In the pleadings in the case the appellant has shown that 90% of the recipients34 of the starting allowance are foreigners. This is not contested by the Crown counsel, acting both for the Ministry and the municipality.
DACoRD continues to be of the opinion that the legislative amendment was intended to exclude residents in Denmark from equal access to social benefits on the basis of national or ethnic origin, and that it is mainly foreigners who are affected by the rule. Even if the Government in the explanatory remarks to parliament – also cited before the High Court – maintained the formal view, according to which the rule also applied to Danish citizen, the government has recently shown a more favourable inclination to change the rule in relation to Danish citizens.
On June 10 2010 Danish news media carried a story the Danish war veterans was being punished.. Veterans who had been on Danish missions abroad and had become ill – typically PTSD syndrome – had been refused ordinary cash allowance because the had hit the 7/8 year ceiling and ended on the starting allowance while their application for early retirement was pending. On the same day the Minister for Employment issued a press release, stating: “I cannot live with the fact that soldiers who has been out to defend Denmark, are not entitled to cash assistance, when they return home. I will therefore change the rules in order that this particular kind of stay abroad counts in a different way than other stays abroad.35
Mother Tongue teaching and education– Art. 5 (e) (v) and (vi)
In para 19 of the 2006 Concluding observations the Committee regretted the repeal in 2002 of the municipalities’ obligation to provide economic support for mother tongue teaching to bilingual students – if the students did not come from Europe (the E/EES countries) or from the Faroe Islands or Greenland. The Committee recommended a review by the State party in this area. The Government it its response merely stated that in distinction to the mentioned student groups, “the same reasons for giving mother tongue tuition do not apply to other bilingual children(Report, para. 161). The government did not ask if there was the same substantial reason from the perspective of fundamental human needs in personal and educational development and personal identity formation was the same substantive reason to offer mother tongue instruction. Accordingly, the government did not address the question if the differentiation between the children from the concerned groups therefore was based on objective criteria and accordingly was proportionate to the pursuit of a legitimate aim. DACoRD believes that this is the critical question to be answered, and that the distinction therefore constitutes discrimination. The government further noted, that it did not prevent municipalities and private
34 The figure remains stable in tabulation for the years 2003-2006 in a report prepared by Amnesty International, Starthjælp – når staten diskriminerer [Starting Allowance – when the State discriminates], Copenhagen, Nov. 2007, p. 10. For the year 2006 recipients counted 249 persons with Danish background (6%) and 3.659 individuals (94%). The relative distribution for all the years remain stable, while the absolute numbers show growth: 2003: 1998 for persons not of Danish background, 2004: 3392, 2005: 3802 and 2006: 3659. Thus, the figures does not support the contention of the Government in para. 125f of the report, that the starting allowance “help”. Furthermore, persons of non-Danish background remain longer on the lower starting allowance, than persons of Danish background: 61-62 percent of recipients are foreigners of Western and non-Western country background compared to 39 percent of persons of Danish background (ibid, p.11).
35 Beskæftigelsesministeriet, Press release 10 June 2010 Udsendte soldater skal ikke på starthjælp.