The following information is based on the Amnesty International Report 2021/22. This report documented the human rights situation in 149 countries in 2021, as well as providing global and regional analysis. It presents Amnesty International’s concerns and calls for action to governments and others. 


People with “non-western” backgrounds continued to face discrimination in social housing. Refugees’ right to family life continued to be violated and laws on returns and externalizing the processing of asylum and residency applications were passed. Initiatives on sexuality education and corporate accountability continued to be delayed. Freedom of expression and privacy were compromised by a pending legislative proposal on data retention.


In May, a petition signed by 55,913 people to repeal the discriminatory law “L38” on social housing was discussed in parliament, but the law remained in force.

During its UPR, Denmark accepted recommendations in May to review its social housing policies, but only committed to a cosmetic removal of the term “ghetto” from government documents. Policies aiming to limit the number of residents with a “non-western background” continued, alongside new discriminatory initiatives that no neighbourhood would house more than 30% of residents with “non-western backgrounds” by 2030. 

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

In July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Denmark’s mandatory three-year waiting period for family reunification, which would affect around 4,000 Syrian refugees, stating that this violated the right to family life.

In June, parliament passed a law enabling Denmark to externalize the processing of people seeking asylum and refugee residence permits to non-European countries. No agreement with a host country exists, but from 2020 to 2021 the Danish government approached authorities in Egypt, Morocco, Rwanda and Tunisia. In December, Denmark entered negotiations with Kosovo on outsourcing prison cells for 300 people convicted of crimes and awaiting expulsion from Denmark as part of their sentence.

In May, Parliament approved a new Return Bill with new rules, such as offering money to asylum seekers to refrain from appealing to the Refugee Appeals Board if their claims are rejected.

In August, the government officially paused deportations to Afghanistan. At the end of the year, 19 Afghan citizens remained in return centres, without access to work or education and with limited access to healthcare.

In February, the Danish Immigration Service and Danish Refugee Appeals Board stated that Damascus in Syria and its surrounding rural area were “safe” for returns. As of 19 December, at least 151 Syrians had their residence permits revoked or not extended, or had their asylum application rejected.

Women’s and girls’ rights

In March, the CEDAW Committee recommended that Denmark include education about relationships, sexual autonomy and consent in compulsory sexuality education programmes in primary and secondary schools, and introduce a compulsory module on sexuality education for training teachers. This was not implemented in 2021.

Right to privacy

In October, a legal proposal on data retention was sent for discussion in parliament. The proposal was strongly criticized for its potential impact on the rights to freedom of expression and privacy.

Corporate accountability

In October, the government stated that Denmark would adopt a legal framework requiring businesses to exercise human rights due diligence in their operations, including the possibility for victims to seek judicial remedies. By the end of the year, however, no such proposal had been presented to parliament.

Denmark Newsroom

March 4, 2019 • Report

Give us respect and justice! Overcoming barriers to justice for women rape survivors in Denmark

Denmark’s reputation for gender equality masks a society with one of Europe’s highest levels of rape, where flawed legislation and widespread harmful myths and gender stereotypes have resulted in endemic impunity for rapists, Amnesty International …

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 17, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Denmark 2013

KINGDOM OF DENMARK Head of state Queen Margrethe II Head of government Helle Thorning-Schmidt A European Parliament report recommended that Denmark conduct an independent investigation into its involvement in the …

March 26, 2011 • Report

Europe: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention

Europe: Open Secret: Mounting Evidence of Europe’s Complicity in Rendition and Secret Detention Available in PDF only.

March 19, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Denmark 2010

Head of state Queen Margrethe II Head of government Lars Løkke Rasmussen (replaced Anders Fogh Rasmussen in April) Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes Population 5.5 million Life expectancy 78.2 …

August 1, 2018 • Press Release

Denmark: Face veil ban a discriminatory violation of women’s rights

As a new law banning the wearing of face coverings in public comes into force in Denmark, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Fotis Filippou said: “All women should be free …

November 19, 2017 • Press Release

Amnesty reveals alarming impact of online abuse against women

New research by Amnesty International has revealed the alarming impact that abuse and harassment on social media are having on women, with women around the world reporting stress, anxiety, or panic attacks as a result of these harmful online experiences.

March 10, 2016 • Press Release

Ai Weiwei, Snowden, Pussy Riot take place of online ads to protest censorship

Messages from Edward Snowden, Ai Weiwei and Pussy Riot will be broadcast across the internet by AdBlock and Amnesty International on the World Day against Cyber Censorship, 12 March 2016.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.