Denmark approves bill to seize valuables from refugees
The UN criticised the country’s lawmakers, saying asylum seekers who reached Europe should be treated with compassion and respect.
Denmark’s leaders on Tuesday voted in reforms that will allow police to seize assets worth more than 10,000 kroner ($1,450) from refugees entering the country. The government, which took in around 20,000 asylum seekers in 2015, claims the law is to cover costs of housing refugees in the country. Reuters reported that after a three-hour-long debate, lawmakers voted 81-27 for the bill. The law has sparked widespread condemnation. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations’s secretary general, said people who seek refuge in Europe should be treated with compassion and respect.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen defended the bill, and said that till the world unites on a joint solution to the refugee crisis, Denmark needed to act, AFP reported. He also said it is “the most misunderstood bill in Denmark’s history”. Integration minister Inger Stojberg agreed to exempt weddings rings and items of sentimental value from the assets taken from refugees. Danish welfare rules also have to sell assets worth more than 10,000 kroner before they receive social benefits.
Denmark already tightened its immigration laws in 2015, reducing benefits for those who sought asylum in the country, and shortening the length of temporary residence permits. Some German states, and Switzerland also take assets from asylum-seekers that are worth more than 1,000 francs.