In a commentary to the study Anders Bondo Christensen, the chairman of the Danish Association of Teachers, noted than when we have an obligation to receive education in Denmark we must also make a school available where the children will enjoy well-being. He saw a solution in ‘greater inter-cultural understanding’. It is not a question of compromising ‘Danish values’ such as democracy and equality, but we must become better at being open to cultural diversity. We must be better at understanding that the cultural background has importance for our understanding and our experience.”44
Family reunion and the 28 year rule (Art. 5 (d) (iv), cf. Art. 5 (d) (iii) and Art. 1
In the context of restrictive Danish rules on family reunion the Committee in para. 15 of its 2006 Concluding Observations expressed concern that the rule that the aggregate ties with Denmark must be stronger than their ties with any other country unless the spouse living in Denmark has been a Danish national or has been residing in Denmark for more than 28 years may lead to a situation of discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to family life, marriage and choice of spouse for persons belonging to ethnic or national minority groups.
In the Danish additional report, requested by the Committee, the Government found that the 28-year rule was not in contradiction with the principle of equality (CERD/C/CO/17/Add.1, para. 49). The Government further described the 28-year rule as an exception waiving the stipulation on aggregate ties of the couple and stated that there are objective reasons for the differential treatment accorded to citizens depending on the length of their citizenship (para. 50, cf. para. 33 “do not amount to unfounded discrimination”).
DACoRD respectfully disagrees and urge the Committee to review whether ’any distinction, exclusion or restriction… based on national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms’, inter alia the right to nationality. Yet the Government - in para. 50 cited above - states that ‘a person who has been a Danish national for 28 years will normally be found to have such ties with Denmark that it is possible to waive the condition of ties and allow family reunion in contradistinction to persons enjoying a Danish citizenship apparently of a lesser quality.45 The Government provides no reason why the apparent arbitrary figure of 28 years should give reason for such qualitative distinction.46 In the view of DACoRD there is no rational tie between the measure in the 28 year rule and any objective and proportional reason for the differential treatment, which must therefore be deemed
44 Kristeligt Dagblad, 1 July 2010, p. 1 and 3.
45 Compare in this context also art. 5 (1) of the European Convention on Nationality (ECN) of 6 Nov. 1997, dk ratification on 24 July 2003:
“The rules of a State Party on nationality shall not contain distinctions or include any practice which amount to discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin.” and Art. 5 (2)
“Each State Party shall be guided by the principle of non-discrimination between its nationals whether they are nationals by birth or have acquired its nationality subsequently.” ECT No. 166, Danish Law Gazette, Lovtidende bkg nr. 17, 12 June 2003. ICERD Art. 1 is explicitly stated as one of the sources to art. 5, in the explanatory report for ECN, para. 43.
46 DACoRD fails to understand why the real ties of a Danish citizen, who is born in Denmark and became Danish at birth, but who has lived most of his life abroad, perhaps 1 year in Denmark and 27 years abroad must be considered having a better attachment to Denmark, than an immigrant who may have lived in Denmark for 10 years or more.