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09 June 2022

ECRI country monitoring in Denmark: sixth report

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The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) of the Council of Europe launched its sixth report on Denmark, available in English, French and Danish.

The report welcomes several positive developments:

  • Regarding LGBTQI+ equality, Denmark performs better than the OECD average, scoring fifth of 49 countries surveyed. Actions and plans to prevent hate speech have been drawn up, and legislative improvements have recently been made to ensure equality in terms of family law and gender recognition.
  • Danish language lessons, as well as lessons on Danish culture, the labour market and social conditions, have been made available free of charge for all immigrants and foreigners. Special support is provided to Greenlandic students, in the form of intensive Danish language training.
  • Efforts have been made in some municipalities to ensure access in public places to COVID-19 vaccines for migrant communities.

The report also highlights several points of concern:

  • There are still shortcomings in the mandate of the Board of Equal Treatment, as mentioned in previous recommendations.
  • Human rights training for teachers is not guaranteed, resulting in weak coverage of human rights in schools and putting the social integration of migrant students at risk.
  • Muslims in Denmark are increasingly depicted as a threat to Danish values and culture, including by politicians of different parties – one party even advocates for “cleansing” of Muslims -, which has a negative impact on both the social and economic integration migrants.
  • The “ghetto policy” pursued by Danish authorities, which classifies migrants as “westerners” or “non-westerners”, is highlighted as a major concern. The policy aims at mix “native Danes”, other EU citizens and “non-westerners” more evenly across neighbourhoods, to avoid so-called “parallel societies”. ECRI finds this policy problematic for a number of reasons, including the fact that job centres are now labelling some migrants as “non-westerners”, thereby further stigmatising migrants in the labour market. In addition, report decries the fact that non-attendance at day care of “non-western” children above the age of 1 - in the areas where there are “parallel societies” - results in termination of child benefits.

Based on the concerns listed above the ECRI made 14 recommendations to the Danish state, including two interim follow-up recommendations that it requested be prioritised by authorities:

  1. ECRI recommends that Danish authorities introduce a national action plan against racism, with particular emphasis on preventing anti-Muslim racism and discrimination. The action plan should take a holistic approach and include actions in, for example, the areas of education, public awareness, promotion of counter-hate speech and the training of relevant professionals, such as law enforcement officials and teachers. Efforts to secure a proportion of staff from Muslim and other minority backgrounds in such professions should be among the elements of this action plan.*
  2. ECRI recommends that Danish authorities avoid categorising people as “non-westerners”, EU citizens and “native Danes” in “parallel society” neighbourhoods, and instead introduce positive incentives for all concerned in order to achieve the stated aim of mixing these groups.

* This recommendation has partly been met, as the Danish government decided in January 2022 to allocate funds for an action plan against racism. However, the plan initiative does not focus specifically on Muslims, as requested by ECRI.

ECRI 6th report Denmark ENG
(1016.89 KB - PDF)
ECRI 6th report Denmark FRA
(1.11 MB - PDF)
ECRI 6th report Denmark DAN
(1.03 MB - PDF)


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Posted by
Michala Clante Bendixen
Country Coordinator

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