Denmark may follow UK lead on sending asylum seekers to Rwanda

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Denmark is mulling the possibility of transferring its asylum seekers to Rwanda, the most overpopulated country on the African continent.

“Our dialogue with the Rwandan government includes a mechanism for the transfer of asylum seekers,” Immigration Minister Mattias Tesfaye announced this week.

The deal would aim to “ensure a more dignified approach than the criminal network of human traffickers that characterises migration across the Mediterranean today.”

Tesfaye’s father is an Ethiopian refugee.

Sending asylum seekers abroad for processing is “both irresponsible and lacking in solidarity,” the Danish Refugee Council, an NGO, said in a statement.

This possible move is similar to what Britain announced last week, but it is the first European Union member to consider using Rwanda.

Increasingly strict

The right-wing Scandinavian country has moved towards more draconian measures towards asylum seekers. In 2021 it passed a law saying that refugees in Denmark can be moved to asylum centres in a partner country.

The much-criticised law did not enact any transfers at that time as it had not found a partner country.

Denmark has been in talks with various countries, such as Ethiopia and Tunisia, in order to find a partner to move migrants.

While the EU said its current bloc rules prohibited refugee relocations, Denmark is exempt from some of these rules, including asylum standards.

Denmark has not signed any asylum transfer documents with Rwanda yet, but minister Tesfaye said that immigration speakers in parliament would be meeting a week from now to discuss the situation.

The parliament must approve any deal with the east African country.

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