Tag Archives: The Nordic Countries

Denmark News | Low-income Muslim Immigrants

Denmark approves new classification and requirements for low-income immigrant neighborhoods
  • The Danish government plans to classify low-income, predominantly Muslim immigrant neighborhoods as “ghettos,” triggering a set of household requirements for the receipt of welfare benefits.
  • Starting at one year of age, children will be separated from their families for 25 hours a week for education in “Danish values” (including Christian religious traditions), while other Danish children typically do not begin school until age six.
  • The policy comes as anti-immigrant sentiment has increased in the country, with political figures (including the Prime Minister) denigrating immigrant enclaves and demanding assimilation.
Read

Denmark to school ‘ghetto’ kids in democracy and Christmas” (Reuters | May 2018)

In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” (The New York Times | July 2018)

‘No ghettos in 2030’: Denmark’s controversial plan to get rid of immigrant neighborhoods” (Vox | July 2018)

Denmark News | Muslim Women

Denmark bans face veils as anti-Muslim sentiment increases
  • The Danish Parliament passed legislation effectively banning burqas and niqabs, imposing up to a 10,000 kroner fine on anyone found in repeated violation.
  • Just over three dozen people are thought to be currently affected by the legislation, prompting Muslims and advocates to argue the bill’s greater purpose is to stir Islamophobic attitudes.
  • The ban comes amidst a wave of anti-Muslim remarks and proposals, including the Immigration Minister’s touting of falling Muslim citizenship approval numbers, a 50,000-signature petition to ban the circumcision of boys, and calls for the closing of Muslim schools.
Read

Danish parliament bans the wearing of face veils in public” (Reuters | May 2018)

Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged” (The Guardian | June 2018)

Unsurprising that stricter Danish rules give fewer Muslims citizenship: immigration minister” (The Local | May 2018)

Iceland News | Women

Gender pay parity law comes into effect in Iceland
  • Companies and public agencies with at least 25 employees will be required to obtain government certification of equal-pay practices or face fines.
  • Iceland became the first country to mandate pay equality by legislation in 2017, with the law now in effect with the arrival of the new year.
  • Since 2006, Iceland has closed 10% of its pay gap—one of the fastest improvement rates in the world—and pledged to eradicate it by 2020.
Read

In Iceland, it’s now illegal to pay men more than women” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)

Iceland first nation to make pay equality a legal requirement” (The New Zealand Herald | January 2018)

Iceland set to tackle gender pay gap with world’s toughest law” (BBC News | March 2017)

Study

The Global Gender Gap Report 2017 (World Economic Forum)

Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Black Lives Matter Globally

As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests

Europe & Eurasia Research | LGBTI

The State of LGBTI Security in Europe

ILGA-Europe recently released its annual report on the state of LGBT rights and security across the Europe. Covering developments in individual countries and transnational institutions from 2015, the report notes increasing legal protections for gender minorities and family and partnership rights for sexual minorities in Southern and Western Europe as well as ongoing political exclusion, persecution, and violence in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Here are some of the highlights:

Malta

Rated the most progressive European country, Malta’s groundbreaking law prohibiting surgical intervention into a person’s sex characteristics without consent and inclusive education policies for trans, intersex, and other gender minorities were cited as distinctive policies.

Finland, France, Greece, Ireland

Other countries with significant judicial or policy victories regarding the rights of gender minorities.

Ireland, Luxembourg

Countries extending marriage rights to same-sex couples

Cyprus, Greece

Countries extending civil partnership rights to same-sex couples

Austria, Portugal

Countries extending adoption rights to same-sex couples

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

Bottom three countries for LGBTI security

Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia

Countries blocking same-sex marriage rights

Hungary, Montenegro, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Countries denying, limiting, or antagonizing organization and assembly rights of LGBTI civil society groups

Read:
Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex People in Europe 2016 (ILGA-Europe)

Additional:
Rainbow Europe
Azerbaijan worst place to be gay in Europe, finds LGBTI index” (The Guardian)
Which EU states are out of touch on gay marriage?” (euronews)

Interregional Feature | Refugees with Mental Illness

The Spiraling Mental Health of Syrian Refugees

“Is it because these refugees are coming from somewhere where they’ve seen their families butchered and suffered some kind of trauma? […] Or is it because as refugees they had to wander across half of Africa for a couple years before they ever got to Europe? Or is it because that when they got to Europe and eventually Sweden, they lived in fear of being kicked out of the country?”

As refugees find themselves piling up at closed borders, stuck indefinitely in overcrowded camps, and resettled in countries they may have had little to no connection to, reports are indicating an increasing prevalence of mental health problems and risk of long-term illness. The stresses of war, upended lives, separated families, life-threatening travel, and an uncertain future have caught up to a growing number of refugees, causing severe degradation of their mental health relative to other non-refugee migrant groups.

Humanitarian workers have observed that deteriorating mental health conditions with little access to appropriate healthcare have contributed to violence and vulnerability to radicalization. While refugees tell stories of loss, desperation, and disillusionment, field psychologists report increases in or risk of PTSD, panic disorders, depression, anxiety, and a range of psychotic conditions among refugee populations, further compounding their already marginalized status and setting the stage for potentially lifelong psychological battles.

Read more:
Refugees Suffer a Higher Rate of Psychotic Disorders” (Scientific American)
Lebanon struggles to help Syrian refugees with mental health problems” (Reuters)
Idomeni’s refugees suffer mental anguish” (Deutsche Welle)
Psychological toll on Syrian refugees alarming, many suffer from mental illnesses” (The Daily Sabah)
Syrian Refugees In Canada Face Ongoing Health Challenges: Study” (The Huffington Post)

(Image Credit: D. Tosidis/Deutsche Welle)

Sweden News | Indigenous Peoples

Judge rules in favor of exclusive land rights for indigenous group in northern Sweden
  • A district court ruled that the Sami, an ethnic group indigenous to northern Scandanavia and northwest Russia, should have exclusive rights to control hunting and fishing in the Arctic village of Girjas.
  • The legal battle began in the early 1990s, when the Swedish government stripped land rights to the village from the Sami, Sweden’s only officially recognized indigenous group who trace their lineage in the region back thousands of years.
  • The victory comes as the Church of Sweden has released a two-volume report detailing the history of its treatment of the Sami, including the segregated schools it ran for from the 1910s to the 1960s.

Read more:
Sweden’s indigenous Sami people win rights battle against state” (The Guardian)
Sami minority wins symbolic court victory over Sweden” (The Local)
Swedish church admits it ran ‘racist’ Sami schools” (The Local)

(Image Credit: Alamy/The Guardian)