The New York declaration signed by the Danish government on September 19 included the following statement:
We urge States who have not yet established resettlement programmes to consider doing so at the earliest opportunity; those who have already done so are encouraged to consider increases in the size of their programmes. It is our aim to provide resettlement places and other legal pathways for admission on a scale which would enable the annual resettlement needs identified by UNHCR to be met.
However, the reality of the Danish policies on resettlement does not reflect any such commitment. In fact, the Danish government has announced a suspension of resettlement under the UNHCR resettlement programme. The initiative came in the context of a broader list of actions to reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving in Denmark. At a time of a global displacement crisis with more than 65 million in forced displacement this vital effort is now suspended for a period of at least 3-4 years.
“It is the worst possible decision at the worst possible time. At a moment where we are facing a historic crisis – a crisis that will increase over the coming years through conflict and poverty further fueled by climate change the Danish government has chosen to continue the narrow ‘race to the bottom’ rather than contributing to global solutions. It sends exactly the wrong message at a time where we desperately need political leadership and solidarity,” says general secretary for the Danish Refugee Council, Andreas Kamm.
The Danish quota for resettlement places has remained stable since about 1979 at around 500 places per year. The programme includes both dossier cases for urgent and emergency priorities and selection missions for all kinds of submissions. The 500 quota also includes a special category of 20 to 30 places for persons with special medical needs.