YES condemns in the strongest terms the introduction of the new Danish legislation on refugees

From 21st January Danish parliament will discuss and vote a controversial new law on refugees that will enable the police to confiscate valuables worth over 1.300 euro’s (10.000 kroner). On top of this measure, Denmark moves to only granting a temporary security status instead of asylum to some Syrian refugees  and for those will also stop reunification of parents with children in their first three years. These proposals are inhumane, cruel and in violation of human rights. YES thus condemns them in the strongest possible terms and is very worried by the support for his law by the Danish Social Democratic party. It strongly encourages its member organisations to work against this to be a model for Europe – as we do see hints of across the continent.

Even the idea of taking valuables from refugees, no matter whether it will be put in practice by the police in the end or not, is far beyond a humane treatment of people on the run, merely considering them as cost generators instead of people in need of assistance. The fact the agreeing party is trying to counter critics with the argument that the law was downsized by stipulating that refugees can hold on to their valuables with sentimental value is just shameful. Of course not every refugee is poor. War doesn’t spare anyone. But everybody who ever saw the inside of a refugee camp or talked with refugees realises that the valuables that refugees have left are by no means close to sufficient to cope with the cost of offering shelter to people on the run. We can only conclude that the bill’s purpose is to scare away any new candidate-refugees or refugees already in the country. We second NGOs’ fear that passing this piece of legislation would only lead to fueling fear and xenophobia in the country, for which even the UN is concerned.

In the same law the agreeing political parties go further in completing the political program of the far right Danish People’s Party. The most controversial measure, regarding refugees’ valuables, shouldn’t prevent us from condemning the bill as a whole. For instance, Denmark would restrict refugees’ freedom of movement once arrived, which is in violation of human rights. Also the situation for those refugees, who are now only getting a temporary status of security, is horrible. Needless to say that being confident Syria will be a prospering democracy by 2017 makes no sense, but also does it leave people that have just fled from war uncertain about their future and the future of their families and makes a proper integration process impossible.

Next on the list: some Syrian refugees will have to wait up to three years until they are allowed to be reunited with their children. This will not only destroy people but entire families and is nothing shy of a cruel treatment, once more against international law. We hope the Danish Social Democrats refrain from voting in favour of the law, as some MP’s have issued.

Young European Socialists are outraged by the increasing rejection of asylum seekers by governments all over Europe. We condemn the fence built at the border of Austria, the reinstatement of border controls in Denmark, France and Sweden, and all similar decisions.

This bill discussed in Denmark is, in short, inhumane, illegal and cruel. As Young European Socialists, we would be ashamed if this billed passed with the support of social democrats. We thus call on social democrats of Denmark and the European socialist family to reject it on 26th January, as well as all other attempts to restrict asylum seekers’ rights in Europe.


Some members of YES Presidium expressed reservations about the approach and language of this statement.

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