13:16 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Denmark row over refugee jewelry

    Removing Refugee Jewelry 'Not a Police Matter' - Danish Union Chief

    © AFP 2019 / Bertrand Guay
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    Deep divisions are appearing between Denmark's police force and the country's government following a suggestion made by the Integration minister that refugees should be stripped of their jewelry.

    Proposals submitted in a draft bill to the Danish parliament on 10 December included confiscating expensive jewelry items from poeple seeking asylum, including wedding rings, if police considered the item "reasonable" (expensive enough).

    However, Danish Police Union leader Claus Oxfedlt has lashed out at Integration minister Inger Stoberg, saying that valuing someone's wedding ring is not a police matter.

    "It is not possible for us to judge whether a ring has value of US$146 (1,000 kroner), US$730 (5,000 kroner), or US$1,461 (10,000 kroner)," Oxfedlt said.

    ​The Danish government is no stranger to making controversial immigration decisions. Denmark was the first country to pay for advertising space in Lebanese newspapers warning refugees not to travel to the Scandinavian country and cut benefits to asylum seekers by 45 percent.

    And it's no surprise the integration minister does not agree with what the Police Union chief has to say. "I think most people can tell whether something is worth a thousand or US$ 2,922 (20,000 kroner), and if there is doubt, you can have it values or choose not to take it," Inger Støjberg told national broadcaster DR.

    "This is about very general principle in Denmark. If you can provide for yourself, you will provide for yourself. This also applies to refugees.

    "The police must see whether, for example, large amounts of money are being brought in. If they are, stays at asylum centers must be paid for [by the refugee] for as long as possible," Støjberg added.

    Inger Støjberg denies that the proposal ever included removing someone's wedding ring — but it remains a grey area for police if the ring is deemed to be valuable.

    More than a million refugees have arrived in European countries this year, many of them stripped of their possessions and their life savings by people smugglers.

    Their dignity is sometimes all they have left.

    ​The debate by MPs whether refugees should have their jewelry stripped by Danish police isn't expected to take place until January 2016.

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    Tags:
    rings, asylum seekers, jewellery, personal belongings, migrants, refugee crisis, police, European Union, Inger Støjberg, Europe, Denmark
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