Danish PM asks for talks over the Geneva Convention on the rights of refugees

If the European refugee crisis continue then the international community will need to reform the Geneva Convention on the rights of refugees, centre-right Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Monday.

Rasmussen said in an interview with Danish broadcaster TV 2: “If this (the European refugee crisis) continues or gets worse… we will get to the point where we’ll have to talk – and Denmark won’t be able to do it alone – about adjusting the rules of the game.”

The PM was asked by the journalist whether he meant changing international conventions that regulate refugee rights, when he said “the rules of the game” and he said “yes” and added: “It’s clear that at some point, if Europe does not get this under control, then you have to start a discussion.”

The modern day Geneva Convention on the rights of refugees came to power in 1951. The Convention is grounded in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of human rights 1948, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. The Convention has been subject to only one amendment in the form of a 1967 Protocol, which gave the Convention universal coverage. According to the UN it has since been supplemented by refugee and subsidiary protection regimes in several regions.

Rasmussen said that two aspects of the refugee Convention need to be discussed. The first is about the entitlement of the refugee to apply in a second asylum country and the second is about family reunification.

Regarding with the asylum application he said: “if you stay in Turkey for 2-3 years, (a country that itself) is free from war, should you then be allowed to head on to Europe and seek asylum? Today the rules say yes, but we need to discuss that.”

Concerning, family reunification, the PM most probably wants a less definitive law which is going to allow Member States impose stricter rules. According to Reuters, Denmark’s parliament has adopted a bill to enable family reunifications only after three years, for example, but has been unable to apply this to all refugees because of the Convention on the rights of refugees.

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