Denmark adopts controversial law to seize asylum seekers’ valuables
Copenhagen, Denmark (CNN)Danish lawmakers voted Tuesday in favor of controversial legislation empowering authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum seekers to help cover their expenses.The law was passed in parliament by 81 votes to 27, with one abstention.
The passing of the so-called jewelry bill allows the seizure of valuables worth more than 10,000 Danish kroner (about $1,453).
Items of “special sentimental value” such as “wedding rings, engagement rings, family portraits, decorations and medals” are exempted, according to the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Integration and Housing. But “watches, mobile phones and computers” can be confiscated, it says.
The legislation has been criticized across the political spectrum, appalling many in this northern European nation, which has a longstanding global reputation for tolerance and promoting liberal, social democratic values.
Rights group Amnesty International slammed the law, saying in a statement that it reflected a “dismal race to the bottom” by European countries in response to the migrant crisis.
“To prolong the suffering of vulnerable people who have been ripped apart from their families by conflict or persecution is plain wrong,” John Dalhuisen, the group’s Europe and Central Asia director, said in a statement.
“Today’s meanspirited vote in Danish parliament seeks not only to pilfer the possessions refugees cling to, but also to needlessly lengthen their separation from their loved ones.”