Integration Minister Birthe Rønn Hornbech has written to between 400 and 500 stateless young people and adults who have been born in Denmark but who have either had their applications for citizenship rejected or were unaware they were eligible.
“We are advising them to apply, and if they fulfil the requirements they will be given Danish citizenship,” Hornbech says.
Requirements are that those concerned must have been born in Denmark of stateless parents. The combined 1977 and 1999 UN conventions to which Denmark is a signatory, say that protection under the conventions ceases at the age of 21.
But in the current case, some 100 young people over the age of 21 are also to be contacted as a result of malpractice within the Integration Ministry for several years.
Rønn Hornbech’s decision cuts through the controversies of recent weeks following the disclosure by the newspaper Information in January, that since 1999 applications from those eligible under the UN conventions had been rejected, and that the ministry failed to inform stateless youths of their rights.
“It is incomprehensible that a mistake of this type can happen. But now all the stateless Palestinians who have been affected by the mistake will get better treatment than they would have received. In effect they should have applied. Now we will make them aware of the fact that they can seek Danish citizenship. A recap,” says Rønn Hornbech.
“This is a very complicated problem to solve. What we will be doing is that those who are still under 21 will be treated as they should under the conventions. But for safety’s sake, they will be receiving a letter from the ministry to tell them that they can apply. Those who are close to 21 will also get a letter, including a deadline, so that they do not pass the 21-year limit without being informed. And those who are over 21 will also get a deadline so that we can clear up their cases once and for all,” says Hornbech.
Edited by Julian Isherwood