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TITLE:  DENMARK HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                            DENMARK


Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary 
democratic rule.  Queen Margrethe II is Head of State.  The 
Cabinet, accountable to the unicameral Parliament (Folketing), 
leads the Government.  A minority, three-party coalition took 
office in September following national elections.

The national police force is fully controlled by and responsive 
to civilian authorities.

The advanced industrial economy is essentially market-based, 
with public ownership limited largely to utilities and public 
transportation.  The Government continues to seek ways to 
reduce the public sector's share of the economy.

Deeply rooted democratic principles, an egalitarian tradition, 
and a free press have resulted in high official as well as 
societal respect for human rights.  There are well-established 
legal channels for seeking redress for mistreatment by any 
national authority.

Amnesty International (AI) issued a controversial report in 
June citing allegations that police in Copenhagen used 
excessive force in a 1992-93 crackdown on lawbreakers and 
during riots in May 1993.  The Government suspended three 
policemen for firing into a crowd during those riots.

Indicative of the Government's commitment to promoting human 
rights internationally were its actions on behalf of the U.N. 
Tribunal on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia in bringing to 
justice an accused war criminal from Bosnia.  After 
consultations with the chief prosecutor, the Government decided 
to bring Rafic Saric to trial in Denmark.  In a landmark 
decision, in November a Danish court found him guilty of 
committing war crimes while he worked with Bosnian Croats in 
Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The court sentenced Saric to 8 years 
in jail for his assaults against inmates at the Dretelj camp.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of such killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known abductions or disappearances.

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

Such practices are prohibited by law.  Torture does not occur, 
and allegations of physical mistreatment are rare.  However, 
since 1988 AI has complained that the police occasionally use 
excessive force, and AI has never been fully satisfied by the 
Government's responses to those complaints.

In June AI published "Danish Police Ill Treatment," a 
controversial sweeping criticism focusing primarily on two 
episodes.  In one, the police on May 18-19, 1993, apparently 
shot indiscriminately at demonstrators in Copenhagen who were 
protesting the outcome of a national plebiscite in which the 
voters accepted the Maastricht Treaty.  When demonstrators 
hurled paving stones at the police, some police fired into the 
crowd, wounding at least 11 people; in 1994 the police 
leadership suspended three police on a charge that these 
firings violated regulations on the use of firearms.

Also under focus in the AI report was the police's conduct of a 
campaign in 1992-93 against drug-dealers and other lawbreakers 
in a section of Copenhagen.  Police detained or arrested 
hundreds of people, and immobilized some detainees by using a 
"leg-lock," a potentially very painful constraint.  Immediately 
after AI's report, the police ceased using the leg-lock.

     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 pretrial detention, and may 
require the detainee to be in isolation (for renewable 4-week 
periods after a hearing before a judge), for a period up to the 
length of the prison sentence for the charged crime.  Pretrial 
detention usually lasts from a few weeks to a few months.  As 
of October, 633 of the 3,752 prisoners in Danish jails (17 
percent) were in pretrial detention.  Any detainee has the 
right to choose an attorney or have a free public attorney.  
Bail is allowed, but it is rarely used; courts have prescribed 
six other means for obtaining pretrial release, and these are 
generally considered preferable.  There is no exile.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The right to a fair public trial is enforced by a fully 
independent judiciary.  Trials are usually public, but judges 
may make exceptions to protect the privacy or security of any 
participant, e.g., in divorce cases or where the charge is rape 
or paternity.  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.

Defendants are presumed innocent, and have the right to be 
present, to confront witnesses, and to present evidence.  Both 
the defendant and the prosecution have the right to appeal a 
sentence.

Judges are appointed by the Minister of Justice, and serve 
until age 70.  They cannot be dismissed but can be impeached 
for negligence or criminal acts.

There are no political prisoners.

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

The Constitution stipulates that without a court order there 
can be no searching of any home, surveillance of any 
individual, seizure of any paper, or breaching of the 
confidentiality of any communication.  The Government respects 
these prohibitions.

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 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.  Several independently owned Danish-language 
channels are available on the local cable net or via satellite 
dishes.  Programs critical of the Government appear on all 
channels.  Cable television and satellite dishes, which are now 
common, ensure wide access to foreign news broadcasts.

Academic freedom is respected.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for these freedoms, and the 
Government respects them.  Public meetings require permits, 
which are routinely given.  Any organization may affiliate with 
international bodies.

     c.   Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for complete religious freedom, and 
the Government respects this in practice.

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

Citizens have full freedom of travel and movement within and 
outside Denmark and freedom of repatriation.  People who 
qualify as refugees are never repatriated against their will.  
However, pursuant to the Dublin Convention, asylum-seekers who 
arrive via another safe country are returned directly to that 
country.  Also, Denmark increasingly seeks to repatriate 
applicants unable to establish a claim to asylum.  Unsuccessful 
asylum applicants are returned directly to their home countries.

In 1993 Justice Minister Erik Ninn-Hansen was impeached for his 
illegal actions in hampering the processing of family- 
reunification petitions from Tamil refugees.  His trial was 
postponed in 1994 due to his severe illness.

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

Citizens have both the right and the ability 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 Parliament.  Parliamentary elections must 
take place every 4 years or (by decision of the Prime Minister) 
earlier, with voting by secret ballot.  A system of 
proportional representation benefits small parties.  There are 
no restrictions, in law or in practice, on the participation of 
women or minorities in voting, politics, or government.  Women 
currently head two political parties in the Parliament; hold 7 
of the 20 cabinet positions; and hold 58 of the 179 seats in 
the Parliament.

The territories of Greenland (whose population is primarily 
Inuit) and the Faroe Islands (whose inhabitants have their own 
Norse language) have democratically elected home-rule 
governments with powers encompassing all matters except foreign 
affairs, monetary affairs, and national security.  Greenlanders 
and Faroese are Danish citizens, with the same rights as those 
in the rest of the Kingdom.  Each territory elects two 
representatives to the Folketing.

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

Domestic and international human rights organizations freely 
monitor and issue reports, without government restriction.

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

The Government's operations and extensive public services do 
not discriminate on the basis of any of these factors or on the 
basis of sexual orientation.  The rights of indigenous people 
are carefully protected.

     Women

There are no restrictions on participation of women in the 
civilian work force.  Women hold positions of authority 
throughout society, though they are underrepresented at the top 
of the business world.  The law requires equal pay for equal 
work, but wage inequality still exists.  The law prohibits 
discrimination on the basis of sex, and provides recourses such 
as access to the Equal Status Council.

     Children

The Government is committed to ensuring that each child 
receives humane treatment within the family and from society.  
There is no pattern of societal abuse against children.  The 
production (but not the possession) of child pornography is 
illegal in Denmark.  The law requires parents to protect 
children from physical and psychological abuse.  The 
authorities act swiftly to protect children from actually or 
potentially abusive or neglectful parents.

     Indigenous People

The law protects the rights of the inhabitants of Greenland and 
the Faroe Islands.  The Greenlandic legal system seeks to 
accommodate Inuit customs.  Accordingly, it provides for the 
use of lay people as judges, and it sentences most prisoners to 
holding centers (rather than to prisons) where they are 
encouraged to work, hunt, or fish during the day.

In Greenland, education is provided to the native population in 
both the Inuit and Danish languages.

     People with Disabilities

There is no Danish legislation explicitly banning 
discrimination against the handicapped in hiring or on-the-job 
treatment.  However, a longstanding regulation on hiring for 
the civil service gives preference to any handicapped 
candidates among equally qualified ones.

Danish regulations require special installations for the 
handicapped in public buildings built or renovated after 1977, 
and in older buildings that come into public use.

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 all workers are union members.  The 
unions are independent of the Government and political 
parties.  The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions, which 
includes about half of the country's work force, remains 
closely associated with the Social Democratic Party.  Unions 
may affiliate freely with international organizations, and they 
do so actively.

All unions except those representing civil servants or the 
military have the right to strike.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Workers and employers acknowledge each other's right to 
organize.  Collective bargaining is protected by law, and is 
widespread in practice.

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.  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 
throughout the public as well as the private sector.  In the 
public sector, collective bargaining is conducted between the 
employees' unions and a government group led by the Finance 
Ministry.

Labor relations in Greenland are conducted in the same manner 
as in Denmark.  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 is no umbrella labor organization, but 
individual unions engage in periodic collective bargaining with 
employers.  Disputes are settled by mediation.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited and does not occur.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for full-time employment is 15.  The law 
specifies limitations on the employment of workers between 15 
and 18 years of age, and it is enforced by the Danish Working 
Environment Service (DWES), an autonomous arm of the Ministry 
of Labor.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is no legally mandated national minimum wage, but 
national labor agreements effectively set a wage floor.  The 
lowest wage is currently about $11 per hour (Danish Kroner 68 
per hour), which is sufficient for an adequate standard of 
living for a worker and family.  The law provides for 5 weeks 
of paid vacation.  A 37-hour workweek is the norm, established 
by contract, not by law.  The law does, however, require at 
least 11 hours between the end of one work period and the start 
of the next.

The law also 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 DWES ensures compliance with labor 
legislation.  Workers may remove themselves from hazardous 
situations or arms production without jeopardizing their 
employment rights, 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 standard workweek is 40 hours.  As in 
Denmark, this is established by contract, not by law, and the 
law requires an 11-hour rest period.

(###)

[end of document]

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