International Round-Up: Denmark paid 40 million kroner to UK to take Afghan interpreters

Elsewhere, the government solidified links in Asia and strengthened diplomatic ties in Ghana

Denmark paid the UK 39.8 million kroner in 2013 to take in 23 Afghan interpreters who had worked for the Danish state, reports Berlingske.

The deal, which had been kept under wraps until now, involved 11 interpreters who already wanted to travel to the UK and 12 others who had been denied an entry visa to Denmark.

“I have never encountered a situation where people are paid for humanitarian reasons. This is totally incompatible with our traditions of humanitarian aid,” lawyer Poul Hauch Fenger, and asylum expert and a former member of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told Berlingske.

READ ALSO: Denmark paying UK to take its Afghan interpreters 

Ongoing dilemma
A total of 1,077 people from Afghanistan, including 236 interpreters and their family members who were evacuated to Denmark after the fall of Kabul in August, are still being processed for asylum.

According to an internal Defence Agency memo from June 2021, only 9 out of 116 Afghan interpreters have been granted asylum.

Some 50 applicants were refused, and another 57 apparently “received some financial support to resettle inside Afghanistan”.

In related news, Denmark has succeeded in helping 21 individuals out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan in late November. Some 13 arrived in Copenhagen on November 24 and the remainder were expected to arrive later in the week.

Denmark and China ink green co-op deal
The foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, visited Hangzhou on November 26 to meet his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to discuss Danish-Chinese relations and exchange views on foreign policy, human rights, and global issues such as climate change. Among other things, they committed to finalising and reaching an agreement on a ‘Green China-Denmark Joint Work Program’ in 2022, with a particular emphasis on addressing climate change and promoting co-operation in areas such as the green transition, the environment, water, agriculture, food safety, health and maritime affairs.

Denmark forgets Dublin Regulation
In recent months, 28 Syrians and their families denied asylum in Denmark have ended up in other European countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Austria, Belgium, Sweden and France. Niels-Erik Hansen, an immigration lawyer who represented three of the Syrians before the Refugee Board, believes that Denmark “exports its asylum problems”. Denmark does not respect the Dublin Regulation, which aims to ensure that the first country approached by migrants should be solely responsible for processing their application.

Landmark IS citizenship decision on the way
One of the Islamic State (IS) women in the al-Roj prison camp in Syria is suing the Immigration Ministry in connection to the respective minister, Mattias Tesfaye, having her Danish passport revoked and her citizenship stripped in 2019. Her lawyer Knud Foldschack told DR reporters: “This is the first time that a court has to decide whether a decision of such scope and with such serious consequences can be made at a desk without prior verification of the case and facts.” In 2014, the woman travelled to the IS caliphate with her husband, who was later killed in a US drone strike. The 31-year-old is currently jailed with her two children. 

Denmark upgrades ASEAN link
Denmark has moved to upgrade its relations with the ASEAN peace and co-operation treaty and organisation that encompasses 650 million people in Southeast Asia. This enhanced collaboration ensures that Danish interests in trade security policies in the region will flourish. During his visit to ASEAN’s Jakarta headquarters, the foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, explained: “Maritime transport in the region must be secure so that our export companies have clear trade routes in Asia. We need to prepare for Denmark’s application to the UN Security Council and realise our global climate ambitions”.

Mette visits Ghana
From November 24-25, PM Mette Frederiksen visited Ghana with Venstre head Jakob Ellemann-Jensen to meet the Ghanaian leaders and to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The move came in the wake of the news that the Danish frigate Esbern Snare had been deployed in the Gulf of Guinea to combat piracy until April 2022, and it coincided with the ship’s crew killing four people during a firefight.

Greenland ousts Aussie miners
A majority of the Inatsisartut, the Greenlandic parliament, voted against plans for Australian company Greenland Minerals to mine a mountain in Kvanefjeld. The politicians contended that any construction site would present risks of disturbance of the earth’s layers and a dissemination of toxic materials – mainly uranium and thorium. Last spring’s elections are believed to have played an important role in this decision, as the victorious parties are sceptical of the mining project.

Ukrainians caught with cargo of valuable bicycles
Two Ukrainians, aged 28 and 29, were arrested in a van at the Årslev V rest area on the Sønderjyske motorway near Aabenraa at the border with 31 bicycles worth 185,000 kroner. All of them had been stolen in Funen. They were sentenced by a magistrate at Sønderborg District Court to eight months’ imprisonment and deportation with a six-year ban on re-entry.