Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person
There were no reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
The constitution and law prohibit such practices, but there were some reports government officials employed them.
Several committees in the country’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) expressed concern that coercive measures were used in mental health institutions, and that coerced treatment and the use of restraint in institutions remained legal. In February the Danish Institute against Torture (DIGNITY) published a briefing note finding the country’s 2014 action plan to reduce the use of coercion in psychiatric institutions by 50 percent by 2020, including a 50 percent reduction in the use of mechanical restraints with belts, did not meet its goals. According to a 2020 report released by the Health Authority, the use of belt restraints decreased, but the prevalence of patients subjected to one or several coercive methods increased in comparison to the pre-action plan statistics during a 12-month study period between July 2019 and June 2020.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concluded in September 2020 that the government had violated the prohibition of inhuman treatment in a case where belt restraints had been used on a patient for nearly 23 hours. On February 3, the Supreme Court held that restraining with belts for 281 consecutive days was a violation of the prohibition of inhuman treatment. The case related to a patient who was detained at a psychiatric institution while awaiting a transfer to a more specialized psychiatric hospital in 2015. The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the Audit Office, and the ombudsman criticized the use of belt restraints.
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provide for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest or detention in court. The government generally observed these requirements.
The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were isolated reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions. The law allows the government to collect the personal data of airline passengers. The DIHR criticized the government for postponing the revision of its logging rules despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the existing systematic collection of data is in violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The constitution and laws provide citizens, including residents of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the ability to choose their governments in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: Free and fair parliamentary elections in 2019 led to the formation of a single-party minority government headed by Social Democratic Party leader Mette Frederiksen.
Free and fair parliamentary elections in Greenland in April led to the formation of a two-party majority government headed by left-green party Inuit Ataqatigiit and pro-independence party Naleraq.
The Faroe Islands also held free and fair municipal elections in November 2020.
Participation of Women and Members of Minority Groups: No laws limit the participation of women and members of minority groups in the political process, and they did participate.