UNHCR criticizes new Danish refugee law

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says that UNHCR “strongly opposes” Denmark’s new law on the transfer of asylum-seekers to third countries

“This could see the forcible transfer of asylum-seekers and the abdication of Denmark’s responsibility for the asylum process and for protecting vulnerable refugees,” Mr. Grandi said in a statement.

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, speaks at a press conference , on the side of the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.

“UNHCR strongly opposes efforts that seek to externalize or outsource asylum and international protection obligations to other countries. Such efforts to evade responsibility run counter to the letter and spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention, as well as the Global Compact on Refugees where countries agreed to share more equitably the responsibility for refugee protection.”

Pragmatic alternatives

Already today nearly 90% percent of the world’s refugees live in developing or the least developed countries that – despite their limited resources – step up and meet their international legal obligations and responsibilities.

UNHCR has raised repeatedly its concerns and objections to the Danish government’s proposal and has offered advice and pragmatic alternatives.

“UNHCR will continue to engage in discussions with Denmark, which remains a valuable and long-standing partner to UNHCR, in order to find practical ways forward that ensure the confidence of the Danish people and uphold Denmark’s international commitments,” Mr. Grandi says in his statement.