2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Denmark
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||27 February 2014|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Denmark, 27 February 2014, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/53284b3414.html [accessed 25 April 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with democratic, parliamentary rule. Queen Margrethe II is head of state. A prime minister, usually the leader of the majority party of a multi-party coalition, is head of government and presides over the cabinet, which is accountable to a unicameral parliament (Folketing). Elections in 2011, which observers deemed free and fair, gave a plurality to a left-of-center coalition led by the Social Democratic Party, which remained in power during the year. Authorities maintained effective control over the security forces. Security forces did not commit human rights abuses.
During the year authorities at times held pretrial detainees together with convicted criminals and youth offenders with adults. Human rights groups continued to complain of prolonged detention of rejected asylum seekers. There continued to be occasional reports of societal discrimination against religious and ethnic minority groups and instances of rape and domestic violence against women. There were incidents of trafficking in persons.
The government took steps to prosecute officials, whether in the military or elsewhere in government, accused of committing abuses. There were no reports of impunity during the year.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. The Military Prosecution Service and the Judge Advocate General's Advocate Corps examine any security force killings and evaluate whether they occurred in the line of duty or were otherwise justifiable.
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison conditions generally met international standards, and the government permitted monitoring visits by independent human rights observers. The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) visited Greenland in September 2012 and inspected the Nuuk prison and police station. The CPT's report, published in January, made a number of recommendations for measures to ameliorate deficiencies in material conditions at the Nuuk facilities, which the government took immediate steps to implement.
Physical Conditions: According to government statistics, during 2012 the average daily prison population was 3,984, approximately 96.6 percent of capacity. Approximately 4 percent of inmates were women and 0.3 percent juveniles. There were no reports that prison conditions were worse for women than for men. According to human rights observers, authorities occasionally continued to hold pretrial detainees together with convicted criminals and detained children together with adults. In its January report, the CPT noted that at the Nuuk prison in Greenland the "general rule was mixed-sex accommodation" but no mixed-sex cells; the report noted that work to set up a subsection for women continued. Human rights groups continued to criticize what they deemed as authorities' excessive use of pretrial solitary confinement.
In 2011 four prisoners committed suicide and three died of natural causes in prisons and detention centers. Prisoners had access to potable water.
Administration: Recordkeeping was adequate, and authorities used alternatives to sentencing for nonviolent offenders. The parliamentary ombudsman functioned as a prison ombudsman as required.
Prisoners generally had access to visitors and could attend religious observance. Prisoners were able to submit complaints without censorship directly to the Prison and Probation Service or through the parliamentary ombudsman. Authorities investigated credible allegations of inhumane conditions and recorded their investigations in a public register.
Officials reported that all prisons and detention centers included special cells that met the needs of persons with disabilities, but they acknowledged the facilities as a whole, which were old, did not completely meet the requirements of persons with disabilities.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government generally observed these prohibitions.
Role of the Police and Security Apparatus
The national police maintain internal security. The military forces are responsible for external security and have some international responsibilities. Police report to the Ministry of Justice, while military services report to the Ministry of Defense.
Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the national police, who are responsible for enforcing the law and maintaining order under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. The government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. In January 2012 authorities renewed the mandate of the Independent Police Complaint Authority to address accusations of misconduct in the police force. The authority received 655 complaints about police conduct in 2012. Human rights observers expressed concern that the authorities had to forego investigation of a number of complaints against the police because they could not identify the officers involved. As a result, some politicians called for officers to wear identity numbers on their uniforms, but police opposed such a procedure.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
The law allows police to begin investigations and make arrests either on their own initiative based upon visual evidence or based on a court order following an indictment filed by public prosecutors with the courts. Apprehended persons appear before an independent judiciary.
The law generally mandates that an individual whom authorities take into custody appear before a judge within 24 hours; however, they may hold an illegal alien up to 72 hours before bringing him/her before a judge. The law requires police to make every effort to limit this time to less than 12 hours; statistics on the actual time between the apprehension of prisoners and their first appearance before a judge were not available. In most cases authorities may not hold detainees for more than 72 hours while the judge determines their status, with generally no limitations to prompt access to counsel.
Authorities generally respected the right of detainees to a prompt judicial determination and informed them promptly of charges against them. There is no bail system; instead, judges decide either to release detainees on their own recognizance or to keep them in jail until trial. A judge may authorize detention prior to trial only when authorities are charging the detainee with a violation that could result in a sentence of more than 18 months, or when the judge determines the detainee would seek to impede the investigation of the case, would be a flight risk, or may commit a new offense. The standard period of pretrial custody is up to four weeks, but a court order may further extend custody in four-week increments. There were no known instances when authorities detained suspects incommunicado or held them under house arrest.
Detainees have the right to inform their next of kin of their arrest, contact a lawyer, and obtain medical treatment and authorities generally respected these rights. In its January report, however, the CPT noted some prisoners interviewed at the Nuuk prison indicated they had not been expressly informed of the right to access a lawyer and that a few only met an attorney at the time they appeared in court. Arrested persons have the right to unsupervised visits with an attorney from the time police bring them to a police station. Police may deny other forms of visitation, subject to a court appeal, but police generally did not do so. The government provided counsel for those who could not afford legal representation. Human rights observers expressed concern about the administrative use of solitary confinement in some cases.
Detention of Rejected Asylum Seekers or Stateless Persons: Authorities detained some applicants for asylum pending deportation. Human rights observers expressed particular concern that authorities could maintain vulnerable people, who could include victims of torture, mentally ill individuals, and minors detained pending the finalization of the case. They noted that unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan whose asylum applications were rejected were held together with criminals and that some lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum seekers from Uganda, reportedly at risk of persecution at home due to their sexual orientation, were denied asylum based on an argument that they should "hide" their sexual orientation. In June 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the government's requirement for a detained Iranian asylum seeker (who was subsequently denied asylum) to remain in an asylum center and report periodically to police was disproportionate and violated his right to freedom of movement. Detainees in the Ellebaek Foreigners Detention Center could use both phone and internet, as well as receive visitors and freely walk around the compound. Independent observers, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and other independent observer nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) regularly received access to Ellebaek.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution and/or law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence. Authorities respected court orders.
The constitution provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right.
Defendants enjoy the right to a presumption of innocence; prompt and detailed notification of the charges against them (with free interpretation as necessary); a fair and public trial without undue delay; a trial by jury; communication with an attorney of choice (or to have one provided at public expense); adequate time and facilities to prepare their defense; access to government-held evidence; the opportunity to confront witnesses against them and present witnesses and evidence; protection against being compelled to testify or confess guilt; and appeal adverse judgments. The constitution and law extend these rights to all citizens.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Individuals and organizations may seek civil remedies in domestic courts for alleged human rights violations.
Regional Human Rights Court Decisions
The country is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and individuals may appeal decisions involving alleged human rights violations to the ECHR after they have exhausted remedies in domestic courts. There were no judgments against Denmark in 2012.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press with some limitations on child pornography, libel, blasphemy, hate speech, expression of racism, or promoting the affairs of a terrorist organization. The government generally respected these rights. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of speech and press.
Freedom of Speech: The law prohibits any public speech or the dissemination of statements or other pronouncements that threaten, deride, or degrade a group because of race, skin color, national or ethnic background, religion, or sexual orientation. Offenders may be fined or imprisoned for up to two years. There were no trials or convictions on these grounds during the year. The law also prohibits blasphemy and provides that a person who publicly mocks or insults a legally existing religious community's tenets of faith or worship may be fined or imprisoned for up to four months. The government has not prosecuted any cases under the blasphemy provision since 1938.
Press Freedoms: The independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views.
In July the country's Eastern High Court (Ostre Landsret) found Roj TV and its associated broadcasting company, Mesopotamia Broadcasting, guilty of violating a law making it an offense for a person, group, or association to promote the activities of a terrorist organization. The court also found Roj TV and Mesopotamia Broadcasting guilty of receiving support from the Kurdish Workers Party and fined both companies one million kroner (DKK) ($180,000). The court revoked Roj TV's broadcast license. The investigation of the channel produced information about specific individuals associated with the channel that led authorities to charge them with links to terrorist financing; that case was under separate investigation. Roj TV declared bankruptcy August 19.
There were no government restrictions on access to the internet or credible reports the government monitored e-mail or internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. Authorities continued to employ an internet filter designed to block child pornography. There were no known cases of the filter affecting legitimate websites. In 2012 there were 38 internet subscriptions per 100 citizens; according to estimates compiled by the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 93 percent of the population used the internet in 2012.
Academic Freedom and Cultural Events
There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.
c. Freedom of Religion
See the Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report.
d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons
The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.
Protection of Refugees
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Human rights observers expressed concern that authorities did not give 11 Afghan interpreters who worked with the Danish military forces in Afghanistan swift access to asylum, although the government subsequently offered them asylum.
Safe Country of Origin/Transit: The country practiced safe country of origin and transit of asylum seekers per the EU's Dublin III Regulation, and immigration authorities questioned asylum seekers individually to determine their identity, situation, and route. Authorities did not consider certain countries within the EU to be safe countries for processing; in those cases, the Immigration Service processed the asylum seekers in Denmark.
Refoulement: While authorities did not return "vulnerable" asylum seekers, defined by Amnesty International (AI) as "victims of torture, persons with a mental illness, and unaccompanied minors," to Italy following criticisms of that country's asylum policies, human rights observers were concerned that authorities returned "nonvulnerable" categories of asylum seekers to that country. AI also expressed concern about the Danish Refugee Board's decision in May to deny asylum to some Somali asylum seekers and return them to what AI considers a volatile situation. The Refugee Board referred to provisions of the country's asylum law as the basis for this decision, noting the situation in Somalia had improved.
Temporary Protection: The government provided temporary humanitarian protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees. Human rights observers expressed concern that individuals with medical conditions who did not qualify for refugee status were not eligible for humanitarian protection, even if medical treatment was not available in the country where they were located.
According to UNHCR statistics, there were 3,623 stateless persons in the country at the end of 2012. Citizenship is based primarily on the citizenship of one's parents. Certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may also acquire citizenship by virtue of UN conventions to which the country is a signatory. The same UN authority requires authorities to grant citizenship to otherwise stateless persons born in the country, and certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may acquire citizenship on that basis. This is not an automatic process; in most cases, individuals must apply for citizenship before their 21st birthday.
Many stateless persons were born in the country to Palestinian permanent residents who could not transmit citizenship of any state to their children. Since 2011 authorities have addressed the situation and offered residence permits to all.
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
The constitution provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right through periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage.
Greenland and the Faroe Islands have democratically elected governments whose powers may encompass all matters except foreign and national security affairs, police services, and monetary matters. Greenlanders and Faroese have the same rights throughout the kingdom as other citizens. Each elects two representatives to the Danish parliament.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: Free and fair parliamentary elections took place in 2011. There were no reports of abuses or irregularities. In March Greenland held parliamentary elections, also deemed to be free and fair, bringing the center-left Siumut party to power.
Participation of Women and Minorities: As of August there were 70 women in the 179-seat Danish parliament and 10 in the 22-seat cabinet, including the prime minister.
Citizens elected four individuals of other than Danish, Greenlandic, or Faroese origin to parliament in the 2011 elections. There was one member of an ethnic minority in the 22-seat cabinet.
A female premier heads the Greenlandic cabinet, composed of three female and seven male members. The Faroese Parliament has almost an equal number of men and women.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implemented the law effectively. There were no reports of government corruption during the year.
Corruption: The Ministry of Justice and the State Employer's Authority in the Ministry of Finance are responsible for combating government corruption, primarily by investigating purported cases of corruption. They collaborated actively with civil society, operated effectively and independently, and had sufficient resources.
Whistleblower Protection: There is no specific whistleblower law and no explicit protection for whistleblowers; aspects of whistleblowing are covered implicitly in legislation and regulations dealing with the privacy of personal information, dismissals in the private sector, and the conduct of civil servants. In general whistleblowing was not regarded as a significant approach to uncovering public or private wrongdoing, and there have been few court cases beyond national security issues to test the existing laws. Private employers were relatively free to hire and fire employees, and redress against wrongful dismissal for whistleblowing or any other reason generally was limited to financial compensation rather than reinstatement. The regulations governing civil servants provide that they may be bound to secrecy regarding a broad spectrum of domestic matters, national security issues, and foreign affairs. Secrecy may only be imposed when required to protect "material public or private interests" in relation to the list.
Financial Disclosure: Public officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws, but government officials may not work on specific cases in which they, or someone they represent or have close relations with, have any personal or economic interest. Officials must inform their superiors of any possible conflicts of interest that might disqualify them.
Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, and the government effectively implemented the law and granted access to citizens and noncitizens, including foreign media. The law provides for an appeals process. In May parliament adopted legislation exempting from freedom of information requests documents involving advice provided to ministers by civil servants. The government contended that protection for such "pre-decisional" documents would permit greater candor among decision makers. Opponents contended the new law was too broad.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
A variety of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials often were cooperative and responsive to their views.
Government and Human Rights Bodies: A parliamentary ombudsman investigated complaints regarding national and local public authorities and any decisions they made regarding the treatment of citizens and their cases. The ombudsman could independently inspect, at his or her initiative, prisons, detention centers, and psychiatric hospitals. An ombudsman for European matters oversaw compliance with EU basic rights, a consumers' ombudsman investigated complaints related to discriminatory marketing, and two royal ombudsmen represented the state in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. These ombudsmen enjoyed the government's cooperation, operated without government or political interference, had adequate resources, and were considered effective.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status, and the government generally enforced the law effectively.
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape as well as domestic violence, female genital mutilation, and sexual harassment. Spousal rape is criminalized, but sexual assault is not penalized if the victim is married to the perpetrator and the victim is in a helpless state due to physical or mental illness, drugs, or alcohol.
Penalties for rape include imprisonment for up to 12 years, depending on the seriousness of the offense. The government effectively prosecuted persons accused of rape. In 2012 authorities received reports of 364 rapes compared with 392 in 2011. In 2012 courts handed down 67 convictions for rape and 681 convictions for other sexual offenses.
Violence against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. The government and NGOs operated 24-hour hotlines, counseling centers, and shelters for female victims of violence. The royal family supported a variety of NGOs that worked to improve conditions and services at shelters and to help families afflicted with domestic violence.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment and provides for a perpetrator, or an employer who allowed or failed to prevent an incident of harassment, to pay monetary compensation to victims. The government enforced the law effectively. Few cases were reported during the year, and they were generally handled through the employee unions, which function as semigovernmental institutions.
Reproductive Rights: The government recognized the basic right of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to obtain the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. Health clinics and local health NGOs operated freely in disseminating information on family planning under the guidance of the Ministry of Public Health. There were no restrictions on access to contraceptives, and the government provided free childbirth services. Women had unfettered access to maternal health services, including skilled attendance during childbirth. Women used nurses and midwives for prenatal and postnatal care unless the mother or child experienced more serious health complications.
Discrimination: Women have the same legal status and rights as men, and the law requires equal pay for equal work. There was little reported discrimination in employment, pay, ownership and management of businesses, or access to credit, education, or housing. The law requires the 1,100 largest companies to establish target numbers for the participation of women on their boards, develop specific plans for recruiting women, and describe their actions to promote women's participation in annual reports, explaining, if applicable, why targets were not met.
Birth Registration: Most children acquire citizenship from their parents. Stateless persons and certain persons born in the country to noncitizens may acquire citizenship by naturalization, provided, in most cases, that they apply for citizenship before their 21st birthday. The law requires that all medical practitioners promptly register the births of all children they deliver, and they generally did so.
Child Abuse: In 2012 authorities prosecuted 175 reports of sexual abuse of children who were nine and under, 308 involving children 10-14 years old and 190 involving children 15-19 years old. Authorities prosecuted 12 cases involving alleged incest. In 2012 courts handed down 49 convictions with imprisonment in child abuse cases involving children under the age of 12. The national police and the public prosecutors actively investigated child abuse cases.
Forced and Early Marriage: The legal age for marriage is 18. Fewer than 1 percent of boys or girls married before reaching 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum age of consensual sexual activity is 15. The purchase of sexual services from a person under the age of 18 is illegal. The law prohibits child pornography. The government generally enforced these laws.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. For country-specific information, see http://travel.state.gov/abduction/country/country_3781.html
During the year the Jewish community organization Mosaisk Troessamfund estimated the Jewish population at 8,000.
In 2012, according to a February 2013 document issued by Mosaisk Troessamfund, there were reports of 40 anti-Semitic incidents – almost double the number from 2009, the last year for which data was available. According to the document, prepared by the organization's security arm, there were two attempted assaults and individuals verbally abused persons for being Jews in 10 incidents. Other incidents included intimidation and threats. In one instance, in November several men of Middle Eastern descent hit an elderly Israeli man in a Copenhagen suburb and pulled a Star of David pendant from around his neck. In February at a forum in Copenhagen, city council officials and leaders of the Jewish community expressed concern over what they considered a rise in physical and verbal anti-Semitic incidents.
Authorities reported that assaults, including threats, propaganda, and physical attacks, based on the religious affiliation of the victim, rose 38 percent between 2011 and 2012 (the data was sorted by religious affiliation). Of the 38 assaults in 2012, nine included threats, propaganda, or verbal assault and six included graffiti, vandalism, or violence.
According to victims' reports, perpetrators of anti-Semitic incidents were mainly immigrants, often from Arab and other Muslim countries. Most incidents involved vandalism, such as graffiti, and nonviolent verbal assaults.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in a number of areas including employment, education, air transportation and other modes of travel, access to health care, and other state services. It also mandates access by persons with disabilities to buildings, education, information, and communications. The government generally enforced these provisions. The Danish Institute of Human Rights reported that discrimination enforcement legislation was well established for the work place, but less so in other areas such as public transportation and educational facilities. Discrimination legislation provides excellent compensation for persons with disabilities, but does not provide for total inclusion of such persons outside the work place.
Children with disabilities attended school. The right of persons with disabilities to vote or participate in civic affairs was not restricted.
The parliamentary ombudsman monitored the treatment of persons with disabilities and issued opinions regarding complaints of disability discrimination.
According to the Security and Intelligence Service, authorities recorded 320 hate crimes in 2012. The service categorized 77 of these as racially motivated, 36 as politically motivated, 33 as sexually motivated, and 33 as religiously motivated. Police categorized the remaining 141 offenses as related to extremism or hate crimes. The government effectively investigated hate crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.
The Board of Equal Treatment received 18 complaints of ethnic discrimination in 2012, including in access to employment, apartment rental, and the services of private businesses as well as exposure to bullying in public schools. Complaints included discrimination against minorities and reverse discrimination against ethnic Danes.
The law protects the rights of the indigenous Inuit inhabitants of Greenland, whose legal system seeks to accommodate their customs. Through their elected government, they participate in decisions affecting their lands, culture, and traditions and the exploitation of energy, minerals, and other natural resources. The law provides for the use of laypersons as judges and the sentencing of most prisoners to holding centers (rather than prisons), where they are encouraged to work, hunt, or fish during the day. Authorities throughout the kingdom effectively protected Inuit civil, political, and economic rights, including the right to nondiscriminatory treatment in employment, education, housing, and other services.
Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation. It provides that any person who makes a statement or imparts other information that threatens, scorns, or degrades a group of persons because of their sexual orientation shall be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for not more than two years. If a person is found guilty of a crime whose motive was the sexual orientation of the victim, the judge must consider that motive to be an aggravating factor when determining the sentence.
According to data reported by the Security and Intelligence Service, 33 of the 320 hate crimes recorded in the country in 2012 were "sexually oriented," although a number were unrelated to sexual orientation or gender identity. Authorities actively investigated and punished those complicit in abuses.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
There were no reports of societal discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS or other groups not covered above.
Section 7. Worker Rights
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
The law states all workers may form or join independent unions of their choosing without previous authorization or excessive requirements. The law protects the right to collective bargaining and to legal strikes. It allows unions to conduct their activities without interference and prohibits antiunion discrimination. Workers fired for union activities can take the employer to court and receive reinstatement or a cash settlement on a case-by-case basis.
These laws were enforced effectively, and enforcement was not seriously hampered by lengthy delays and appeals. Employers and the government generally respected freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Worker organizations were independent of the government and political parties. Annual collective bargaining agreements covered members of the workforce associated with unions and indirectly affected the wages and working conditions of nonunion employees. Authorities and employers respected the right to conduct union activities without interference.
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, including by children, and the government effectively enforced this prohibition. Sanctions prescribed for forced labor by the criminal code were generally sufficient to deter violations. The government's National Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons, covering the period 2011-14, focuses on persons trafficked for sexual exploitation but also provides for continued investigation of possible trafficking for forced labor in other sectors. In 2012 the government identified 17 victims of forced labor. The government also trained tax inspectors and trade union officials in identifying forced labor.
Also see the Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report.
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
The law prohibits the exploitation of children in the workplace, and the government effectively enforced this prohibition.
The minimum legal age for full-time employment is 15. The law sets a minimum age of 13 for part-time employment and limits school-age children to less strenuous tasks. The law limits work hours and sets occupational health and safety restrictions for children, and the government effectively enforced these laws. There were no reported instances of unlawful child labor.
d. Acceptable Conditions of Work
The law does not mandate a national minimum wage; unions and employer associations negotiate minimum wages. The average minimum wage for all private and public sector collective bargaining agreements was approximately DKK 110 ($20) per hour, exclusive of pension benefits. The law requires equal pay for equal work; migrant workers are entitled to the same minimum wages and working conditions as Danish workers.
Workers generally worked a 37.5-hour week, established by contract rather than law. Workers received premium pay for overtime, and there was no compulsory overtime. Working hours were determined by collective bargaining agreements adhering to the EU directive that an average workweek not exceed 48 hours. These agreements also provide workers at least five weeks' paid vacation per year.
The law prescribes conditions of work, including safety and health standards; authorities enforced compliance with labor legislation. The same laws protect legal immigrants and foreign workers and apply equally to both categories of worker.
The Danish Working Environment Authority (DWEA) effectively enforced labor health and safety in all sectors. The DWEA inspected 26,577 workplaces and issued 22,248 improvement notices in 2013. The DWEA has the authority to report violations to police or the courts if the employer fails to make required improvements by the deadline. Greenland and the Faroe Islands have similar work conditions, except that in both cases the standard workweek was set by collective bargaining at 40 hours. As of September, the DWEA recorded 21,858 workplace accidents, which resulted in a total of 20 fatalities. The number of fatalities was 11 fewer than in 2012.