COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
4-22 March 2002
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination*
1. The Committee considered the fifteenth periodic of Denmark (CERD/C/40/Add.1)
at its 1507th and 1508th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1507 and 1508), on 12 and
13 March 2002, and at its 1522nd meeting (CERD/C/SR.1522) on 21 March
2002, adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the report presented by the delegation of Denmark
and notes that it contains relevant information about developments that
have occurred since the consideration of the previous periodic report,
including in Greenland. The Committee also notes with appreciation that
the report includes responses to the concerns raised in the previous concluding
observations (CERD/C/304/Add.93) issued in April 2000, concerning the
fourteenth periodic report of Denmark. The State party's timely submission
of its periodic reports under the Convention is noted with satisfaction.
The Committee expresses appreciation for the frank dialogue with the delegation
and for the comprehensive and thorough answers given orally to the wide
range of questions asked by members.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the recent recommendations by the Inter-Ministerial
Committee to incorporate the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination into Danish law.
4. The Committee welcomes the positive steps taken to implement the Act
on Integration of Aliens (1998) including the survey, carried out two
years later by the Committee of Ministers on Integration, to evaluate
the implementation of the Act.
5. The Committee appreciates the efforts made by Denmark to facilitate
the implementation of article 2 of the Convention through the application
of legal instruments, including section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code,
and other measures to prohibit the dissemination of racist statements
and propaganda and to prosecute offenders.
6. The Committee welcomes the improvement of employment opportunities
for minorities and refugees in the public sector, the creation of integration
councils to ensure ongoing integration efforts, and the relative success
in procuring housing for refugees, in line with article 5 of the Convention.
7. The Committee also welcomes the State party's favourable attitude towards
the application of article 14 of the Convention and particularly appreciates
the information on follow-up action included in the report.
8. With respect to Greenland, the Committee welcomes the establishment
of the Commission on Self-Government, inter alia, to submit proposals
for amending the Home Rule Act. The transaction of the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination into the Greenlandic
language is also welcomed.
C. Concerns and recommendations
9. The Committee notes that the Act on Integration of Aliens (1998) transfers
the responsibility for aliens' integration from the central to the local
authorities. While the Committee welcomes the efforts by the central Government
to monitor the local authorities carefully, it recommends that the State
party pay particular attention to ensuring that the geographical distribution
of aliens with the State party is organized on the principle of equity
and does not lead to violation of their rights recognized under the Convention.
10. The Committee is aware of reports of an increase in hate speech
in Denmark. While it acknowledges the need for balance between freedom
expression and measures to eradicate racist abuse and stereotyping,
the Committee recommends that the State party carefully monitor such
for possible violations of articles 2 and 4 of the Convention. In this
regard, the Committee invites the State party to take particular note
of paragraphs 85 and 115 of the Durban Declaration and Programme of
respectively, which highlight the key role of politicians and political
parties in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and
intolerance. Political parties are encouraged to take steps to promote
solidarity, tolerance, respect and equality by developing voluntary
of conduct so that their members refrain from public statements and
actions that encourage or incite racial discrimination.
11. The Committee takes note of the information on the temporary suspension
of the licence of Radio OASEN owned by a neo-Nazi association and recommends
that the Danish Government take decisive steps to prohibit such organizations
in accordance with article 4 (b) of the Convention.
12. The Committee is concerned that policies and practices such as the
housing dispersal policy, the quota system for the admission of minority
children to certain crèches and nurseries, and the reported prohibition
of the use of the mother tongue in some of these establishments may, though
aimed at facilitating integration, lead to indirect discrimination against
minorities and refugees. The Committee requests more information on this
situation in its next periodic report.
13. The Committee commends the State party for having invested in its
human rights institutions and in a number of non-governmental organizations,
which have promoted human rights and served the needs of minority groups,
but is concerned by plans to reduce the level of funds and the potential
impact this would have on the NGOs concerned. In light of the recommendations
of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia
and Related Intolerance to strengthen human rights national institutions
and NGOs, the Committee urges the State party to ensure that the organizational
restructuring of the Board of Ethnic Equality and the Centre for Human
Rights will strengthen the overall work on human rights and in particular
the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities. It is concerned
the withdrawal of funds from certain NGOs. The Committee recommends
that the State party include
information on this mater in its next periodic report.
14. While acknowledging the information provided in the report regarding
article 5 of the Convention, the Committee reiterates that equal attention
should be paid to economic, social and cultural rights, particularly with
respect to minorities. The Committee is concerned about the impact of
the recent (May 2000) amendments to the Aliens Act, particularly as they
abolish the statutory right to reunification of spouses under the age
of 25 years. The Committee encourages the State party to take effective
measures to ensure that the right to family life is guaranteed to all
persons in Denmark without distinction. It recommends that the State party
report on this issue in its next periodic report.
15. The Committee commends the State party for having instituted programmes,
such as the language training programme for unemployed persons with
knowledge of the Danish language; the strengthening of the Public Employment
Services placement activities in relation to refugees and immigrants;
and the "ice-breaker" programme.
However, despite overall improvements, it is concerned about the disproportionately
high level of unemployment
among foreigners, particularly groups of immigrants of non-European
and non-North American descent. The State party is reminded that although
it is not obliged to provide work permits to foreign residents, it
guarantee that foreigners who are entitled to a work permit are not
discriminated against in their access to employment.
16. The Committee is concerned about reports of a considerable increase
in reported cases of widespread harassment of people of Arab and Muslim
backgrounds since 11 September 2001. The Committee recommends that the
State party monitor this situation carefully, take decisive action to
protect the rights of victims and deal with perpetrators, and report on
this matter in its next periodic report.
17. The Committee is concerned about the introduction of new, more stringent
asylum and refugee regulations, and encourages the State party to maintain
its standards and ensure that all cases of asylum-seekers are decided
on merit and without discrimination.
18. The Committee reiterates its previous concern regarding the delay
in resolving the claims of the Inughuit with respect to the Thule Air
Base. The Committee notes with serious concern claims of denials by Denmark
of the identity and continued existence of the Inughuit as a separate
ethnic or tribal entity, and recalls its general recommendation XXIII
on indigenous peoples general recommendation VIII on the application of
article 1 (self-identification) and general recommendation XXIV concerning
article 1 (international standard). The Committee recommends that the
State party include information in its next periodic report concerning
19. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the
relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when
implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular
in respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in
its next periodic report information on action plans or other measures
taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at national
20. The Committee recommends that the reports of the State party be made
available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the
concluding observations of the Committee on these reports be similarly
21. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its sixteenth
periodic report jointly with its seventeenth periodic report, due on 8
January 2005, that it be an updating report, and that it address all points
raised in the present observations.
* Please note that the symbol CERD/C/Session No./CO/... will from now
on replace the previous symbol CERD/C/304/Add...