Rwanda: Denmark - Plans to Send Asylum-Seekers to Rwanda "Unconscionable and Potentially Unlawful"

Migration committee members on a tour of Sandholm reception centre for asylum seekers in Denmark, 23 October 2018.
press release

Responding to the news that Danish authorities have signed an agreement with the Rwandan government to enhance cooperation on migration and asylum, potentially to then send asylum-seekers to Rwanda, Amnesty International's Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks, said:

"Any attempt to transfer asylum-seekers arriving in Denmark to Rwanda for their asylum claims to be processed would be not only unconscionable, but potentially unlawful. Denmark cannot deny the right of those arriving in Denmark to seek asylum and transfer them to a third country without the required guarantees.

"These proposals take responsibility-shifting of refugee protection by EU governments to a new low, and would set a dangerous precedent in Europe and globally.

"The idea that rich countries can pay their way out of their international obligations, stripping asylum-seekers of their right to even have their claims considered in Denmark, is deeply worrying."

BACKGROUND

On 29 April the Danish government tabled a Draft Bill to amend the Aliens Act ("Introduction of the possibility to transfer asylum-seekers for adjudication of asylum-claims and accommodation in third countries"). The Bill will be discussed tomorrow at the Danish Parliament.

In 2020 Denmark received 1,515 asylum-applications, the lowest number in 20 years. 601 people got a permit to stay.

"This plan comes against the backdrop of the hardening of asylum policies in the country. Almost 400 Syrian refugees are at risk of return to Syria's warzone, after Denmark decided to withdraw their protection status. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2021/04/denmark-hundreds-of-refugees-must-not-be-illegally-forced-back-to-syrian-warzone/

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