The UN’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, voiced concern about Denmark’s plan to deal with illegal immigration by detaining migrants on the tiny remote island of Lindholm south of Copenhagen which was once used for contagious animals.
“Depriving them of their liberty, isolating them, and stigmatising them will only increase their vulnerability,” the former Chilean President said.
The plan is to concentrate up to a 100 illegal migrants that cannot be deported because they would be executed in their country of origin and for those migrants whose asylum application has been rejected.
“They are unwanted in Demark and they must feel that,” Denmark’s Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said in a Facebook post.
The tiny Baltic islet is serviced daily by a ferry boat which follows Danish People’s Party spokesperson, Martin Henriksen’s plan to place migrants in sparse lightly populated areas where expensive ferry services make it difficult for migrants to visit the mainland.
Under Danish law, asylum seekers with a criminal record cannot seek employment in Denmark. They are provided with accommodation and given about €1 a day for food and other daily essentials.
The converted facility will be ready by 2021, with Finance Minister Kristian Jensen clarifying that the facility is not a prison, but those who will be housed in the newly renovated facilities will not be able to leave.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen recently made clear that Denmark’s political objective, after years of coming under the strain of allowing migrants to remain in the country, is to no longer integrate asylum seekers but to host them until they can return to their countries of origin.
The centre-right minority government in Denmark is depended on the parliamentary support of the far-right Danish People’s Party. In January 2016, the Danish government introduced an anti-immigration law which the UNHCR said, “could fuel fear (and) xenophobia”.
The law limited the scope for asylum, complicated and delayed family reunification and, most controversially, allowed the police to confiscate migrant’s money in excess of €1,350. At the time, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, suggested that the issue of family reunification raises “issues of compatibility with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights”.