12 Juli 2021
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The Limits of Indirect Deterrence of Asylum Seekers

The ECtHR judgment M.A. v. Denmark is significant for several reasons. Firstly, because it adds to an already growing international criticism of Denmark’s asylum and immigration policy. Secondly, because the judgment helps clarify the Court’s position on an issue, family reunification for refugees, where case law has hitherto been somewhat ambiguous, and where several European States have introduced new restrictions since 2015. Third, and finally, the judgment represents – to paraphrase Harold Koh - another “way station…in the complex enforcement” of migrant and refugee rights by international human rights institutions. Continue reading >>
03 Juni 2021
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From Denmark to Damascus

In recent weeks, Denmark made international headlines with its refusal to extend residence permits for Syrian subsidiary protection holders in Denmark from the Damascus province. Denmark’s emergence as the first state in Europe to end the protection of Syrians on the basis of improved conditions in the wider Damascus area is the result of a self-described ‘paradigm shift’ in Danish refugee policy dating back to 2015. Continue reading >>
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22 März 2021

The Eternal Emergency? Denmark’s Legal Response to COVID-19 in Review

On 11th March 2020 the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen found herself in a historic moment. The infection numbers in Denmark had dramatically increased within the last 24 hours - from just 157 infected in total on the 10th of March to 514 on March 11th – and a, now well-documented, disagreement between the health authorities and the government on the overall strategy had forced the hand of the Prime Minister to take decisive action. Dressed all in black, the prime minister ceremonially opened the press conference with the, now famous, words: “What I will tell you tonight, will have major implications for all Danes”. Indeed, almost one year from the Prime minister’s public prophecy, we can conclude - it did. Continue reading >>
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04 Februar 2021

Gut gemeint und schlecht gemacht

In Dänemark hat ein Amtsvergehensverfahren gegen die ehemalige Migrationsministerin Inger Støjberg begonnen, weil sie 2016 angeordnet hatte, alle nach Dänemark geflüchteten Paare mit einem minderjährigen Ehepartner zu trennen. Das deutsche Bundesverfassungsgericht dürfte das mit Interesse zur Kenntnis nehmen. Auch in Deutschland war es die Trennung eines geflüchteten Ehepaares, die 2017 den Anlass zum Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Kinderehen gab. Continue reading >>
04 Mai 2020

Something is Forgotten in the State of Denmark: Denmark’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the Danish Government’s approach, up until this point, has been successful in limiting the spread of the pandemic and none of the government initiatives seem blatantly unconstitutional – something might be forgotten in the state of Denmark: that the resilience and cultural properties of the Danish society contributed to the success in handling COVID-19 rather than increasing executive power. Continue reading >>
04 Mai 2018
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The Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Copenhagen Declaration – a Reply to Helga Molbæk-Steensig

In her blog post “Is Something Rotten in the State of Denmark?”, Helga Molbæk-Steensig analyses the making of the Copenhagen Declaration; the most important outcome of the Danish chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Molbæk-Steensig agrees with most commentators that the declaration does not reflect the Danish government’s “strong discourse of sovereignty and democratic deficit in the Danish debate“. We certainly agree on this point, but we cannot agree with Molbæk-Steensig when she claims that we – Denmark’s national human rights institution – played a passive, or even negative, role during the making of the declaration. We especially disagree when Molbæk-Steensig implies that we somehow legitimise a far-right narrative designed to limit the system of human rights protection in Europe or subscribe to a reductionist concept of democracy. Continue reading >>
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26 April 2018

Something Rotten in the State of Denmark?

The final version of the Copenhagen Declaration has turned out to be a lot less dramatic than the original draft led many observers to believe. This leaves several questions of why. Why did Denmark, traditionally a frontrunner country, create a draft declaration so regressive it gave rise to harsh critiques from the Council of Europe Assembly, from academia and from civil society? Why was the Danish Minister of Justice glossing over the content of the declaration? Why has the Danish Institute of Human Rights been so relatively quiet throughout the whole debacle? Continue reading >>
27 Februar 2017

Stateless persons’ entitlement to citizenship – and Denmark’s call for dilution of state obligations in this regard

The UN statelessness convention obliges member states to grant citizenship to persons born on their soil who would otherwise be stateless. Denmark, with very little success so far, is pushing for a renegotiation of that obligation, allegedly for security reasons. What is behind this effort? Could maybe the Danish initiative prove even beneficial by laying the ground for more international cooperation on citizenship law matters? Continue reading >>
30 Januar 2017
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Legal Disintegration? The Ruling of the Danish Supreme Court in AJOS

On December 6, 2016, the Supreme Court of Denmark (SCDK) ruled in the Ajos case. The ruling will be read, remembered and taught as an example of defiance of clear guidelines from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the highest court in Denmark. EU law is an exterior phenomenon but part and parcel of Danish law. It follows that switching it off, as in Ajos, necessarily entails applying one law by breaking another. That is not a viable path for any legal system taking supranational obligations seriously. Continue reading >>
22 Februar 2016

The prince of Denmark facing mass immigration – from Germany.

How would Denmark react to a wave of mass immigration from Germany, numbering hundreds of thousands or millions of people? The question is, needles to say, purely hypothetical, but it is nevertheless, in my view, highly pertinent in the context of discussing the issues raised in Liav Orgad’s important book, The Cultural Defense of Nations. These questions are at the very heart of Europe’s present concerns and dilemmas, which makes the book’s highly original, learned and well-argued contribution to the debate all the more valuable. Continue reading >>
13 September 2014

Mann oder Frau – keine Frage für Experten

Ob man Däne ist oder Dänin, darüber soll künftig niemand anders Auskunft geben […] Continue reading >>
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