Denmark - The new humanitarian failure?

When it comes to protecting vulnerable children’s rights, Denmark is moving away from the Scandinavian humanitarian assistance and refugee policies. According to a report by the European Commission, young refugees in Denmark are faring worse in education, labour market participation, and health compared with the country’s majority population and similar refugee groups in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The report stated that all children have full access to education in all the Nordic countries except Denmark, where asylum-seeking children and those whose claims have been rejected do not have access to youth education.⁣

All four Nordic countries have introduced various measures to help refugees into the job market. But Denmark also has the largest gap between women and men regarding access to the labour market.⁣

In the area of health, Denmark seems to place a greater focus on the health of newly arrived refugees than other Nordic countries. However, it is also the only Nordic country without legislation to ensure that asylum-seeking children have the same right to health care as Danish children. Also, the report suggested that male refugees were at a greater risk of mortality and early retirement. They were also at a higher risk of drug abuse and more likely to use psycho-pharmaceuticals than women refugees and men born in Denmark.⁣

The plight of refugees, particularly the young and women, has become severe in Denmark after government legislation. In 2019, the government of Denmark notified about 1,200 refugees from the Damascus region that their residency permits would not be renewed. This was by a legislative change introduced in 2015, which stated that residency permits of refugees could be withdrawn due to changes in their home country. It was also stated that such a change does not have to be fundamental. In 2019, the immigration services of Denmark concluded that the violence in Damascus had stopped and that Syrians could now return home. This had the most severe impact on young women and older adults, as it was seen that men could be drafted into the army while older women had their children enrolled in Danish schools.

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