Denmark

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Report
April 20, 2018

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARYShare    

The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with democratic, parliamentary rule. Queen Margrethe II is head of state. A prime minister, usually the leader of the largest party of a multiparty coalition, is head of government and presides over the cabinet, which is accountable to a unicameral parliament (Folketing). The kingdom includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are autonomous with similar political structures and legal rights. They manage most of their domestic affairs, while the central Danish government is responsible for constitutional matters, citizenship, monetary and currency matters, foreign relations, and defense and security policy. Observers deemed national elections in 2015 free and fair. In November 2016 the center-right Venstre Party formed a coalition government.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.

There were no reports of egregious human rights abuses.

The government took steps to prosecute officials accused of committing abuses.

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

a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings

There were no reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.

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

The constitution and law prohibit such practices, and there were no reports government officials employed them.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Prison and detention center conditions generally met established domestic and international standards. There were no significant reports regarding prison or detention center conditions that raised human rights concerns.

 

Physical Conditions: Women and men were held in the same institutions, but in separate wings. According to the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR), authorities continued occasionally to hold pretrial detainees with convicted criminals and to detain minors older than 15 with adults.

Independent Monitoring: The parliamentary ombudsman functioned as a prison ombudsman as required. The government additionally permitted monitoring visits by independent human rights observers and the media. The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other independent nongovernmental organization (NGO) observers, regularly received access to police headquarters, prisons, establishments for the detention of minors, asylum centers, and other detention facilities.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provide for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his/her arrest or detention in court. The government generally observed these requirements.

Role of the Police and Security Apparatus

The National Police maintain internal security and, jointly with the Danish Immigration Service, is responsible for border enforcement at the country’s ports of entry. The Ministry of Justice oversees both services. The Armed Forces report to the Ministry of Defense and have responsibility for external security as well as some domestic security responsibilities, such as disaster response and maritime sovereignty enforcement. The Home Guard, a volunteer militia without constabulary powers under the Ministry of Defense, assisted the National Police in conducting border checks.

Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the National Police, the Danish Immigration Service, and the Armed Forces, and the government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse.

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

The law allows police both to begin investigations and to make arrests on their own initiative based upon observed evidence or to enforce a court order following an indictment filed with the courts by public prosecutors.

The law mandates that Danish citizens and legal migrants taken into custody appear before a judge within 24 hours. The law requires police to make every effort to limit postarrest detention time to less than 12 hours. Authorities may hold irregular migrants up to 72 hours before bringing them before a judge or releasing them. During the 72-hour holding period, the National Police and the Danish Center for Human Trafficking can review an irregular migrant’s case to determine if the migrant is a victim of human trafficking. In addition the Ministry of Immigration and Integration can suspend the requirement for a 72-hour case review if the volume of asylum requests exceeds the ability of the government to complete reviews within 72 hours. Authorities can extend detention beyond 72 hours in cases where the migrant’s country of origin or identity cannot be positively verified to conduct additional research.

Authorities generally respected the right of detainees to a prompt judicial determination and informed them promptly of charges against them. There is no bail system; judges decide either to release detainees on their own recognizance or to keep them in detention until trial. A judge may authorize detention prior to trial only when authorities charge the detainee with a violation that could result in a prison sentence of more than 18 months or when the judge determines the detainee would seek to impede the investigation of the case, would be a flight risk, or would be likely to commit a new offense. The standard period of pretrial custody is up to four weeks, but a court order may further extend custody in four-week increments.

Arrested persons have the right to unsupervised visits with an attorney from the time police bring them to a police station. Police frequently delayed such access until the accused appeared in court for a remand hearing. The government provides counsel for those who cannot afford legal representation. Detainees have the right to inform their next of kin of their arrest, although authorities may deny this right if information about the detention could compromise the police investigation. Detainees have the right to obtain medical treatment, and authorities generally respected this right. Police may deny other forms of visitation, subject to a court appeal, but generally did not do so. While there were no known instances of authorities’ holding suspects incommunicado or placing them under house arrest, human rights observers expressed concern about the administrative use of solitary confinement in some cases, as well as a need to reduce the use and duration of remand custody while waiting for trial.

Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: A detainee has the right to challenge the lawfulness of his or her detention during initial court hearing, typically in a district court. Both the detainee and prosecutor can appeal the district court’s decision to a court of appeal, the (regional) high court. If a defendant is acquitted after being taken into custody or if the prosecution withdraws its charges, the former detainee may apply for financial compensation within two months of the final court judgment.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.

Trial Procedures

The constitution provides for the right to a fair and public trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right.

Defendants enjoy the right to a presumption of innocence; a prompt and detailed notification of the charges against them; a fair, timely, and public trial without undue delay; be present at their trial; communicate with an attorney of their choice (or have one provided at public expense if unable to pay); have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense; free interpretation as necessary from the moment charged through all appeals; confront prosecution or plaintiff witnesses and present one’s own witnesses and evidence; not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt; and appeal one’s case.

Political Prisoners and Detainees

There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.

Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies

Individuals or organizations may bring civil lawsuits seeking damages for a human rights violation. The complainant may also pursue an administrative resolution. The law provides that persons with “reasonable grounds” may appeal court decisions involving alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights to the European Court of Human Rights after they exhaust all avenues of appeal in national courts. Human rights groups asserted the law’s requirement of “reasonable grounds” unjustly targeted asylum seekers, who as a group have fewer legal appeal channels than citizens or legal residents.

Property Restitution

The government reports that Holocaust-era restitution has not been an issue and that no litigation or restitution claims regarding real or immovable property covered by the Terezin Declaration, to which the government is signatory, were pending before authorities. The Law of Compensation to the Victims of the Occupation passed in 1945 provided a mechanism by which Danish citizens could be eligible to receive compensation and assistance regarding restitution. The related Compensation Council was decommissioned in 1996, and the mechanism for compensation was also repealed at that time. The Jewish Community in Denmark (Mosaiske) confirmed that no litigation or restitution claims regarding real or immovable property covered by the Terezin Declaration were pending before authorities.

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

The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but government audits released in May found instances of interception of private data and communication by the intelligence services without appropriate legal authorization (see section 2.a., Internet Freedom).

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:Share    

a. Freedom of Expression, Including for the Press

The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government generally respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for the press.

Freedom of Expression: The law prohibits any public speech or the dissemination of statements or other pronouncements that threaten, deride, or degrade a group because of gender, race, skin color, national or ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation. Authorities may fine or imprison offenders for up to two years.

Press and Media Freedom: Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction.

Libel/Slander Laws: On June 2, parliament repealed the antiblasphemy law. Immediately after the law was repealed, the prosecution service dropped all charges against a 42-year-old man in Jutland who in 2015 posted on social media a video of himself burning a copy of the Quran.

Internet Freedom

The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content.

In May the Danish Intelligence Oversight Board (TET), which routinely audits the country’s three intelligence services, reported that in 22 percent of sampled cases, the Police Intelligence Service (PET, a division within the National Police) had without appropriate legal authority collected and retained data on citizens and residents that exceeded PET’s legal mandate or investigative needs. TET’s separate audit of data collection practices of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS, a military command within the Ministry of Defense) showed that in 12 percent of sampled cases, the DDIS had examined stored data on citizens or residents without the legally mandated judicial warrant. In July the director of the DDIS addressed the results in an interview with the press, stating that the DDIS audit results were more an indication of “mistakes” than of unlawful intent.

According to 2016 statistics compiled by the International Telecommunication Union, 97 percent of the population in Denmark were internet users, compared with 95 percent in the Faroe Islands and 69 percent in Greenland.

Academic Freedom and Cultural Events

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.

c. Freedom of Religion

See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.

d. Freedom of Movement

The constitution and law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights.

The government did not participate with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the program to resettle refugees.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: In contrast to 2016, there were no reports of overcrowding at asylum centers or other abuses of asylum seekers.

In June trial proceedings began against two guards from the Tullebolle asylum center, run by the municipality of Langeland, who were charged with sexual assault on four unaccompanied minor asylum seekers in 2015-16. During the year the Langeland Municipality lost permission to operate asylum centers.

Protection of Refugees

Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

Safe Country of Origin/Transit: The country employs the EU’s Dublin III regulation, which permits authorities to turn back or deport individuals who attempt to enter the country through a “safe country of transit” or are registered in another Dublin regulation state. The government considers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Russia, Canada, the United States, Mongolia, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand to be safe countries of origin.

Freedom of Movement: Once an asylum seeker receives refugee status and a resident permit, responsibility for the care of the refugee (including housing and education) transfers to a municipality based on a national quota system. The refugee is required to reside in the municipality of assignment for at least three years or forgo all benefits if they move without authorization.

Temporary Protection: The government provided temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees and provided it to 595 persons from January 1 through August 31.

Stateless Persons

According to UNHCR statistics, 7,610 stateless persons lived in the country as of December 2016. Stateless persons born outside the country to noncitizens, including refugees, are not eligible to acquire citizenship but may acquire residency permits. Certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may acquire citizenship by virtue of UN conventions to which the state is party. This is not an automatic process, and in most cases such individuals must apply for citizenship before their 21st birthday.

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political ProcessShare    

The constitution and laws provide citizens, including those of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: The country held free and fair parliamentary elections in 2015. There were no reports of abuses or electoral irregularities. The Faroe Islands held parliamentary elections in 2015, and Greenland did so in 2014. These elections were also considered to be free and fair.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit the participation of women and members of minorities in the political process, and they did participate.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in GovernmentShare    

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the law effectively. There were no reported cases of corruption during the year.

Financial Disclosure: The law does not require public officials to disclose their personal finances. Government officials may not work on specific matters in which they, persons they represent, or persons with whom they have close relations have a personal or economic interest. Officials must inform their superiors of any possible conflicts of interest that might disqualify them.

Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human RightsShare    

A variety of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials often were cooperative and responsive to their views.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The parliamentary ombudsman investigated complaints regarding national and local public authorities and any decisions authorities made regarding the treatment of citizens and their cases. The ombudsman can independently inspect prisons, detention centers, and psychiatric hospitals. An ombudsman for European matters oversaw compliance with EU basic rights, a consumers’ ombudsman investigated complaints related to discriminatory marketing, and two royal ombudsmen represented the government in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. These ombudsmen enjoyed the government’s cooperation, operated without government or political interference, and were considered effective.

Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in PersonsShare    

Women

Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape against women or men (the statute is gender neutral), including spousal rape, and domestic violence. Penalties for rape include imprisonment for up to 12 years. The government effectively prosecuted persons accused of rape.

Faroese law criminalizes rape with penalties of up to 12 years. The law considers nonconsensual sex with a victim in a “helpless state” to be sexual abuse rather than rape. In certain instances it also reduces the level of penalty for rape and sexual violence within marriage.

Greenlandic law criminalizes rape but reduces the penalty for rape and sexual violence within marriage. Persons convicted of rape in Greenland typically receive a prison sentence of 18 months.

In February, UN Women reported approximately 32 percent of women in the kingdom experienced domestic violence in the course of their lifetime.

The government and NGOs operated 24-hour hotlines, counseling centers, and shelters for female survivors of violence. The royal family supported a variety of NGOs that worked to improve conditions and services at shelters and to assist families afflicted with domestic violence.

Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment and provides that authorities may order a perpetrator or an employer who allowed or failed to prevent an incident of harassment to pay monetary compensation to victims. The law considers it an unsafe labor condition and gives labor unions or the Equal Treatment Board the responsibility of to resolve it. The government enforced the law effectively. Beginning in January a Ministry of Justice directive permits the director of the National Police to issue expedited restraining orders against accused stalkers or harassers in order to protect their victims from further harassment.

A 2016 report from the Danish Labor Rights think-tank found that 5 percent of women reported being sexually harassed in the workplace during the previous year.

Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/.

Discrimination: Women have the same legal status and rights as men, including under family, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws. Little discrimination was reported in employment, ownership and management of businesses, or access to credit, education, or housing.

Children

Birth Registration: Most children acquire citizenship from their parents. Stateless persons and certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may acquire citizenship by naturalization, provided, in most cases, that they apply for citizenship before their 21st birthday. The law requires medical practitioners to register promptly the births of children they deliver, and they generally did so.

Child Abuse: The National Police and Public Prosecutor’s Office actively investigated child abuse cases. In 2016 authorities in Denmark received 116 reports of rape involving a child 12 years and younger as well as 185 reports of sexual intercourse with a child 15 years and younger. In the same year, authorities received 178 reports of sexual relations with a child 12 years and younger and 137 reports of sexual relations with a child 15 years and younger.

In Greenland child abuse and neglect remained a significant problem. According to the DIHR’s most recent statistics, approximately 11 percent of sexual assaults in Greenland were committed against victims under the age of 15. A study by the Danish National Center for Social Research commissioned by the Greenlandic government and published in 2015 reported that every other woman and every third man experienced sexual contact with an adult before they turned 15.

Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. The government generally enforced these laws. In 2016 authorities prosecuted 133 cases of child pornography, up from 110 cases in 2015. The minimum age for consensual sexual activity is 15. The purchase of sexual services from a person under the age of 18 is illegal.

Displaced Children: The government considered refugees and migrants who were unaccompanied minors as vulnerable, and the law includes special rules regarding them. A personal representative is appointed for all unaccompanied children who seek asylum or who stay in the country without permission (see section 2.d.).

International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.

Anti-Semitism

The Jewish Community (Mosaiske) estimated between 6,000 and 8,000 Jews lived in the country.

The Jewish Community called on police to investigate a possible case of incitement to hatred after a March sermon by an imam at the Masjid al-Faruq Mosque in a Copenhagen suburb posted on YouTube in May appeared to call for the killing of Jews. A translation of the Arabic transcript of the sermon included, “Judgment Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them.” Minister of Immigration and Integration Inger Stojberg described the imam’s address as “horrible, antidemocratic, and abominable.”

In May, 17-year-old Natascha Colding-Olsen was sentenced to six-years’ incarceration for her role planning a terrorist attack against two schools, including a Jewish private school in Copenhagen. After an appeals process, in November her sentence was increased to eight years in prison. Charges against her alleged accomplice, a 24-year-old man who had recently returned from Syria, were dropped.

Representatives of Copenhagen’s Jewish community reported 22 anti-Semitic acts against Copenhagen’s Jewish community, its community center, or synagogue. The acts included one attempted murder, two cases of threats or intimidation, 17 cases of anti-Semitic slurs or language, and one case of vandalism (graffiti) and occurred despite increased police protection and physical security improvements.

During the year the government cooperated with the Jewish community to provide police protection for the Great Synagogue of Copenhagen as well as other locations of importance to the Jewish community. Jewish community leaders reported continued good relations with police and the ability to communicate their concerns to authorities, including the minister of justice.

Concerns remained in the Jewish community regarding a growing movement to prohibit infant male circumcision. Some organizations and individuals, including members of parliament, continued to campaign to have the practice banned (see also section 6, Other Societal Violence or Discrimination).

Trafficking in Persons

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

Persons with Disabilities

The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities . It also mandates access by persons with disabilities to government buildings, education, information, and communications. The government enforced these provisions. The DIHR reported that the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws was well established for the workplace but less so in other areas, such as laws on accessibility, coercive measures in psychiatric treatment, self-determination, political participation, inclusion in the labor market, and equal access to healthcare. In addition outside the labor market there is no express prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities.

The DIHR reported that the practice of using of physical force and restraints during psychiatric treatment for periods in excess of 48 hours continued. According to Ministry of Health statistics from March, physical force or restraints were used on approximately 30 percent of patients undergoing psychiatric treatment in facilities.

The right of persons with disabilities to vote or participate in civic affairs was generally not restricted, but some persons with disabilities reported problems in connection with elections, including ballots that were not accessible to blind persons or persons with mental disabilities. The country maintained a system of guardianship for persons considered incapable of managing their own affairs due to psychosocial or mental disabilities. Persons under guardianship who do not possess legal capacity have the right to vote in local and regional elections as well as elections to the European Parliament.

According to the DIHR, persons with disabilities in Greenland, including children, had limited access to support, including physical aids, counselling, educated professionals, and appropriate housing. Persons with severe disabilities were often placed in foster homes far from their families or relocated to Denmark because of lack of resources in Greenland.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The National Police reported that in 2016 race was a factor in 140 crimes. The government effectively investigated hate crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.

Indigenous People

The law protects the rights of the indigenous Inuit inhabitants of Greenland, all of whom are Danish citizens and whose legal system seeks to accommodate their traditions. Through their elected internally autonomous government, they participated in decisions affecting their lands, culture, traditions, and the exploitation of energy, minerals, and other natural resources.

Indigenous Greenlandic people in Denmark remained undereducated, underrepresented in the workforce, overrepresented on welfare rolls, and more susceptible to suicide, homelessness, poverty, chronic health conditions including substance abuse, and sexual violence.

Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The law prohibits discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation. The law allows transgender persons to obtain official documents reflecting their new gender identity without requiring a diagnosis for a mental disorder or undergoing surgery.

The law allows individuals to determine their gender, but government guidelines require that hormone treatment for gender reassignment be conducted only in one designated clinic located in Copenhagen. Transgender activists continued to highlight this policy as evidence of discrimination against transgender persons.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination

During the year no overt acts of discrimination against Muslims were reported., Spokespersons from Muslim Council of Copenhagen reported that Muslims in the country lived with a sense of increased scrutiny from the government and society. For example, in January the Jewish and Muslim communities worked together to engage society on the topic of (ritual) circumcision and counter public comments by some politicians that the practice should be outlawed. Leaders from the two communities believed the proposed ban specifically targeted them (see also section 6, Anti-Semitism).

The National Police reported that in 2016 religion was a factor in 88 crimes. The government effectively investigated hate crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.

Section 7. Worker RightsShare    

a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The law states all workers may form or join independent unions. The law provides for the right to collective bargaining and to legal strikes but does not provide nonresident foreign workers on Danish ships the right to participate in the country’s collective bargaining agreements. It allows unions to conduct their activities without interference and prohibits antiunion discrimination.

These laws were effectively enforced. Resources, inspections, and remediation including supporting regulations were adequate. Penalties were sufficient to deter violations. Breaches of collective agreement are typically referred to the Labor Court, and, if the parties agree, the industrial arbitration courts may decide whether there was a breach. Penalties for violation are determined on the facts of the case and with due regard to the degree that the breach of agreement was excusable. Penalties typically imposed by the Labor Court frequently amount to 500,000 kroner ($80,000) and in more serious cases as high as 20 million kroner ($3.2 million).

Employers and the government generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Annual collective bargaining agreements covered members of the workforce associated with unions and indirectly affected the wages and working conditions of nonunion employees.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, including by children, and the government effectively enforced this prohibition. The law prescribes penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment for violations, which was generally sufficient to deter violations. The most recent (2016) statistics of the Danish Center for Human Trafficking identified five victims of forced labor, two for (commercial) forced labor, and three who were trafficked to the country to commit crimes, such as drug sales and organized theft. The government also trained tax inspectors and trade union officials to identify forced labor.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment

The minimum legal age for full-time employment is 15. The law sets a minimum age of 13 for part-time employment and limits school-age children to less strenuous tasks. The law limits work hours and sets occupational health and safety restrictions for children, and the government effectively enforced these laws. Minors may not operate heavy machinery or handle toxic substances, including harsh detergents. Minors may only carry out “light work” that is the equivalent of lifting no more than 26.4 pounds from the ground and 52.8 pounds from waist height. For minors working in jobs where there is a higher risk of robbery, such as a snack bar, kiosk, bakery, gas station, a coworker over the age of 18 must always be present between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays, and 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekends.

d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation

The law prohibits employment discrimination and the government generally enforced these laws effectively. Penalties for violations include fines and imprisonment and were generally sufficient to deter violations. Discrimination in employment and occupation was limited and occurred with respect to gender and ethnicity (see section 6).

Danish gender equality law does not apply to Greenland, but Greenland’s own law prohibits gender discrimination. No Greenlandic laws prohibit discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The law does not mandate a national minimum wage, and unions and employer associations negotiated minimum wages in collective bargaining agreements. The average minimum wage for all private- and public-sector collective bargaining agreements was 110 kroner ($17.60) per hour, exclusive of pension benefits. The law requires equal pay for equal work; migrant workers are entitled to the same minimum wages and working conditions as other workers.

Workers generally worked a 37.5-hour week established by contract rather than law. Workers received premium pay for overtime, and there was no compulsory overtime. Working hours are set by collective bargaining agreements, and adhere to the EU directive that average workweeks not exceed 48 hours.

The law prescribes conditions of work, including safety and health standards, and authorities enforced compliance with labor regulation. Minimum wage, hours of work, and occupational safety and health standards were effectively enforced in all sectors, including the informal economy. Penalties for safety and health violations, for both employees and employers, include fines or imprisonment for up to one year; penalties for violations that result in a serious personal injury or death include imprisonment for up to two years. The Danish Working Environment Authority (DWEA) under the Ministry of Employment may settle cases subject only to fines without trial. These penalties were considered sufficient to deter violations.

The Ministry of Employment is responsible for the framework and rules regarding working conditions, health and safety, industrial injuries, financial support, disability allowances, and enterprise placement services. The DWEA is responsible for enforcing health and safety rules and regulations. This is carried out through inspection visits as well as guidance to companies and their internal safety organizations. The DWEA’s scope applies to all industrial sectors except for work carried out in the employer’s private household, exclusively by members of the employer’s family, and by military personnel. The Danish Energy Agency is responsible for supervision of offshore energy installations, the Maritime Authority is responsible for supervision of shipping, and the Civil Aviation Administration is responsible for supervision in the aviation sector.

The DWEA has authority to report violations to the police or the courts if an employer fails to make required improvements by the deadline set by the DWEA. Court decisions regarding violations were released to the public and show past fines imposed against noncompliant companies or court-ordered reinstatement of employment. Greenland and the Faroe Islands have similar work conditions, except in both cases collective bargaining agreements set the standard workweek at 40 hours.

Workers can remove themselves from situations they believe endanger their health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, and authorities effectively protected employees in these situations. The same laws protect legal immigrants and foreign workers and apply equally to both categories of workers.

The number of labor inspectors was considered sufficient to enforce compliance. The DWEA effectively enforced labor health and safety standards in all sectors, including enforcement of limiting the hours worked per week. Vulnerable groups generally include migrant and seasonal laborers, as well as young workers.