Denmark holding secret talks on asylum camps in Africa

TEHRAN, May 06 (MNA) – The Danish government is holding negotiations with countries in Africa about potentially opening a camp for asylum seekers on foreign soil, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported.

So far, representatives of the Danish government have held talks with Ethiopia, Tunisia and Rwanda.

According to the newspaper, a secret delegation of top Danish officials travelled to Ethiopia, which borders Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea, in October 2020 to discuss establishing an asylum camp outside Europe's borders, Sputnik reported. 

One month later, a similar delegation travelled to Tunisia, which borders Libya.

The ruling Social Democrats launched the plan for an asylum centre outside the EU as early as 2018.

“Hereby, we can help more people in their immediate area without them having to turn to human traffickers and make dangerous journeys along the migration routes,” Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye explained.

“Our starting point is that there must be a secure third country with a democratically elected government,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said earlier.

Most recently, Denmark and Rwanda agreed to enter a closer cooperation on asylum seekers during a visit shrouded in secrecy, TV2 reported. Two Danish ministers suddenly appeared in Rwanda to sign a mysterious agreement, and the ministers' trip only became known to the broad Danish public because Rwanda's Foreign Ministry posted pictures of it on Twitter.

​The ministers themselves, Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye and Development Minister Flemming Møller Mortensen, were silent about the talks, whose content only emerged later. Among others, the memorandum of understanding outlined the Danish government's vision that the processing of asylum applications must take place outside the EU.

Rwanda was previously named a possible host country for a Danish reception centre, where asylum seekers will be flown to, and the memorandum is seen as a step to its establishment.

Remarkably, the new bill, which was recently sent to parliament, the Danish government intends given up the requirement that the reception centre must be located in a democracy. This allows the government to locate the reception centre in Ethiopia or Rwanda, which according to Danish standards are classified as authoritarian.

Consecutive Danish governments have tightened the country's immigration laws, drawing criticism from human rights activists and international bodies, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR).

MAH/Sputnik

News Code 173049

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