A European Parliament report recommended that Denmark conduct an independent investigation into its involvement in the US-led rendition programme. A suspension of the transfer of detainees to the Afghan intelligence service by Danish armed forces was lifted despite the real risk of torture and other ill-treatment faced by those transferred. Immigration detention practices in relation to vulnerable people remained a cause for concern.
In April, the government established a commission to examine Denmark’s involvement in the Iraq war, including claims that the army transferred detainees to the Iraqi authorities despite allegedly knowing that they would be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. In October, it emerged that Danish soldiers were in possession of video footage apparently showing detainee mistreatment by Iraqi soldiers.
In October, the suspension of transfers of detainees by Danish armed forces to the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), was lifted despite the real risk of torture and other ill-treatment that those held by the NDS faced. As a result, on 20 October and 23 November, Danish armed forces in Afghanistan transferred Afghan detainees to the NDS facility in Lashkar Gah.Top of page
In September, a European Parliament report recommended that Denmark conduct an independent investigation into its alleged complicity in the CIA’s rendition programme. A study commissioned by the government and conducted by the Danish Institute of International Studies, published in May, involved a paper review of previously collected documents, which did not amount to a human rights compliant investigation.
Also in September, an expert committee presented a draft bill providing for independent oversight of the collection and storage of data on private individuals and organizations by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service. However, concerns were raised that the bill did not establish a properly independent and effective control mechanism. Nor did it contain substantive provisions on the passing of such information to foreign intelligence services.Top of page
In August, the director of the Independent Police Complaints Authority stated that a considerable number of complaints against the police had to be closed without further action being taken because it was not possible to identify the officers involved. As a result, several politicians called for police officers to wear identity numbers on their uniform – a suggestion opposed by heads of police.Top of page
In November, the Standing Committee on Criminal Law issued its report on sexual offences, which contained several proposals for legislative reform. These included the criminalization of sexual abuse by a spouse, where the victim is in a “helpless state”; and to end the possibility of reduced or rescinded criminal punishments if the perpetrator and the victim marry each other or continue to be married after a rape.Top of page
Vulnerable people – including victims of torture, persons with a mental illness and unaccompanied minors – continued to be detained for immigration control purposes.
There were no forcible returns to Syria during the year. The Danish Immigration Services granted protection status to Syrian asylum-seekers in about 88% of cases. However, the remaining asylum-seekers from Syria – around 180 cases – were denied asylum and the possibility to work or study in Denmark.
Some asylum-seekers from countries such as Uganda, who were at risk of persecution at home due to their sexual orientation, were denied asylum based on arguments that they should “hide” their sexuality.