Denmark backs seizing migrants' assets

Refugees arrive in dborg, Denmark. 6 January 2016Form copyright Getty Images
Image caption Denmark expects to accept around 20,000 asylum seekers in 2016

The Danish rliament has backed a disputatious proposal to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to y for their upkeep.

Observe will be able to seize valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros; £1,000) from fugitives to cover housing and food costs.

MPs also approved plans to keep in a holding ttern family reunions for asylum seekers.

The bill had been expected to go in every way even though it had been criticised by human rights groups.

The antici tion of refugees having possessions seized has drawn com risons to the confiscation of valuables from Jews during Midwife precisely War Two.

The government has said that items of sentimental value, such as homogenization rings, will be exempt. It also raised the amount refugees settle upon be allowed to keep from 3,000 kroner to 10,000 following doubts.

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The government has said that the policy advances refugees in line with unemployed Danes, who also face take to sell assets above a certain level to claim benefits.

Yet, critics have said that many Danes have unemployment warranty that saves them having to sell assets, and anyway would not acknowledge the kind of searches proposed under the new law.

The new measures also mean the age migrants will have to wait before applying for relatives to unite them will be extended from one year to three – a move wished at discouraging new arrivals.

Temporary residence permits will be shortened and the conditions for subsisting a permanent permit will be restricted.

Denmark expects to receive hither 20,000 asylum seekers in 2016, com red with 15,000 after year, the integration ministry told BBC News.

Media caption“I hand with nothing … if I had jewellery, I wouldn’t be here”

MPs approved the fits by 81 votes to 27 following a lengthy, and at times angry, contemplation. One MP abstained and 70 others were absent. The centre-left opposition Public Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People’s rty both voted in coddle.

Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesman for the Danish People’s rty, recounted the numbers of migrants entering Europe as an “exodus”.

“More needs to be done. We neediness more border controls, we need tighter immigration rules,” he judged.

But Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, of the opposition left Red-Green Alliance that resisted the bill, said it was “a symbolic move to scare people away”.

Prime Evangelist Lars Lokke Rasmussen of the centre-right Venstre rty had previously shrugged off valuation of the proposals calling them “the most misunderstood bill in Denmark’s narrative”.

Image caption Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen of the Red-Green League spoke against the bill

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the European Commission and other bunches had criticised the proposals.

Speaking before the vote, UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards disclosed reporters in Geneva the measures would cause hardship and harm.

“The determination to give Danish police the authority to search and confiscate valuables from asylum seekers sends hurt messages in our view,” he said.

Amnesty International regional maestro John Dalhuisen described the vote as “mean spirited”.

“This is a sad image of how far Denmark has strayed from its historic support of international norms enshrined in the Migr Convention,” he said.

Denmark is not the first European country to claim the assets of asylum seekers.

Earlier this month, Switzerland was criticised by a DP group for seizing assets from some 100 people in 2015. Covered by Swiss rules, asylum seekers have to hand over assets mainly $1,000 (£700; €900).

  • The 28 member states have not agreed on an EU-wide mechanism for relocating wanderers, meant to ease the burden on Greece and Italy. Only small cliques have been relocated so far – and several states in Central and Eastern Europe turn down to accept migrants
  • The Schengen agreement on freedom of movement is in jeo rdy – Hungary fenced off its touches with Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia; meanwhile Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and France also reimposed abut on controls
  • The Dublin regulation, under which refugees are required to set forth asylum in the member state in which they first arrive, is not duty effectively. Countries are no longer sending back migrants to their start with point of entry to the EU
  • Thousands of migrants – many of them Syrian war refugees – still get ahead in the world daily from Turkey
  • Processing of asylum applications is slow and there is a big backlog – so reaction centres are overcrowded
  • Germany – the main destination for migrants – is rethinking its open-door programme, rtly because of outrage over assaults on women in Cologne at New Year

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