Denmark’s parliament Thursday approved a measure that would allow the nation to relocate asylum seekers to an as yet unnamed third country, most likely outside Europe.
The measure, proposed by the Social Democrat-led government, was approved on a 70-24 vote, and would allow the nation to transfer asylum seekers to detention centers in partnering countries, where their cases would then be reviewed from those countries.
The United Nations high commissioner for refugees, the European Union and several international organizations have criticized the plan, saying it would undermine international cooperation and lacks details on how human rights would be protected.
In a statement from Brussels, EU spokesman Adalbert Jahnz said the bloc was carefully analyzing the new law and said it raised concerns about access to protections for refugees and is not possible under EU rules.
Speaking to the Associated Press, advocacy and legal aid organization Refugees Welcome spokeswoman Michala Bendixen was more blunt. “This is insane, this is absurd. What it’s all about is that Denmark wants to get rid of refugees. The plan is to scare people away from seeking asylum in Denmark.”
The AP reports that Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during his election campaign and again in January he envisioned having “zero asylum-seekers” in Denmark.
Denmark has yet to reach an agreement with a partner country, but there are negotiations with several candidate countries, mostly likely in Africa. Earlier this year, the government signed a preliminary agreement with Rwanda about immigration and asylum issues.