Denmark to deport asylum seekers outside Europe

Photo: EPA

Denmark's parliament on Thursday passed a law enabling the government to relocate asylum seekers to countries outside Europe, news wires reported. The move is seen as an apparent break with the EU's efforts to overhaul Europe's failed migration and asylum rules.

Under the new law Danish authorities would get the right to move migrants arriving on Danish soil to asylum centres in a partner country, potentially outside Europe, where they would have their asylum cases reviewed. "If you apply for asylum in Denmark, you know that you will be sent back to a country outside Europe, and therefore we hope that people will stop seeking asylum in Denmark," the government party's immigration speaker Rasmus Stoklund told broadcaster DR earlier on Thursday.

Denmark, however, has yet to reach an agreement with a partner country, but Stoklund said it was negotiating with several candidate countries. The wealthy nation, which followed a hardline immigration policy over the last decade, has a declared goal of receiving zero asylum seekers, and instead aims to only accept refugees under the UN's quota system.

Critics worry the plan will undermine the safety and welfare of refugees and compromise their human rights as well as allow Denmark to duck its obligations within the EU. "The idea to externalise the responsibility of processing asylum seekers' asylum claims is both irresponsible and lacking in solidarity," Charlotte Slente, general secretary of the Danish Refugee Council said.

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