Denmark offers cash to refugees who leave

  • 2002-08-29

Denmark is offering cash bonuses to some 1,300 Afghan asylum seekers who agree to return home, the Ministry for Integration and Immigration said Aug. 26.

The incentive program, which runs through Nov. 1, will hand out 2,418 euros to each adult and 806 euros per child, as well as pay for all shipping costs and transportation so the refugees can return to their country.

Center-right Minister for Integration and Immigration Bertel Haarder told Danish radio's Aug. 25 the government offer was only valid for the country's 1,300 Afghan asylum seekers, "refugees who are in a particular situation and whose country, previously in a state of war, has returned to peaceful conditions."

The Afghans have "little chance of obtaining the right to asylum in Denmark" since war has officially ended in Afghanistan, he said.

Afghan refugees who have been denied asylum by Copenhagen but refuse to leave remain in refugee camps. But in a tougher policy dubbed "dry bread" the government ended the practice of providing refugees with pocket money, offering only basic necessities such as food and some hygiene products.

Haarder warned that the cash offer was only good for Afghans and that "it should in no case send a signal to other asylum seekers that they can have money if their asylum demands are rejected."

Denmark's center-right government in July introduced a tough new immigration law, which limits how many immigrants are allowed into the country and tightens the rules on citizenship and residence permits.