Suárez-Krabbe, Julia, Annika Lindberg, and José Arce-Bayona. Stop Killing Us Slowly: A Research Report on the Motivation Enhancement Measures and the Criminalisation of Rejected Asylum Seekers in Denmark. The Freedom of Movements Research Collective, 2018,
According to the Danish Minister of Immigration and Integration, the Danish deportation centres Sjælsmark and Kærshovedgård are set up to ‘make life intolerable’3 for those rejected asylum-seekers who cannot immediately be detained or deported, thereby pressuring them into leaving Denmark ‘voluntarily’. As part of the motivation enhancement measures introduced into the Danish Aliens Act in 1997 the deportation centres confine asylum seekers in geographically isolated ‘open’ institutions with low living standards and minimum welfare provisions. However, these measures have not fulfilled their official function. Instead of making more people return ‘voluntarily’, they have pushed rejected asylum seekers into illegality, while others remain stuck and de facto confined in deportation centres for a potentially indefinite time period. This report gives an overview of the setup of the deportation centres and analyses how the discrepancy be-tween the intended and real effects may be interpreted. It asks: what are the functions of deporta-tion centres based on their real, rather than politically declared effects? Addressing this question, the report finds the following:
• The deportation centres in particular and the motivation enhancement measures in general, do not fulfil their declared function of increasing ‘voluntary’ returns, nor do they address the issue of migrants who are legally stranded for lengthy periods of time with very circumscribed rights.
• The legal frameworks regulating detention or prisons in Denmark (i.e. time limits, ac-cess to legal advice, rights guarantees) do not apply to deportation centres. Deporta-tion centres can therefore be compared to indefinite detention
.• The deportation centres result in the dras-tic deterioration of the mental and physical health of the men, women, and children ac-commodated there
• The political framework, the juridical setup and the daily rules and practices in depor-tation centres contribute to the criminalisa-tion of migrants and refugees
.• By running these practices in a legal grey zone, the Danish government circumvents – and overtly breaches – human rights reg-ulations at the same time locking residents in a situation with very limited possibilities to contest these conditions and claim their human rights.
• While failing to achieve their own stated goals, the motivation enhancement meas-ures and the deportation centres do achieve making peoples’ lives intolerable: they break people’s spirits and minds and force them to live a life in illegality, outside of the justice- and rights system.~