Law change would grant citizenship to children of Danish men

Eva Ersbøll, a senior researcher with human rights organisation, Institut for Menneskerettigheder said that, if passed, the law would affect a lot of children with Danish fathers (Photo: Colourbox)

The Justice Ministry is considering a law change that would greatly increase the rights of children worldwide who are born to Danish fathers.

The new proposal would mean that all children with Danish fathers could automatically become Danish citizens, no matter where the child is born and regardless of the mother's nationality.

The proposal, which will go into effect in May 2014 if passed, is a major step for equal rights, according to Eva Ersbøll, a senior researcher at the human rights organisation Institut for Menneskerettigheder.

“Equal rights for children of Danish parents are already better than ever and it will be at the top when the new law is passed,” Ersbøll told FOA union's news magazine, Fagbladet FOA. “The change will be relevant for a lot of people and they will get all the rights that Danish citizenship provides.”

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More gender equality
The law would not only address the problem of au pairs losing their residence permits after being impregnated by Danish men, it would also apply to children born to Danish men abroad.

As of today, children who are born abroad and out of wedlock are only automatically considered citizens if the mother is Danish.

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Mothers must register Danish fathers
Inger Neufeld, a spokesperson for the children’s rights organisation Red Barnet, welcomed the proposal.

“This will ensure that the rights of children will be even better and it grants equal rights to children who have been born in and out of wedlock,” Neufeld told Fagbladet FOA. “If mothers don’t register their children as having Danish fathers, they won’t have their rights. That necessitates that the mothers be informed that their children should be registered.”

It is possible today for children born abroad to a Danish father and a foreign mother to gain Danish citizenship, but the child must apply for citizenship before turning 18.