policy in Copenhagen on December 10 — a date that marks 70 years since the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

his move is the latest part in a program of tighter migration laws enacted by the coalition government of Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.
Rasmussen’s Venstre party is reliant on the DPP to pass legislation and the country is gearing up for a general election, which must be held by June 2019.
Anti-immigration policies have become more mainstream during his time in office, including one that allows authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum seekers.
In 2016, the so-called jewelry law was introduced, which forced people seeking refuge in Denmark to contribute some of their wealth to the government. The proposal came under heavy criticism and was likened to the Nazi persecution of minorities. At the time, it was clear that it was a largely symbolic move to deter people from seeking refuge in Denmark.
The government has also introduced laws restricting face coverings such as the niqab and burqa worn by some Muslim women.
The law banning face coverings came into force in August and quickly resulted in a 1,000 Danish kroner (about $152) fine for a 28-year-old woman in Hørsholm, north of Copenhagen.
Under the new law, people found wearing facial coverings in public can be fined from 1,000 Danish kroner for a first offense up to 10,000 kroner (about $1,520) for a fourth violation.


Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island


“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the country’s immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, said about a government plan to house unwelcome foreigners on a remote island.

By Martin Selsoe Sorensen, Dec. 3, 2018

COPENHAGEN — Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases.

As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus.

“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook.

On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes but who cannot be returned to their home countries. Many would be rejected asylum seekers.

The 17-acre island, in an inlet of the Baltic Sea, lies about two miles from the nearest shore, and ferry service is infrequent. Foreigners will be required to report at the island center daily, and face imprisonment if they do not.

“We’re going to minimize the number of ferry departures as much as at all possible,” Martin Henriksen, a spokesman for the Danish People’s Party on immigration, told TV 2. “We’re going to make it as cumbersome and expensive as possible.”

The deal allocates about $115 million over four years for immigrant facilities on the island, which are scheduled to open in 2021.

The finance minister, Kristian Jensen, who led the negotiations, said the island was not a prison, but added that anyone placed there would have to sleep there.

Louise Holck, deputy executive director of The Danish Institute for Human Rights, said her organization would watch the situation “very closely” for possible violations of Denmark’s international obligations.

The agreement was reached as part of the annual budget negotiations. Each year, the Danish People’s Party demands restrictions on immigrants or refugees in return for its votes on a budget.

In Denmark, as in much of Europe, the surge in migration from the Middle East and Africa in 2015 and 2016 prompted a populist, nativist backlash.

The government has vowed to push immigration law to the limits of international conventions on human rights.

Legal experts said it was too early to tell whether the Lindholm Island project would cross those boundaries, constituting illegal confinement. They said it resembled an Italian government project that was struck down in 1980 by the European Court of Human Rights.

The Lindholm Island plan furthers the government’s policy of motivating failed asylum seekers to leave the country by making their lives intolerable.

Asylum seekers with criminal records are not allowed to work in Denmark. Rejected asylum seekers who cannot be deported are given accommodations — where they cannot prepare their own meals — food and an allowance of about $1.20 per day, which is withheld if they fail to cooperate with the authorities.

A former immigration minister, Birthe Ronn Hornbech, called the island project “a joke” and a blunder comparable to a soccer player scoring a goal for the opposing team.


Verzet groeit tegen Deens plan om criminele asielzoekers naar afgelegen eiland te ‘verbannen’

Stieven Ramdharie 6 december 2018


Stieven Ramdharie 6 december 2018
Het plan van de Deense regering om criminele en uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers als paria’s onder te brengen op een afgelegen eiland, stuit op steeds meer verzet. Mensenrechtenorganisaties, antidiscriminatiebureaus en ook de VN veroordelen het omstreden voorstel.
‘Ze zijn ongewenst in Denemarken en ze moeten het voelen’, aldus minister van Integratie Inger Stojberg op Facebook over het voornemen om in 2021 zo’n honderd asielzoekers te ‘verbannen’ naar het verlaten eiland Lindholm. De keuze van het eiland is ook bijzonder: tot voor kort werden op dezelfde plek veeproeven gedaan met besmettelijke ziektes.

Het plan, waarover het parlement later deze maand stemt, is zó vergaand dat ook de VN-commissaris voor de mensenrechten zich nu genoodzaakt ziet in actie te komen. ‘Hun vrijheid afpakken en ze isoleren en stigmatiseren, zal ze nog kwetsbaarder maken’, aldus Michelle Bachelet. Ze wil binnenkort met de Deense regering om tafel om ze op het hart te drukken dat het eilandplan écht een brug te ver is.

Maar Stojberg, die vanwege het plan voor de zoveelste keer wereldnieuws is geworden, wil van geen wijken weten. ‘Als u ongewenst bent in de samenleving, moet u geen last zijn voor de gewone Denen’, betoogt de minister van de rechts-liberale regeringspartij Venstre.
Het plan wordt van harte gesteund door de Deense Volkspartij (DF), die de centrumrechtse regering gedoogsteun geeft. Deze partij probeert al jaren, samen met Stojberg, de immigratie naar Denemarken aan banden te leggen met zeer strenge en vergaande maatregelen.


Als het aan de regering ligt, wordt het eilandje op zo’n 80 kilometer van Kopenhagen vanaf volgend jaar ontsmet en geschikt gemaakt om te wonen. Gedurende zo’n honderd jaar werden varkens, koeien en schapen naar Lindholm gebracht om te worden gebruikt voor onderzoek naar onder andere de varkensgriep.
De ‘verbanning’ moet asielzoekers die zich te buiten gingen aan onder andere drugs-en wapenhandel of die zich met hand en tand verzetten tegen hun uitzetting, duidelijk maken dat hun toekomst niet meer in Denemarken ligt.
De asielzoekers zijn overigens niet verplicht om de hele dag op het eilandje van zo’n 4.000 vierkante meter te blijven. Mits ze aangeven waar ze naartoe gaan en ’s avonds terugkeren, kunnen ze van Lindholm af met de veerpont ‘Virus’ die het eiland aandoet.

Politie rond de klok

Direct nadat in het kader van de begrotingsonderhandelingen een akkoord werd bereikt over het plan, twitterde de Deense Volkspartij: ‘Uitgeprocedeerde, criminele asielzoekers hebben niets te zoeken in Denemarken.’ Bij de tweet werd een animatiefilmpje toegevoegd waarin is te zien hoe een migrant met een bruine huidskleur in een bootje naar het eiland wordt gebracht. De partij werd direct beschuldigd van racisme.

‘Totdat we van ze af kunnen komen, verplaatsen we ze naar het eiland Lindholm in Stege Bay’, aldus de Volkspartij. ‘Waar ze ‘s nachts verplicht zullen zijn om in het nieuwe exitcentrum te blijven. En er zal de klok rond politie zijn.’

Stojberg roept al jaren dat uitgeprocedeerde asielzoekers keihard moeten worden aangepakt en snel naar hun geboorteland moeten worden uitgezet. Dat het daar onveilig kan zijn, zoals bijvoorbeeld in Afghanistan, vindt ze geen enkel probleem. ‘Niemand kan garanderen dat ergens geen terreuraanslag zal plaatsvinden, zelfs in Denemarken’, aldus de minister begin dit jaar tijdens een bezoek aan Kabul.

Stojberg is ook de drijvende kracht achter een recent regeringsplan om nieuwe staatsburgers te verplichten hun burgemeester de hand te schudden tijdens een ceremonie. Critici zeiden direct dat ze het had gemunt op moslims die soms weigeren iemand van het andere geslacht een hand te geven.
‘In Denemarken begroeten wij elkaar met een handdruk’, aldus de minister. ‘Zo tonen wij respect voor elkaar in dit land.’ Drie jaar geleden baarde ze opzien met een wetsvoorstel om asielzoekers te laten meebetalen aan hun opvang door hun juwelen en geld af te pakken en te verkopen.


Prison activist and editor. Luk Vervaet is the author of « Le making-of d'Anders B. Breivik » (Egalité=Editions, 2012), « Nizar Trabelsi : Guantanamo chez nous ? (Editions Antidote, 2014), " De grote stap achterwaarts, teksten over straf en gevangenis" (Antidote & PTTL, 2016). He is co-author of « Kim et Ken, mes enfants disparus » (Editions Luc Pire, 2006), « Condamnés à la prison? Ecrits sur un monde caché » (Revue Contradictions, 2008) et « L'affaire Luk Vervaet : écrits sur un interdit professionnel » (Revue Contradictions, 2011).

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