30. september 2009





SOS mod Racisme

Nørre Allé 7, 2200 Kbh. N



SOS mod Racisme og Foreningen af Udlændingeretsadvokater har appelleret til en række europæiske lande samt USA og Canada, om ikke at sende irakere, der er flygtet fra Danmark, tilbage til Danmark, men i stedet give dem international beskyttelse.


Grunden til dette er, at Danmark tilbagesender afviste asylansøgere til Irak, hvor de risikerer forfølgelse, tortur og umenneskelig behandling, skønt de er advaret hermod af FNs Flygtningeorganisation, UNHCR.


Tilbagesendelse til et land med stor risiko for forfølgelse, tortur og umenneskelig eller nedværdigende behandling kaldes refoulement, og dette er ikke tilladt efter Flygtningekonventionen og andre menneskerettighedskonventioner.


Appellen er kopieret ind neden for.


Anne Nielsen,

Formand for SOS mod Racisme.



Copenhagen, September 30, 2009




SOS Against Racism, Nørre Allé 7, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark




We urge you: Please do not return asylum seekers to Denmark!


To the governments of the following countries:


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America  



LIBE, The European Parliament, The European Commission, UNHCR, IOM, OSCE, Council of Europe, Amnesty International


SOS Against Racism, Denmark and The Lawyers' Association for asylum and immigration law appeal to the above named countries not to return to Denmark rejected asylum seekers who have fled from asylum centres in Denmark. The reason for our appeal is that Denmark forcibly returns refugees to Iraq in spite of warnings by the UNHCR that this may lead to refoulement. Thus, Denmark does not fulfil its obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights, the UN Convention of Refugees, the UN Convention against Torture, and the UN Convention of the Child.


Denmark is now forcibly deporting rejected Iraqi asylum seekers, who have previously stayed in Denmark during 3 – 11 years. Some Iraqis are at the moment in a Danish detention centre. Till now 35 rejected asylum seekers have been forcibly deported to Baghdad, escorted by Danish police, some of them stem from Central Iraq, and some belong to minority groups at special risks for persecution. We know that most of those returned have had to hide away because of persecution or fear of persecution, and that there was an attempt to kidnap the son of one of the deported. Five of the asylum seekers forcibly deported on September 2 were arrested upon arrival in Baghdad Airport, according to our information they were released after about one week.


The "UNHCR eligibility guidelines for assessing the international protection needs of Iraqi asylum-seekers" 1 from April 2009 states: "In view of the serious human rights violations and ongoing security incidents which are continuing in the country, most predominantly in the five Central Governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din, UNHCR continues to consider all Iraqi asylum seekers from these five Central Governorates to be in need of international protection". UNHCR has underlined this in a letter to the Danish government of May 28 2009 2, and said that any compulsory return of Iraqis from central Iraq may lead to refoulement of refugees. Refoulement is not allowed for any contracting state party according to the above mentioned human rights conventions. In the Danish newspaper, Politiken on September 8 2009 3 UNHCR Nordic Office Media Spokeswoman Hanne Mathisen in Stockholm stated: "A state that sends rejected asylum seekers from the central regions of Iraq back to that part of the country is carrying out a policy that violates UNHCR guidelines and contravenes the requirements of the convention on non-refoulement."


The European Parliament's Committee, LIBE, had after visiting Danish asylum centres on April 10 – 11  2008 urged Denmark to review all cases of rejected Iraqi asylum seekers with a view to granting them some form of international protection 4.


Most of the Iraqi rejected asylum seekers in Denmark are from the five central governorates. But neither the Ministry of Integration, nor the Refugees Appeal Board have for this reason allowed a renewed treatment of their case, and it is not possible to appeal the decisions from the Refugees Appeal Board to a Danish court or to the Danish Ombudsman.


UNHCR and Amnesty International and a vast number of Danish human rights organisations have expressed sharp criticism of the Danish government’s forced deportations. Lots of appeals have been made that the Iraqi refugees will at least be granted a permission to stay in Denmark on humanitarian grounds, but the Danish government has not wished to do so.


Besides the current case about forced deportations of Iraqi asylum seekers, asylum seekers and rejected asylum seekers are treated very badly in Denmark. The underlying agenda is that Denmark wishes to receive as few asylum seekers as possible, and to grant asylum to the fewest possible. Furthermore, the definition of a refugee used by the Ministry of Integration and by the Refugees Appeal Board is narrowed compared to the definition in the UN Convention of Refugees. According to current Danish practice a person will only be granted asylum if he or she can prove or make it very likely that he or she will be individually persecuted upon return to Iraq 5, e.g. if the asylum seeker has near relatives who have been murdered or tortured. This is a serious distortion of the purpose of the Convention of Refugees, and one reason why only few asylum seekers of those in need are granted asylum in Denmark.


If rejected asylum seekers do not leave Denmark voluntarily, they are punished with so-called ”motivational measures” in order to make them sign a contract that they will leave the country voluntarily. Among other things this includes: control at the Danish police usually 1 - 2 times a week, they only receive very little cash money for nutrition, or food allowances, they are moved to a deportation centre, and they may be imprisoned with no maximal duration but generally up to two years 6. These measures put deliberate pressure on them to leave the country voluntarily. The reason why very few actually do sign, is fear of persecution in the country they have fled from.


About this LIBE warned Denmark in its conclusion of its report after the visit in 2008: " It seems paradoxical to urge people to return voluntarily to a country to which Denmark itself cannot send them back under international law and because of the prohibition on all forms of inhuman or degrading treatment by ricochet. Your rapporteur calls on the Danish Government to create a clear legal status for those persons, along the lines of subsidiary protection, with a view to their integration." 4


Some rejected Iraqi asylum seekers have been in Denmark up to 11 years, during which time they have lived in a limbo. Many asylum seekers and their families break down mentally during this period, stressed by their incertain future and a meaningless life. They are denied basic human rights such as the right to work and to education and to settle where they want. Asylum seekers' children may be allowed, but do not have the right to education in public schools in Denmark, and many have received little and inadequate education without a possibility for a concluding exam when they finish school.


These refugees have been subjected to so much suffering in Denmark, and in spite of this they have tried to resist deportation to Iraq - since this alternative with its high risks of being killed is even worse. Many of the refugees now live hidden in Denmark to avoid deportation.


We appeal to your country that you will not return these persons to Denmark if they arrive in your country since they risk refoulement, but in stead give them international protection.



Yours sincerely


Anne Nielsen, chairman, and Birgitte Olesen, vice chairman, SOS Against Racism, Denmark

Contact:   / telephone: +45 51 90 71 66 (Anne Nielsen)


Helge Norrung, Spokesman on asylum, the Lawyers' Association for asylum and immigration law

Contact:    / telephone: +45 22 77 24 06 (Helge Nørrung)



1  eligibility guidelines for assessing the international protection needs of Iraqi asylum-seekers  






4 =final  report as adopted DK.doc   









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