- Denmark’s government announced it intends to isolate dozens of “unwanted” migrants on a remote island.
- The island was once used to house contagious animals for research, and held stables and a crematorium for dead animals.
- Migrants will be allowed to leave the island via a ferry, but the service is infrequent and migrants must live on the island and report there daily.
- Denmark has adopted an increasingly hostile attitude toward immigrants in recent years, making international headlines for its hardline policies on assimilation.
Denmark’s right-leaning government says it intends to isolate dozens of “unwanted” migrants on a remote island two miles out to sea that once housed contagious animals for research.
The island of Lindholm spans just 17 acres and was used since 1926 for laboratories, stables, and a crematorium for dead animals, The New York Times reported.
Nowadays, it houses a veterinary institute for the Technical University of Denmark, and runs a ferry service named “the Virus.”
The Danish government announced last week it intends to decontaminate the island in 2019 and have the facility ready to house up to 125 migrants by the end of 2021.
“If you are unwanted in Danish society, you should not be a nuisance to ordinary Danes,” Inger Støjberg, Denmark’s immigration minister, wrote on Facebook. “They are undesirable in Denmark, and they must feel it!”
Denmark has adopted an increasingly hostile attitude toward migrants in recent years, making international headlines for implementing a ban on religious face coverings, and imposing new laws for “ghetto” neighbourhoods that regulate the way immigrant children assimilate into Danish culture.
In a statement, the Danish government said the “return center” on Lindholm will house migrants who have been denied refugee status, but who cannot be deported to their home countries due to danger.
The island will also house migrants who the Danish government has sought to deport due to their criminal records, but whose home countries refuse to accept them.
“The residents are not detained,” the statement said, adding that the migrants will be required to sleep at the center and report there daily. “They are free to leave the island, and a ferry service will be provided.”
But a government spokesman has also said Denmark intends to minimise ferry departures and make them “as cumbersome and expensive as possible,” The Times reported.
Already, the plan has sparked an international outcry. The United Nations’ human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, told reporters on Wednesday she had “serious concerns” with the Danish government’s plan, and intended to monitor and discuss the situation.
“We’ve seen the negative impact of such policies of isolation, and [they] should not replicate these policies,” Bachelet said. “Because depriving them of their liberty, isolating them, and stigmatizing them will only increase their vulnerability.”
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