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Nordic Countries: An Uneven Response

  • Izabella Majcher
  • Michael Flynn
  • Mariette Grange
Chapter
  • 23 Downloads
Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 22)

Abstract

The detention regimes in the three Nordic countries addressed in this chapter (Norway has been excluded because it is not a European Union (EU) member state) diverge in key ways, as do their migratory contexts. Whereas Sweden has long been a top destination for migrants and asylum seekers, Finland and Denmark have faced less challenging pressures. Nevertheless, Sweden is often regarded as exemplary for its treatment of non-citizens in immigration procedures, even if this reputation has degraded recently as policies and public sentiment in the country have hardened since the “crisis.” A similar hardening has occurred in Finland. Denmark, on the other hand, has long been notorious for its restrictive policies and seemingly vindictive official attitudes towards migrants and refugees, which reached fevered pitch during the migration crisis. The country proposed “offshoring” detention facilities, similar to controversial Australian practices. All three countries, however, share some important characteristics: They all make limited use of penal or criminal justice institutions for immigration detention purposes, though with important differences between each country. None of the countries explicitly prohibit the immigration detention of all children under the age of 18. Also importantly, none of the countries had a maximum permissible length of detention provided by law prior to the transposition of the EU Returns Directive. Following the transposition, Sweden and Finland set a maximum 12-month period, while Denmark adopted the full 18 months allowed for under the directive. In addition, the Nordic countries share in common the general lack in distinction in grounds for immigration detention between asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

Keywords

Immigration detention EU migration and asylum policies Deportation and removal Asylum seekers Arbitrary detention 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Izabella Majcher
    • 1
  • Michael Flynn
    • 1
  • Mariette Grange
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Detention ProjectGenevaSwitzerland

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