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September 15, 2015

Hopes of an unbureaucratic transit fail

Danish police detains transit refugees and forces their registry

After consultations with Denmark and Sweden the state government in Kiel is allowing refugees to continue their journey to Sweden via Denmark. However, the Danish authorities are not interested in any arrangements, and consequently clear a train as well as a ferry in Rødby.

On September 8, a number of 100 refugees going through Lübeck  to Copenhagen by train were detained by the German federal police. The refugees on their flight due to violence in war and persecution in their home countries Afghanistan, Syria, and Eritrea were mainly on their way to Sweden.

There they have relatives and the prospect of receiving asylum. Over 80 of the transit refugees who were hindered to travel further had to hold out at the Lübeck train station where they demanded to be allowed to journey on to Malmö. Among them men and women, families, some of them with very small children and a large number of minors.

The Schleswig-Holstein state government had apparently with success found an agreement with the responsible authorities in Denmark and Sweden to let the affected refugees continue their journey. At last, the refugees and a group of supporters, amongst others people from  the refugee forum in Lübeck, accompanying them could get on the train that was to leave for Sweden via Denmark.

At a stop in Rødby however, the Danish police destroyed the hopes of an unbureaucratic transit for the refugees that night. A police official stated that they did not know anything about bi – or trilateral arrangements between Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

With reference to the Dublin regulation the refugees’ onward journey was denied and they were extracted from the ferry by the police. “Everything went wrong,” said Heike Behrens from the refugee forum in Lübeck. The trap had snapped shut. “Every refugee refugee with Sweden as a destination is advised to avoid the route through Denmark and try it directly.” ,warned Heike Behrens.

A group of 150 of the Lübeck transit refugees were interned in a school facility in Havnegade, Rødby and were forced to spend the night. Refugees are not to leave the building and are not allowed to speak with anyone outside the school. The access for journalists was denied and taking pictures as well as filming is prohibited.

Updates of the ongoing situation will follow.


Nicholas Bell

Baltic Sea Network on Migration Issues