Danish government, far-right reach deal on refugees

Danish government, far-right reach deal on refugees

Agence France Presse — English
November 8, 2004 Monday 5:42 PM GMT

COPENHAGEN Nov 8 — The Danish government reached a deal Monday on
the repatriation of refugees with a far-right party whose support it
needs to get its budget through the national parliament.

The far-right Danish Peoples Party (PPD) had made a hard line on
refugees who been denied asylum the minimum price for its support for
the minority centre right government, which has no other political

Under the agreement refugees will be encouraged to go back to their
countries of origin and states that refuse to accept their nationals
who have been refused asylum will see their aid suspended or reduced.

The measures concern about 2,200 unsuccessful asylum-seekers, of whom
between 500 and 600 are Iraqis.

“What we wanted was to withdraw economic aid to states which do not
want to agree to take back their own nationals whose asylum requests
have been rejected,” PPD leader Pia Kjaersgaard told reporters.

“And we have obtained the assurance of the government in this

The PPD is the third biggest group in the Danish parliament and was
instrumental in the coming to power of the ruling coalition in November
2001. It has chosen to make the return of refugees its flagship issue.

It wants refugees from Afghanistan, Armenia, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Iraq,
Kosovo and Somalia sent home, as well as stateless Palestinians from
Lebanon and the West Bank.

But Bertel Haarder, the minister with responsbility for refugees,
immigration and integration, declined to set a time limit on the
repatriation process.

“I cannot fix a number or deadlines or criteria for the success of
this operation since this will depend on war and peace in the world,”
he told Danish television.

On Monday he offered a bonus of 17,000 Danish kronor (2,963 dollars,
2,287 euros) per adult and 6,000 kronor (1,046 dollars, 807 euros)
per child to Iraqis who volunteered before February 1 next year to
go back home..

Last month the United Nations High Commission for Refugees called on
countries that had taken in Iraqi refugees not pressure them to go
home because it was not safe to do so.

“There are considerable pressures on Iraqi refugees in a number of
European countries for them to return,” a spokesman said.

“There are financial incitments to go back and penalties if they are
not taken up, he added.

“The situation in Iraq is still extremely unstable and dangerous. No
parts of Iraq can be considered definitely safe for return.”

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress