"The Danish people don’t hold them accountable”

From right to left: Masoumeh, Kevin, Omid and Morten participating in an expert panel at Roskilde University. Photo: Anna Emy.

From right to left: Masoumeh, Kevin, Omid and Morten participating in an expert panel at Roskilde University. Photo: Anna Emy.

In the beginning of April, Humanity in Action and Roskilde University invited Trampoline House to participate in a workshop about the asylum system in Denmark. 10 people from Trampoline House's democracy class travelled to Roskilde University to join the workshop.

At the workshop, there was an expert panel consisting of four members of Trampoline House: Masoume, Kevin, Omid and Morten. The panel answered questions and shared their insights on the state of democracy in Denmark and the failures of the asylum system. On the question of how to be heard by politicians, Kevin asserted that the problem isn’t being heard; rather that Danish citizens need to hold their politicians accountable for their actions that harm refugees and asylum seekers: “How to reach the politicians… I don’t think that’s the problem. The problem is making them listen to what you’re saying and understanding. It’s like they don’t have anyone holding them accountable for what they’re doing because the Danish people don’t hold them accountable.”

Omid has been an asylum seeker in Denmark for fourteen years, but for the majority of that time, he has been living with his girlfriend in Amager, trying to build a normal life. But now, he lives in deportation center Kærshovedgaard, where rejected asylum seekers and persons on tolerated stay have to stay for an unspecified amount of time. Recounting his experiences facing deportation and the police, Omid voiced his feelings of being trapped by the system: “Whatever we say to the Minister of Integration, she didn’t want to hear. She just says ‘You have to go back to your country. You have to stay in Kærshovedgaard until you go back to your country.’ So I feel that like I am captured. I am not a refugee. Somehow, she told me 'you have to stay here until you die or go back'. So this was her answer. In reality she could not say that to me, but this was the answer. Whatever we told her or whatever I told her. Even though I told her to just put herself in my position and see what is going on. This is really a question of human rights.”

Masoumeh reminded us that the asylum system in Denmark is also a children’s rights issue: “Children in the camps, they feel isolated too, they just need a safe place. In the camp, it is like prison, they cannot go out … my nephew says that when he goes to kindergarten, Danish children do not want to play with him because he does not speak the same languages and he is isolated.”

We concluded the presentation with a group discussion modeled after Trampoline House's weekly house meetings. House meetings are democratic - everyone can attend and contribute to the discussion. Everyone must listen to and respect whoever is holding the 'talking stick'. Similarly, during the house meeting with RUC students, everyone got a chance to share their thoughts and feelings.

We're very thankful that Roskilde University and Humanity in Action invited Trampoline House to contribute to this discussion of the asylum system.


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