Denmark is a prime European destination for asylum-seekers fleeing from the Middle East in the current diaspora. Like other European countries, Denmark is struggling trying to balance its desire to extend humanitarian aid and shelter to those fleeing war-torn areas like Syria with the practical concerns about how to handle the costs involved in opening its doors. The Danish government looks ready to pass into law a proposal that would require asylum seekers entering Denmark with more than $1,450 worth of valuables to surrender them in order to offset the costs incurred by Denmark in accepting the refugees, according to the New York Times.
Human rights activists (and the UN refugee agency) are ripping the proposal, but without offering to find another way to raise the money. Denmark Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told a Danish newspaper that the bill is “probably the most misunderstood proposal in the history of Denmark.” But other Danish politicians agree with the activists, saying the bill is an affront to the refugees’ dignity. The Danish parliament will vote on the bill January 26. Protesters have had some effect. A change in the proposal says that the Danes won’t confiscate “objects of sentimental value.” Refugees will be able to keep their wedding rings.