The New York Times: Denmark Plans to Isolate Unwanted Migrants on a Small Island

7 December, 2018


“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the country’s immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, said about a government plan to house unwelcome foreigners on a remote island. Photo Credit : Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Populism reigns, with an Australian inspiration. The Danish authorities posit that such arrangement cannot be considered a detention centre as the doors of the buildings are open. But this type of Nauru-style warehousing with an avowed deterrence and punishment objective will still be experienced as detention by the migrants. Hopefully, the European Court of human Rights will intervene and find this “containment” inhuman and degrading treatment for people who have committed no crime. Many thanks to Dieynaba and Elizabeth.”

COPENHAGEN — Denmark plans to house the country’s most unwelcome foreigners in a most unwelcoming place: a tiny, hard-to-reach island that now holds the laboratories, stables and crematory of a center for researching contagious animal diseases.

As if to make the message clearer, one of the two ferries that serve the island is called the Virus.

“They are unwanted in Denmark, and they will feel that,” the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, wrote on Facebook.

On Friday, the center-right government and the right-wing Danish People’s Party announced an agreement to house as many as 100 people on Lindholm Island — foreigners who have been convicted of crimes but who cannot be returned to their home countries. Many would be rejected asylum seekers.

The 17-acre island, in an inlet of the Baltic Sea, lies about two miles from the nearest shore, and ferry service is infrequent. Foreigners will be required to report at the island center daily, and face imprisonment if they do not.

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