The Danish immigration minister has made an about turn on her policy of accepting Iraqi refugees under the United Nations agreement. Just eight weeks ago Immigration Minister Birthe Ronn Hornbech announced that Denmark would be accepting a quota of refugees from the Arabic nation.
However, this week she reversed the decision, saying that priority would now be afforded to refugees from Burma residing in Malaysia. The minister also announced that Denmark would be refusing refugees from fellow Muslim countries Jordan and Syria.
Speaking to the Politiken newspaper Margrethe Vestager, leader for the Social Liberal party, demanded an explanation for the sudden u-turn, suspecting domestic politics have influenced the decision. “Birthe Ronn doesn’t want to be in a position where she is throwing Iraqis out of the country, while at the same time bringing more in,” said Vestager.
Birthe Ronn refused to be drawn into comment over the Iraqi affair apart from commenting that Burmese refugees have in the past proven good at integration into countries where they have resettled.
Refugees differ from asylum seekers in that they are offered the resettlement under laws handed down by the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees, which is based on a quota and criteria basis.
Denmark is under agreement to take 500 refugees annually who must meet a range of considerations such as health status, safety risks and geographical origin.