Danish lawmakers denied access to Nauru camp
DANISH lawmakers have dropped a planned visit to a controversial Australian immigration centre on the Pacific island of Nauru after two politicians who criticised the centre were denied access.
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen of the leftist Red-Green Alliance and Jacob Mark of the Socialist People’s Party had both criticised Canberra’s use of offshore settlements for asylum seekers and conditions at the Nauru camp before travelling to Australia last week.
“After the Danish foreign ministry got involved in the case, Nauru authorities said on that the decision [to deny access] remained in force,” Ms Schmidt-Nielsen wrote on Facebook.
The entire delegation then decided to cancel its visit to the island, even though lawmakers from the Social Democrats, the centre-right Venstre party and the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party would have been able to go.
“It is absolutely unacceptable and undemocratic and says everything about the situation in Nauru that critics are denied access,” Ms SchmidtNielsen added.
A third lawmaker who had not voiced any criticism against the Nauru immigration centre – Naser Khader of the Conservative People’s Party – was also denied access.
While Danish media speculated that his application may have come too late, Ms Schmidt-Nielsen suggested that his Arab name may have played a part in the decision.
The release of more than 2000 leaked reports of incidents on Nauru revealed allegations of widespread abuse and self-harm.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper, which published the Nauru reports, said that only two Australian journalists had been granted access to the Nauru detention centre in the past three years. –
Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen celebrates the EU vote against cross-border policing in Copenhagen on December 3, 2015.