UPR of Denmark: concern over rights of immigrants and minorities
Thursday, 05 May 2011 13:29


During the afternoon of 2 May 2011, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Denmark. The session also addressed the human rights concerns in the Danish territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The high level delegation was comprised of Mr Claus Grube, the Permanent Secretary of State for foreign affairs, as well as government representatives from Greenland and the Faroe Islands. States were effusive in their praise of Denmark in regards to its fight against human trafficking. However, certain States raised concerns over the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers in Danish society.

Specific recommendations, questions and comments raised included:

  • Recommendations for Denmark to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to give effect in domestic legislation to those treaties it has ratified, and for Greenland and the Faro Islands to ratify more international human rights instruments since they are at present party only to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Praise for efforts to create a more inclusive society through practical steps such as increasing the diversity of police officers coupled with encouragement to step up efforts against hate crimes and xenophobia.
  • Criticism of the failure to grant citizenship to stateless persons born in Denmark, such as Palestinians, despite requirements in the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Recommendations to change family reunification laws that require women to wait until they are 24 years old before they can marry a foreign spouse.
  • Necessity to adapt residence permit conditions for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and female non-citizens seeking divorces from abusive partners.
  • Appeals to Denmark not to repeal article 266b of the criminal code, which deals with degrading and insulting statements on the basis of race, belief, or sexual orientation. States held that to repeal this article would be in contravention of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
  • Concerns over impunity for marital rape reflected in the low conviction rates and low conviction rates for rape in general.
  • Recommendations to classify torture as a crime within Denmark's penal code.
  • Controversial acquiescence of Denmark to the CIA's extradition program with flights being carried out over Danish territory.
  • Only Sweden expressed concern about the use of large-scale preventive detention surrounding the UN Climate Change conference in 2009.
  • Comments on the so-called 'Mohammed drawings' varied between those of a purely political nature and more nuanced concern about balancing freedom of expression with preventing incitement to discrimination or violence.


The delegation of Denmark thanked all States for their comments and stated that it would respond in written form to any questions it had not been able to answer orally. It engaged constructively in the process, answering States' questions with clear examples of actions already taken in response to their human rights challenges. The representatives of Greenland and the Faroe Islands were also given the opportunity to answer questions and concerns related to human rights in their regions. At the adoption of the report, the delegation stated that it would provide positions on all recommendations at the latest by the 18th session of the Council, in September 2011.


For more information, including statements delivered and the report of the Working Group, see the OHCHR extranet (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 May 2011 10:44
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