Denmark criticised for not doing enough to assess torture risk for returning asylum-seekers
The Danish authorities perform too few investigations into whether asylum-seekers risk being tortured before sending them home, according to the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT).
Last year, just three asylum-seekers in Denmark were sent to a torture investigation, according to a survey of the forensic institutes at the universities in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus by Berlingske newspaper. That’s well below the approximate 45 per year carried out at the start of the 2000s.
“It’s my opinion we are sending asylum-seekers back and risking them being exposed to further torture because we are not good enough at identifying the risk early,” Jens Modvig, the head of UNCAT, told Berlingske.
“As a result we are not protecting asylum-seekers from torture adequately.”
Too few investigations
If a refugee claims to have been exposed to torture and uses it as a reason for seeking asylum, the refugee committee Flygtningenævnet and the immigration authorities Udlændingestyrelsen have the power to launch a forensic investigation.
But that’s not happening to an acceptable degree, according to Jytte Lindgård, the head of the association for immigration lawyers, Foreningen for Udlændingeretsadvokater.
“The consequence is that incorrect decisions are being made and we risk sending torture victims straight back to the nations where they’ve been tortured with a great risk they will be tortured again,” Lindgård said.