18 April 2011
Budapest, 18 April 2011: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) welcomes the decision by the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Integration Affairs to reverse the July 2010 orders to expel a group of Romanian Roma from Denmark, ten of whom were represented by the ERRC. The Ministry stated in its decision that it found reason to reverse the expulsion decisions handed down by the Immigration Authority because the expulsions contravened European Union law. The Ministry underlined the disproportionality of the orders, stating that the Roma did not constitute a threat to public order sufficient to allow expulsion under EU law.
On the occasion of the decision, ERRC Executive Director, Robert Kushen, stated: “the ERRC is pleased that the Danish authorities have reversed a decision against expulsions which should never have taken place. The individuals involved were targeted because of their ethnicity and were expelled in clear contravention of human rights norms and the European Union law on free movement. Denmark has rightly halted a practice which some European neighbours continue, despite manifest illegality.”
The Romanian Roma represented by the ERRC were part of a larger group of 23 who were collectively arrested and expelled from Denmark in early July 2010 for alleged public safety reasons and who were banned by the Danish authorities from re-entering Denmark for two years.
This decision comes in the wake of recent Danish Supreme Court decisions concerning other European citizens, some of them of Romani ethnicity, who had been deported from Denmark for similar reasons. The Supreme Court held in those cases that expelling EU citizens due to petty offences, such as trespassing, is disproportionate and violates Denmark’s obligations in relation to the EU Free Movement Directive, guaranteeing the right to travel and reside in EU countries for up to three months without any requirements.
“Today, Danish authorities respected the European law on free movement and confirmed the importance of the rights of European citizenship for all of Europe’s citizens, regardless of country of origin or ethnicity. We hope that other European states which are undertaking similar actions against Roma will heed the stance taken by Denmark. We also hope the European Commission will take the Danish decision into account as it deliberates the legality of France’s ongoing expulsions of Roma,” said Robert Kushen.
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