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Denmark

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

Members of National/Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups

In June, two white men killed a black man on the island of Bornholm. One of the perpetrators, who were brothers, was a member of the far-right, anti-immigrant group Stram Kurs. According to the authorities, the victim was beaten with a wooden beam, stabbed multiple times including in the throat, and held down with a knee on his neck. NGOs and activists immediately called the killing a hate crime and organized Black Lives Matter demonstrations in protest. Authorities ruled out calling the murder a hate crime. Bente Pedersen Lund, the lead prosecutor in the case, insisted that the murder was based on a personal relationship between the three men and told the press that the motive “was not racist.” On December 1, both perpetrators were found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

The Ministry of Transport, Building, and Housing continued to implement the government’s action plan for the elimination of “ghettos,” neighborhoods of majority non-Western immigrants, by 2030. The government defined “ghetto” as an area with more than 1,000 residents where the share of immigrants and their descendants from non-Western countries was more than 50 percent. Media widely interpreted “non-Western” to mean Muslim-majority communities. The law requires “ghetto” parents to send toddlers older than the age of one to government-funded daycare to be taught “Danish values,” including Christmas and Easter traditions. Authorities withheld quarterly benefits of up to 4,557 kroner ($716) from noncompliant parents. The law also requires neighborhoods that have been classified as “ghettos” for four years in a row to reduce the amount of public housing in the area by 40 percent. A neighborhood listed as a “ghetto” for four years in a row is classified as a “hard ghetto.” The law requires neighborhoods that have been classified as “hard ghettos” to reduce the amount of public housing in the area by 40 percent to qualify for a change in classification.

In August the public transportation company DSB received complaints after it ran a political advertisement for the Danish People’s Party that read “no to Islam, yes to Denmark.” The advertisement illustrated the mainstream current of anti-Muslim political sentiment and was present within the crossword puzzle of the transportation company’s magazine Ud & Se that was available on public trains. The DSB removed the advertisement after receiving a complaint from a train customer.

Residents of a public housing complex in Helsingor accused authorities of illegal discrimination after forcibly relocating 96 families. The residents believed they were evicted because of their ethnicity and challenged the removal in court. They argued they did not do anything wrong and that the eviction was discriminatory and based on ethnicity. Housing authorities stated the lease terminations were due to accessibility renovations in the building. Media reports suggested that the evictions might have been part of an effort to remove the complex from the government’s “hard ghetto” list.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future