Denmark passed a controversial law to seize valuables from refugees.
Lawmakers approved the legislation on Tuesday to seize valuables and cash from asylum seekers. The valuables may be seized to cover the expenses of the refugees. The law had huge support in the parliament. Eighty-one people voted in favour, 27 against and one abstained.
The “jewellery bill” will allow authorities to seize valuables worth more than 10,000 Danish kroner ($2,075). Denmark has a tradition of being liberal, promoting democratic values. It has immediately been criticised for passing such a law.
Amnesty International was quick to slam the law.
“It’s simply cruel to force people who are running from conflicts to make an impossible choice: either bring children and other loved ones on dangerous, even lethal journeys, or leave them behind and face a prolonged separation while family members continue to suffer the horrors of war,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s deputy director for europe and central asia.
The director added, “Separation can have a devastating impact on families, including their rehabilitation from experiences of trauma and their ability to integrate and adapt to life in a new country.”
According to the law, computers, mobile phones and watches can be seized. However, items with sentimental value will be exempted. Such items include “wedding rings, engagement rings, family portraits, decorations and medals, and the like.”
The aforementioned items won’t be seized since those “cannot normally be replaced by a newly purchased item.”
The law is applicable to refugees who are already in Denmark. It is expected to pressure all EU countries. Still, the government decided to go with the law since it is expected to “tighten Danish refugee policies.”
“A too high number of refugees puts pressure on the Danish society and makes it more difficult to ensure a successful integration of those who come to Denmark,” the government statement says.