European lawmakers criticise treatment of children in Danish asylum centres


Brussels : A delegation from the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament (EP) which has just returned from a visit of asylum centres in Denmark has expressed concern over the treatment of immigrant children in those centres .

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According to an EP statement today, the EP delegation leader Panayiotis Demetriou was very concerned about the psychological impact on the children of years of uncertainty as to their future. “At the very least, they should be treated like human beings,” he said.

The European lawmakers visited the Sandholm and Kongelunden centres with the Danish authorities and NGOs on 11 April. “The system creates children who are born in Denmark and speak nothing but Danish, but who are not accepted in society,” said EP Vice-President Martine Roure, who criticized the fact that asylum seekers have to stay in the centres, often for many years, without being given permission to work or join in social activities. The MEPs said, however, that living conditions in Denmark’s centres for asylum seekers and immigrants are “generally satisfactory.” In 2007, 2,246 persons applied for asylum in Denmark, down from 6,068 in 2002.

Of the 2007 figures, 93 were unaccompanied minors below the age of 18. A total of 1,278 persons were granted leave to remain in Denmark, 308 of whom were Iraqi interpreters and their families who had helped the Danish armed forces in Iraq and had fled the country for fear of reprisals. A total of 754 persons were waiting to leave Denmark after having had their final pleas for asylum rejected, noted the EP statement.