Open letter from families in Sjælsmark

Families in Sjælsmark speak up in debate about deportation center

50 of around 60 families in deportation center Sjælsmark have written an open letter to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Minister for Immigration & Integration Mattias Tesfaye. In the letter, they reject a Sjælsmark employee’s claim that most them want to stay in Sjælsmark. “It is indefensible and unethical to put words in our mouth,” they write. 

By Kajsa Böttcher Messell

On July 31, the online media published an open letter from Sjælsmark employee MIchael Høegh addressed to Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Minister for Immigration and Integration. In the letter, Høegh writes: “Most of the families in Sjælsmark don’t want to move out of Sjælsmark”. 

But at least 50 of Sjælsmark’s 60 families don’t recognize Michael Høegh’s claims. They were not asked about or informed of his letter before it was published in and reported in national media. 

The families are angry and frustrated that they have not been included in the debate. Therefore, they have written an open letter of their own to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Integration.

“We would like to invite you to come to Sjælsmark and talk to us about our recommendations for a new center“ they write in the letter. “We hope the new, more child-friendly center will be near our children’s schools and friends, so they don’t have to change schools and lose what little network they have. We hope the new center is free from barbed wire, fences and uniformed guards. We hope the rooms will not be dirty and worn down, that there will be communal kitchens, and that we will be entitled to allowances, so that we can make our own food.”

Click here to read the full letter on (in Danish), or click here to read Information’s article about the families’ process of writing it (in Danish).

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