Denmark police confiscate thousands of euros from refugees
Danish police have confiscated cash worth thousands of euros from refugees under a controversial law it adopted earlier this year to stem the flow of asylum seekers into the country.
“The police in Copenhagen have seized around 79,600 kroner (10,700 euros, $11,900) from five foreigners who were trying to enter the country with fake identity papers,” the police said in a statement on Thursday.
The cash was confiscated from two men and three women who were arrested late Tuesday at Copenhagen’s airport and placed in detention for using fake documents.
Police added that the five arrested have asked for asylum, which is under review.
In late January, Denmark’s lawmakers approved the controversial proposal to confiscate refugees’ valuables with the declared aim of helping them cover their accommodation costs in the country.
The bill is considered as the latest attempt by the center-right government of Denmark to curb the influx of asylum seekers into the country.
It allows police to seize valuables worth more than DKK 10,000 (about USD 1,450) from asylum seekers while their cases are being processed. It also includes measures such as delaying family reunification to at least three years.
The contentious proposal has faced widespread criticism at home and abroad when it was announced earlier this month.
Denmark is not the first European country to demand the assets of asylum seekers.
Switzerland faced criticism for seizing assets from about 100 people in 2015. Under Swiss regulations, asylum seekers have to hand over assets above USD 1,000.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned that the proposal violates the UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
More than 214,860 asylum seekers have reached Europe via the Mediterranean so far this year, while 2,860 people died or went missing in their perilous journey to the continent, according to the latest figures by the International Organization of Migration.