The UN refugee agency has criticized Denmark for a series of new measures it adopted to stem the flow of refugees into the country, with its new head urging the Europeans to facilitate the refugees’ take-in.
In a document sent to the Danish government on Thursday, the UNHCR criticized new proposals put forward in Denmark that would make it more difficult for the refugees to reunite with their families.
The document harshly slammed a measure allowing the Danish police to confiscate belongings of the asylum seekers worth more than 3,000 Danish kroner (USD 436) to help pay for their stay, saying it would be an affront to the refugees’ dignity and “a deeply concerning response to humanitarian needs.”
The new head of the UNHCR also urged Denmark and other European states to set an example by welcoming the refugees and stop erecting more barriers.
“We will of course continue to say ‘You manage your border as you see necessary’, but the right of people to seek asylum should not be jeopardized. That’s very, very important,” Filippo Grandi told a news briefing.
The Italian diplomat, who took over as UN High Commissioner for Refugees this week, added, “Now if Europe starts setting limits, pushing back, erecting barriers, being hostile, the rest of the world will follow, I can tell you.”
Europe is facing its worst refugee crisis in decades, with more than one million people having already crossed the European borders this year. Most of refugees are escaping the foreign-backed militancy in the Middle East while there are also refugees coming from impoverished African states.