EU wants to Denmark to axe contentious ‘Jewellery Law’ – The Post

EU wants to Denmark to axe contentious ‘Jewellery Law’

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance lists 24 areas needing improvement

Ending ethnic segregation at Langkær school in Aarhus was a priority (photo: Langkær Skole)
May 16th, 2017 10:48 am| by Christian W
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Denmark’s efforts to toughen up its immigration legislation in recent years have not gone unnoticed abroad, at least not by the EU.

In a new report, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) deplored Denmark’s recent decision to implement more stringent family reunification laws and called for the government to scrap the controversial ‘Jewellery Law’, which targets asylum seekers and was passed last year.



“Tightening rules for family reunification increases the danger of minors being separated from their families for indefinite periods of time and makes them more vulnerable to trafficking and sexual abuse,” said Thorbjørn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council of Europe.

READ MORE: If they don’t like my rules, let them eat cake, says Danish integration minister

24 recommendations
In the report (here in English) the ECRI had a long list of recommendations for Denmark, including adjusting its integration program, having better dialogue with minority groups and producing a Roma-centric strategy. (see all 24 recommendations below).

Two in particular were deemed to be of the highest priority by ECRI and ought to be implemented within the next two years.

Those are for a comprehensive data collection system for racist and homo-/transphobic hate speech incidents to be set up, and putting an end to the ethnic segregation at Langkær school in Aarhus and preventing any such practices in Danish schools in the future.

The report also indicated that racist hate speech, particularly against Muslims, should be curbed, while data collection for hate crime incidents should be improved.

ECRI's list of recommendations:


The position of the recommendations in the text of the report is shown in parentheses.

1. (§ 2) ECRI reiterates its previous recommendation to sign and ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

2. (§ 8) ECRI recommends that the authorities bring the Danish criminal law, in general, into line with its General Policy Recommendation No. 7 as indicated in the preceding paragraphs; in particular they should (i) add language and citizenship to the list of enumerated grounds in Article 266(b), and “race”, colour, language and citizenship to the list of enumerated grounds in Article 81(6) of the Criminal Code; (ii) criminalise the public denial, trivialisation, justification or condoning, with a racist aim, of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, (iii) criminalise the creation or the leadership of a group which promotes racism, support for such a group, and participation in its activities.

3. (§ 12) ECRI recommends that the authorities bring their civil and administrative law, into line with its General Policy Recommendation No. 7 as indicated in the preceding paragraphs; in particular they should amend the Act on Ethnic Equal Treatment to include (i) colour, language, religion and citizenship as enumerated grounds; and (ii) a prohibition of acts of segregation, discrimination by association, announced intention to discriminate and inciting or aiding another to discriminate. The authorities should also amend the civil and administrative law to include (iii) an obligation to suppress public financing of organisations, including political parties, which promote racism, and (iv) the possibility of dissolving organisations which promote racism.

4. (§ 17) ECRI recommends that the authorities amend their civil and administrative law, in line with its General Policy Recommendation No. 7 as indicated in the preceding paragraphs, in particular they should extend the mandate of the Board of Equal Treatment (i) to include expressly the ground of language in the list of enumerated grounds applicable to the employment field, and the grounds of colour, religion, citizenship and language in the list of enumerated grounds applicable outside the employment field; (ii) to grant the Ombudsman the right to initiate court cases even when a specific victim is not referred to; and (iii) to amend the Ombudsman Act and the Act on the Board of Equal Treatment to provide for protection against retaliatory measures.

5. (§ 21) ECRI recommends that the Danish authorities set up a comprehensive data collection system for racist and homo-/transphobic hate speech incidents, with fully disaggregated data by category of offence, type of hate motivation, target group, as well as judicial follow-up and outcome. Furthermore, the authorities should take active measures to tackle under-reporting of hate speech, including by taking inspiration from ECRI’s General Policy Recommendation No. 15 on combating hate speech.

6. (§ 29) ECRI reiterates its recommendation that the authorities impart to the media the need to ensure that their information does not contribute to hostility towards members of groups subjected to hate speech. The authorities should also encourage and support initiatives by the media industry to (i) provide antiracism training to journalists, and (ii) debate the image they convey to the public of Islam and Muslim communities.

7. (§ 34) ECRI recommends that the authorities provide training on how to handle hate crime cases to police and prosecutorial staff on an ongoing basis across the country. Cooperating partners in this training should also include the DIHR, 34 the Jewish, Muslim and Black communities, ethnic minority associations, refugee support groups and the LGBT community.

8. (§ 36) ECRI recommends that the authorities integrate, into the national strategy on the prevention of radicalisation and extremism, and the follow-up national action plan, specific measures to combat islamophobic hate speech, inter alia, by making use of ECRI’s General Policy Recommendations No. 5 on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims and No. 15 on combating hate speech.

9. (§ 40) ECRI recommends that the authorities encourage the country’s political leadership and representatives always to condemn all forms of racist and homo-/transphobic hate speech and apply appropriate sanctions when necessary.

10. (§ 44) ECRI recommends that the authorities facilitate closer cooperation between Muslim communities and the police to prevent and combat islamophobic violence.

11. (§ 48) ECRI recommends that the authorities promote increased dialogue between members of the LGBT community and the police in order to facilitate the reporting of homo-/transphobic violence.

12. (§ 50) ECRI recommends that the authorities ensure that the hate crime data collection system can trace the judicial follow-up of incidents involving racist and homo-/transphobic violence, including acts of vandalism.

13. (§ 53) ECRI recommends that, in cases of vandalism of religious sites, the police take hate motivations into consideration from the beginning of their investigation.

14. (§ 66) ECRI recommends that the authorities carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the integration programme, with a view to assessing its outcomes in terms of effectiveness as regards language and skills acquisition, and adjusting it where necessary.

15. (§ 70) ECRI recommends that the authorities review the appropriateness of the integration benefit, including the amounts, with a view to ensuring that it can promote the integration of newly arrived immigrants into Danish society. The authorities should also modify any elements that could amount to discrimination, such as providing additional payments upon passing of an intermediate-level Danish language test.

16. (§ 72) ECRI strongly recommends that the authorities ensure that the need to apply for social welfare payments does not lead to loss of residency rights for non-EU spouses of Danish citizens.

17. (§ 75) ECRI reiterates its recommendation that the authorities carry out a wideranging reform of the spousal reunification rules in order to remove any elements which amount to direct or indirect discrimination and/or which are disproportionate to their stated aims. The Danish authorities should execute the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Biao case in a way that does not render family unifications even more difficult.

18. (§ 77) ECRI recommends that the authorities revise the criteria contained in the rules for assessing the integration potential in the context of family reunifications with a view to establishing adequate safeguards against discrimination on the grounds of “race”, religion, colour, language, citizenship and ethnic or national origin during the assessment process.

19. (§ 79) ECRI recommends that the authorities amend the Aliens’ Act with a view to granting beneficiaries of temporary subsidiary protection access to family reunification during their first year of residence in Denmark. 35

20. (§ 82) ECRI recommends that the authorities take urgent measures to end ethnic segregation in the Langkaer school in Aarhus and to prevent any such practices in Danish schools in the future. Furthermore, ECRI reiterates its recommendation made in 2012 to combat school segregation by devising, in consultation with all the parties concerned and taking into account the socioeconomic dimension (employment and housing) policies to avoid, in the best interests of the child, pupils from minority groups being overrepresented in certain schools as proposed in its General Policy Recommendation No.10 on combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school education.

21. (§ 86) ECRI recommends that the Danish authorities discontinue the confiscation of cash and jewellery from asylum seekers.

22. (§ 89) ECRI recommends that the authorities carry out an independent study into the situation of the Black community in Denmark with regard to their experiences of discrimination and obstacles to better integration.

23. (§ 91) ECRI recommends that the Danish authorities carry out a comprehensive evaluation of their support programmes for members of the Greenlandic (Inuit) community residing in Denmark, in order to assess how to further enhance the support for their social integration.

24. (§ 93) ECRI recommends that the authorities evaluate the situation of the Roma community with a view to developing a Roma-specific strategy.