04:26 GMT +323 May 2017
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    Migrants in Padborg, Denmark

    Denmark Laments Deported Refugees Beaten Up En Route to Home Country

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    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (138)
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    In recent months, Denmark left no stone unturned in its attempts to tighten its migration laws and expel refused asylum seekers back to their home countries. However, an incident involving police brutality towards deported refugees has once again raised the issue of human rights violations.

    Two deported asylum seekers were beaten up by an Afghan police officer aboard a flight to Afghanistan, which was chartered by the Danish National Police. Remarkably, the beating happened in the presence of Danish police officers, the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote citing a confidential report.

    According to the report, the two victims refused to disembark the plane after the landing in Afghanistan's capital city Kabul and were subsequently hit in the head and body with fists by an Afghan police officer.

    A total of 16 rejected asylum seekers from Afghanistan were expelled to their home country using the same flight. The deportation, which took place in February this year, triggered protests from pro-refugee activists, such as Refugees Welcome Denmark, who claimed to employ passive resistance techniques popularized by Mahatma Gandhi.

    Swedish police prepare to check an incoming train at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark in Malmo, Sweden
    © AFP 2017/ TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON
    The deportation was assisted by 50 Danish officers, who apparently did nothing to prevent the abuse from Afghan colleagues. The extent of the Danish intervention in the incident was not described in the report, however two Danish police officers reportedly assisted their Afghan colleague by fastening the wrists of one of the men, who was claimed to have suffered "four to six" powerful blows to the head. There two men were also described as being hit by fists, a plastic bag containing an unidentified object and having their hair pulled in what was classified as "unjustifiable use of force."

    Peter Vedel Kessing of the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen of Sweden's Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights ventured that the incident constituted "torture" and "degrading treatment" and was a clear breach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). They also suggested that Denmark had the jurisdiction on deportation flights and was at least partly responsible for the incident, which was subsequently reported to the corresponding ombudsman.

    Danish Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg wrote in an email to Politiken that proper conditions must be ensured on deportation flights, which should be carried out "in a proper and decent manner."

    As a result of Denmark's stern immigration policy, only 714 people applied for asylum in Denmark during the first quarter of 2017, which is the lowest number in 6 years and a steep fall compared to the previous years.

    In February, a review of 500 asylum applications rejected by the Danish Refugee Appeals Board showed that over half of these contained partial or complete falsehoods and discrepancies. According to Danish Immigration Service Vice Director Anders Dorph, a pattern of answers asylum seekers view as "correct" has emerged, which increased the number of refusals due to credibility issues.

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    Topic:
    Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe (138)

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    Tags:
    police brutality, migrant crisis, Inger Støjberg, Scandinavia, Middle East, Afghanistan, Denmark
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