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TITLE:  DENMARK HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                            DENMARK


Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a tradition of 
democratic parliamentary rule.  Queen Margrethe II is Head of 
State.  The Cabinet, accountable to the unicameral Folketing 
(parliament), leads the Government.  A majority coalition led 
by Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen took office in January 
1993.

Denmark has a unified national police.  Its higher ranks are 
often filled with lawyers on internal rotation from the civil 
service.  It is fully controlled by and responsible to civilian 
authorities.  Personal freedoms and the right to pursue private 
interests and to hold private property are protected by law and 
respected in practice.

An advanced industrial state, Denmark has an economy with 
limited public ownership, except in utilities and public 
transportation.  The Government continues to seek ways to 
reduce the public sector's share of the economy.  In 1993, for 
example, the Government sold 51 percent of the Giro Bank, 
Denmark's fifth largest bank, and also privatized parts of the 
Copenhagen regional bus system.

Deeply rooted democratic principles, an egalitarian tradition, 
a lively press, and highly developed educational and social 
welfare systems have made Denmark a leading defender of human 
rights domestically and in the world.  Anyone may protest to 
the Ombudsman, established by the Folketing as mandated by the 
Constitution, if he or she feels wrongly treated by any 
national authority.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Such killings did not occur.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no abductions or disappearances.


     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Such practices are prohibited by law.  Torture does not occur.  
Allegations of inhuman treatment are rare, and there are legal 
means of redress if it occurs.  Two cases alleging excessive 
use of police force against two African tourists were 
investigated; the result was a 1992 finding by a judicial 
inquiry that the force used was excessive, but that it was the 
result of individual action of one officer, not the result of 
government policy.  While the Danish Government considers the 
case closed, it resurfaced in the Danish press in 1993, as 
some, including Amnesty International (AI), were unhappy with 
the result.  AI expressed concern that the report of the 
inquiry had not accepted that force used against a detainee can 
qualify as cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment, whether or 
not that treatment is deliberate or intended to frighten or 
coerce the detainee.

An innovative center for torture victims (from abroad) at a 
Copenhagen hospital, supported by the Foreign Ministry, treats 
patients, assists torture victims, and studies ways to counter 
the use of torture worldwide.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

No person may be deprived of personal liberty without due 
process of law.  Those arrested must appear before a judge 
within 24 hours.  A judge may order that they be held in 
pretrial detention, including detention in isolation, for a 
period up to the length of the prison sentence for the crime 
for which they were arrested.  All accused have the right to 
obtain their own attorney or a public attorney.  Bail is 
allowed.  There is no exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Danish judicial system consists of a series of local and 
regional courts, and the Supreme Court at the apex.  Trials are 
usually public; however, judges may make exceptions, e.g., in 
paternity and divorce cases.  In criminal cases, trials are 
closed when necessary to protect a victim's privacy, such as in 
rape cases, or to safeguard a witness' identity.

The rights of the accused are carefully protected.  Defendants 
have the right to be present, to confront witnesses, and to 
present evidence.  They are presumed innocent until proven 
guilty.  Both the defendant and the prosecution may appeal a 
sentence.  The judiciary is fully independent.  Judges 
appointed by the Minister of Justice serve until age 70.  They 
may not be dismissed but may be impeached for negligence or 
criminal acts.  There are no political prisoners.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The constitutional prohibition against searching homes, seizing 
papers, and breaching the secrecy of communications without a 
court order is respected.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a democratic 
political system ensure freedom of speech and press.  There is 
one large state-owned radio and television company.  Editorial 
control is exercised by a board independent of the Government.  
A second national television channel is one-third government 
subsidized.  In both cases, management decides programming 
content, but operational decisions are restricted by the 
television-radio law, which limits, for example, broadcast time 
reserved for commercials.  Programs critical of the Government 
appear on both channels.  Cable television and satellite 
dishes, which are now common, have greatly increased access to 
foreign news broadcasts.

Private stations are restricted to transmitters of 10 watts for 
radio or 100 watts for television.  Direct relay transmission 
of foreign radio broadcasts is prohibited, although they may be 
carried on the cable net.  Publications, including books and 
newspapers, reflect a wide variety of political opinion.  
Academic freedom is respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Danes may freely assemble and form associations.  Public 
meetings require permits, which are routinely given.  Any 
organization may affiliate with international bodies in its 
field.


     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for religious freedom.  The 
Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church and is state 
supported.  There is religious instruction in the schools in 
the state religion, but any student may without sanction be 
excused from religion classes with parental permission.  No 
religion is banned or discouraged and conversion is 
unrestricted.  No one may be discriminated against for one's 
religious beliefs.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Danes have full freedom of travel and movement.  People 
determined to be refugees are never repatriated against their 
will.  However, there is a growing popular desire to repatriate 
those who have been unsuccessful in establishing a legitimate 
claim to political asylum.  A 1991 decision by the Folketing 
made clear that, following due process, those denied asylum 
would be returned to their homelands.  Meanwhile, asylum 
seekers who arrive in Denmark via another safe country are 
returned directly to that country, pursuant to the Dublin 
Convention.

A large influx of asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia 
began in September 1992 and continued in 1993.  Denmark's 
financial and logistical resources were stretched to help 
absorb the new arrivals.  In 1992, 14,000 new asylum seekers 
entered Denmark.  This was more than three times as many as 
came in 1991, and significantly more than came in the previous 
record years of the mid-1980's (the era of the Iran-Iraq war).  
In 1993 more than 15,000 asylum seekers arrived in Denmark, 
more than 10,000 of whom came from the former Yugoslavia.  As a 
result of this influx, the Government modified the country's 
liberal asylum rules effective October 10, 1992, and again on 
June 24, 1993.  The first change revamped asylum claims 
processing to make it easier to determine a case to be 
"obviously groundless."  The latter change imposed a 
requirement that would-be asylum seekers from the former 
Yugoslavia had to be prescreened by Danish authorities resident 
in Zagreb.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 
in the former Yugoslavia can also refer needy cases to the 
Danish refugee adjudication center in Zagreb.  These changes 
permitted Denmark to control the inflow of asylum seekers from 
the former Yugoslavia in order to select refugees from the most 
troubled areas.  After a slow startup and initial criticism 
from the Human Rights Center, the program has met with broad 
support in Denmark.

The Government of Prime Minister Poul Schlueter fell in January 
as a result of the "Tamilgate" scandal.  An investigation led 
by an independent prosecutor concluded that Schlueter knew of 
the illegal activities of a justice minister who had ordered 
his ministry to slow its processing of family reunification 
petitions from Tamil refugees living in Denmark, with a view to 
pressuring the Tamils to return home.  Although the 
investigation's conclusions were contested and denied, 
including by Schlueter himself (who nevertheless announced his 
intention to resign the day the report was released), the 
scandal indicated that there was at least some high-level 
tolerance of, if not active support for, actions to limit the 
number of refugees in Denmark.  This scandal led to the first 
impeachment in 83 years by the Folketing.  The case is now 
before a special court for trials of cabinet ministers.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Danes have the right to change their government peacefully.  
Ministers are responsible to the Folketing and may be removed 
by a vote of no confidence.  The Prime Minister is appointed by 
the Queen after consultation with parties in the Folketing.  
Parliamentary elections must take place every 4 years or 
earlier by decision of the Prime Minister.

The Folketing's 179 members are chosen in free and open 
elections under a complex system of proportional representation 
designed to help small parties and to reflect the popular 
vote.  Twelve parties ran in the 1990 election; eight, with a 
wide range of political views, achieved the minimum 2 percent 
of the vote needed to obtain seats.  The current Government is 
a four-party majority coalition.  Danes 18 years of age or over 
may vote.  Foreigners who are permanent residents may both vote 
and run in local elections; such persons hold 13 city council 
seats nationwide.  There are no restrictions, in law or in 
practice, on the participation of women in government or 
politics.  Women head 7 ministries in the new Government, 
compared to 4 under the former Government, and hold 59 seats in 
the Parliament.

The territories of Greenland (which has a primarily Inuit 
population) and the Faroe Islands (whose inhabitants have their 
own language) have democratically elected home rule governments 
with broad powers encompassing all but foreign and security 
affairs.  Greenlanders and Faroese are Danish citizens and 
enjoy the same human rights as people in the rest of Denmark.  
Each territory elects two representatives to the Folketing.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Domestic human rights organizations operate freely.  The Danish 
Center for Human Rights, a government-funded institution, 
conducts research and provides information on human rights.  
Denmark is party to various international human rights 
conventions that promote and protect human rights.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The extensive state welfare system ensures that every member of 
Danish society regardless of race, religion, sex, age, 
disability, or ethnic background is provided with food, 
shelter, health care, education, and training.  The rights of 
indigenous people are carefully protected.  Discrimination 
based on sexual orientation is prohibited.

     Women

Denmark places no restrictions on the participation of women in 
the civilian work force.  Women hold positions of authority 
throughout society, including in politics, though they are less 
well represented at the top of the business world.  Some 75 
percent of all women between the ages of 16 and 66 belong to 
the work force; 46 percent of the work force is female, while 
23 percent of all supervisors are women.  Wage inequality 
exists, but wages are generally high for both men and women.  
Denmark has laws that guarantee equal pay for equal work and 
that prohibit job discrimination on the basis of sex.  Women 
have and use the legal recourses available to them when they 
feel discriminated against.

Danish authorities do not tolerate, in law or in practice, 
violence or abuse against women or children.  Crimes against 
women and children are considered serious; cases are 
investigated promptly by the State, and appropriate action is 
taken swiftly.  However, according to the Danish National 
Institute of Social Research, less than 10 percent of cases 
involving domestic violence are reported.  Denmark has no 
specific programs for the prevention of rape and domestic 
violence, although the Council for Prevention of Crime 
publishes a pamphlet entitled "Rape Can Be Prevented."  There 
are 34 crisis centers for counseling and housing victims (plus 
a number of counseling centers without overnight facilities) 
which are supported by local governments, volunteer workers, 
and donations.  In addition, Denmark has centers for abused 
men, women, and families.

     Children

Children in Denmark are protected by law; parents are required 
to protect children from physical and psychological abuse.  The 
authorities act quickly to protect children from actually or 
potentially abusive or neglectful parents.  Parents, regardless 
of income, receive the equivalent of about $1,300 per year for 
each child younger than 7 years old and about $1,000 per year 
for children from 7 to 17 years old.  At least 20 percent of 
the total Danish social welfare budget is allocated to children 
and youths younger than 18 years.

     Indigenous People

The rights of the people in Greenland and the Faroe Islands are 
fully protected.  Greenlandic law is specially designed for 
Inuit customs.  It provides for the use of lay people, rather 
than experts, as judges.  Most prisoners are sent to holding 
centers--rather than prisons--where they are encouraged to 
work, hunt, or fish during the day.  The Greenlandic Government 
again in 1993 rejected suggestions that the treatment of 
criminals be made more severe.  This rejection was based partly 
on the experience of Greenlandic prisoners in Danish jails 
(they have a very difficult time adapting to confinement) and 
partly on the expense of building a prison.  In Greenland, 
education is provided to the native population in the Inuit 
language.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The inflow of ethnically and racially diverse refugees and 
immigrants (mostly Iranians, Palestinians, and Sri Lankans, but 
since late 1992, overwhelmingly former Yugoslavs) has provoked 
a degree of tension between Danes and immigrants.  Incidents of 
random, racially motivated violence do occur, but are rare.  
The Government effectively investigates and deals with all 
cases of racially motivated violence.


Overtly racist or neo-Nazi groups are few and small in size, 
and monitored closely by police.  Swastikas and antiforeigner 
graffiti do exist in certain areas.  Violent acts against 
refugees are rare.  A woman active on behalf of refugees was 
beaten in Copenhagen, and two Albanian asylum seekers were 
attacked by three young Danish men.  The case against the 
woman's assailant remains unresolved, but in the other case, 
the three men were prosecuted.  Several politicians who have 
openly called for greater tolerance towards refugees have 
received hate mail and telephone calls.  The former 
Turkish-born deputy mayor of Farum, the first immigrant ever to 
be elected to so high a post in Denmark, received telephone 
threats within the first week of taking office.  The 
authorities investigated the threats, but did not find those 
responsible for the calls.

Refugees and asylum seekers can apply for Danish citizenship 
upon completing 6 years' residence and passing a language 
examination.  Foreign-born, non-Nordic Danish citizens and 
legal permanent residents, however, suffer from significantly 
higher unemployment rates than Nordic residents and citizens.  
Some naturalized citizens have complained of job discrimination 
on the basis of race but have so far been unable to prove that 
they were discriminated against.  Legislation prohibits job 
discrimination on the basis of race and provides for legal 
remedies.

In 1991 the Supreme Court rejected discriminatory racial and 
ethnic quotas in public housing which had been imposed by some 
towns to limit the number of immigrants who can live in a 
building.  As a result, the quota system was dropped.  
Proponents claimed such limitation prevented ghettos.  In 1993 
about 5 municipalities refused to accept their share of the 
recent arrivals, despite rules and directives that they do so, 
because they objected to the cost and did not want the ethnic 
mix of the communities to be upset.  The Government responded 
by forcing the municipalities to accept the refugees.  In one 
case, the dissenting city councilors were found in contempt, 
and fines were imposed.  The fines were never collected as the 
city council eventually accepted the Government's position and 
took the refugees.

     People with Disabilities

The extensive social safety net ensures that the special needs 
of the disabled are addressed.  Danish building regulations 
provide for special installations for the handicapped in public 
buildings built or renovated after 1977.  Older buildings which 
change the nature of their use also must meet the regulations 
for public access.  The code calls for easy access for the 
handicapped, defined as level-free access to the ground floor 
and at least one restroom equipped for use by the handicapped.  
The Danish Act on Social Welfare includes the provision of 
financial assistance for the alteration of private dwellings to 
accommodate the special needs of those in wheelchairs or 
needing other special equipment and for assistance in 
purchasing vehicles with special accessories for the disabled.  
The Center for Equal Treatment of the Handicapped was launched 
in August 1993.  The Center is a consultative body that assists 
communities and individuals to ensure that existing regulations 
concerning the handicapped are followed.  There is no Danish 
antidiscrimination legislation in connection with equal 
employment for the handicapped.  However, a written rule on 
hiring in the civil service states that preference should be 
given to the handicapped individual when other factors are the 
same.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The law states that all workers, including military personnel 
and the police, may form or join unions of their choosing. 
Approximately 80 percent of Danish wage earners belong to 
unions, which are independent of the Government and political 
parties.  The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), which 
includes about half of the country's work force, remains 
closely associated with the Social Democratic Party.  Over the 
years (but not in 1993) there have been a few--but widely 
reported--incidents in which workers who joined trade unions 
not affiliated with the LO were harassed or rejected by members 
of the mainstream unions in the workplace.  All but civil 
servants and the military have the right to strike.  The number 
of days not worked due to labor conflicts in 1992 was 62,800 
(down from 101,000 in 1991).  Unions may affiliate freely with 
international organizations and do so actively.  Worker rights, 
including full freedom of association, have the same respect in 
Greenland and the Faroe Islands as in the rest of Denmark.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers and employers acknowledge each other's right to 
organize.  Collective bargaining is widespread.  The law 
prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers against union 
members and organizers, and there are mechanisms to resolve 
disputes.  Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination 
are required to reinstate workers fired for union activities.  
In the private sector, salaries, benefits, and working 
conditions are agreed upon in biennial negotiations between the 
various employers' associations and the union counterparts.  In 
the event of a stalemate, the Confederation of Danish 
Employers' Associations and the LO conduct these negotiations.  
If the negotiations fail, a national conciliation board 
mediates, and its proposal is voted on by management and 
labor.  If the proposal is turned down, the Government may 
force a legislated solution on the parties (usually based upon 
the mediators' proposal).  The agreements, in turn, are used as 
guidelines by the rest of the labor market, including the 
public sector.  Collective bargaining in the public sector is 
conducted between the public sector employees' unions and 
government representatives, led by the Finance Ministry.

Labor relations in Greenland are conducted in the same manner 
as in Denmark.  Working conditions are negotiated through 
collective bargaining, usually led by the largest Greenlandic 
union, SIK, which has about 8,000 members, about one-half of 
the indigenous work force.  In disputes, Greenlandic courts are 
the first recourse, but Danish mediation services or the Danish 
Labor Court may also be used.

In the Faroes, there are unions but no umbrella labor 
organization.  Labor relations in principle are a matter 
between management and labor.  Between them, they decide on 
salaries, wages, and terms of employment.  Should the parties 
not be able to reach an agreement, a mediator is called in to 
resolve the dispute.  Faroese legislation regulates conditions 
of apprenticeship, cost-of-living adjustments to negotiated 
wages, minimum wages in the fisheries sector, length of the 
workweek, and annual vacations.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited and does not exist.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for full-time employment is 15.  The law 
prescribes specific limitations on the employment of those 
between 15 and 18 years of age, and it is enforced by the 
Agency for Supervision of Labor Standards, an autonomous arm of 
the Ministry of Labor.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no legally mandated national minimum wage, but the 
lowest wage in any national labor agreement is sufficient for a 
decent standard of living for a worker and family.  The law 
provides for 5 weeks of paid vacation, and a 37-hour workweek 
is generally observed.  The law prescribes conditions of work, 
including safety and health; duties of employers, supervisors, 
and employees; work performance; rest periods and days off; and 
medical examinations.  The Labor Inspection Service ensures 
compliance with labor legislation.  Workers may remove 
themselves from hazardous situations without jeopardizing their 
employment, and there are legal protections for workers who 
file complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions.

Similar conditions of work are found in Greenland and the 
Faroes, except that their workweek is 40 hours.  Unemployment 
benefits in Greenland are either contained in labor contract 
agreements or come from the general social security system.  A 
general unemployment insurance system in the Faroe Islands was 
established in August 1992, replacing former unemployment 
compensation covered by the social security system.  Sick pay 
and maternity pay, as in Denmark, fall under the social 
security system.


[end of document]

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