Leftist groups urge Danish government to receive more refugees

Leftist groups in Denmark have demanded the social democrat-led government to raise the country’s refugee quota and receive at least 500 refugees annually, which was the case before 2016

August 07, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
According to figures released by the UNHCR, there are around 70 million people who have been displaced due to various reasons worldwide. Photo: UNHCR

Leftist groups in Denmark, including the Enhedslisten (Red-Green Alliance) and its youth wing Young Red-Greens, have urged the government to increase the annual intake of refugees in the country. The youth group issued a statement with this demand on August 6, after the Danish government agreed to receive only 200 refugees annually under the European Union (EU) quota system.

It has been estimated that by the end of 2019, approximately 79.5 million people globally were forced to flee their homes due to civil wars, climate catastrophes and displacement due to development. While Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway annually receive 3,000 and 5,000 refugees, respectively, as part of the EU quota system for the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers, since 1978, Denmark has received only 500 refugees each year. This too was halted in 2016 by the then Danish minister for immigration, integration and housing, Inger Støjberg.

The Young Red-Greens said, “Humans flee war and persecution. From death and destruction. It’s shameful that we in Denmark don’t lift a larger share of the responsibility. Even if we received 500, it’s a number that fades in comparison to what a country like ours can do. Of course we can’t help all 79.5 million refugees in the world, but we can help thousands more than we do today – and we can help them without putting them in camps with torture-like conditions. Because it is our duty to ensure that all people in Denmark have opportunities for a dignified life. Refugees too.”

Rosa Lund, MP from the Enhedslisten, welcomed the government’s decision to resume the reception of refugees which was halted in 2016. However, she added that Denmark should have agreed to receive more than 200 refugees, a number which is too low, and also that reception should be irrespective of religion.

As per Lund, “Right now, there are more than 70 million people on the run. Unaccompanied children sitting in Moria camp have limited access to water and medicine, and are being assaulted. There are people who pay unscrupulous human traffickers everything they have and more to get away from Islamic State in Syria. The horrible explosion in Lebanon, which is among the countries housing the most refugees, will most likely mean that more people will need protection due to the tensions already in the country.”

“Denmark needs to go up to at least 500 quota refugees that we took before 2016. And with the situation in the world today, we can easily take more,” she added.

The government had previously guaranteed funds for the reception of 500 refugees annually in the country’s Finance Act 2020. But the incumbent immigration and integration minister, Mattias Tesfaye, approved only 200 receptions stating that the integration challenges are too great to accommodate a larger number.

Far-right and hyper nationalist groups across Europe have been making desperate bids to block the reception of refugees in their countries. In Denmark, anti-refugee groups are active and have been making targeted discriminatory attacks against the Muslim immigrants in the country. Danish leftist groups, such as the Enhedslisten, have been resisting such discriminatory bids against refugees. The Enhedslisten is an eco-socialist left-wing political party with 13 MPs in the current Folketing (Danish parliament), and provides support to the coalition government led by Mette Frederiksen from the Social Democratic Party.