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Danes Say Something is Rotten in Asylum Offer to Palestinians

March 6, 1992
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Citizens of Denmark are protesting that something is rotten as their legislature approves asylum for 460 Palestinian refugees in Denmark.

The Forketing, or Danish parliament, decided last week that the refugees, who have lived here for the past 18 months under the protection of the Danish Church, should not be returned to Lebanon, the country from which they came.

The same consideration has not been given other refugee groups, Romanians, for example, whose applications for asylum were rejected.

The parliament’s decision was contrary to the wishes of Justice Minister Hans Engel, who said he rejected “special treatment” of any group.

It drew sharp criticism from Foreign Minister Uffe Elleman-Jensen and was opposed by most of the political parties, the news media and public opinion.

They were upset by the disclosure from official sources that about 120 of the Palestinians, ostensibly, seeking a haven from persecution, freely visited Lebanon or Syria last year to get married or attend family reunions.

Elleman-Jensen remarked on television that if the Palestinians were able to travel to and from those countries without problems, evidently they were not in danger.

“Something is rotten and we have to examine this activity,” the minister said.

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