Kærshovedgård should improve safety situation for residents

Publiceret 26-04-2024

In November 2023, the Parliamentary Ombudsman was on a monitoring visit to Return Centre Kærshovedgård to investigate conditions for persons with tolerated residence status who are required to reside at the return centre. The monitoring visit followed up on a similar monitoring visit in 2017 to Kærshovedgård and a monitoring visit in 2014 to Center Sandholm, which at the time accommodated persons with tolerated residence status.

As with the previous visits, the Ombudsman finds that the general conditions at Kærshovedgård are not in violation of the prohibition against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment in the UN Convention against Torture and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, at the monitoring visit in the autumn of 2023, the Ombudsman also found that conditions for residents with tolerated residence status at the return centre must still be viewed as very burdensome and restrictive for basic living – and that in relation to the general safety situation at the return centre, this applies to an even higher degree than previously.

Since the Ombudsman’s visit in 2017, the composition of residents has changed. The largest group at Kærshovedgård now consists of persons who have been ordered by a court to leave Denmark but who are not cooperating and who did not previously live at the return centre.

It is the Ombudsman’s impression that the residents feel less safe at the return centre, including that there is a great deal of crime, for instance sale of drugs. In addition, the atmosphere at the return centre is marked by brutalisation, and a significant number of residents have problems with substance abuse.

On that basis, the Ombudsman recommends that the return centre starts initiatives to ensure that the return centre becomes a safer place to stay.

‘The safety situation for residents at Kærshovedgård seems to have worsened since the Ombudsman’s last visit, and this is a development that should be improved. These are people that have been ordered to reside at Kærshovedgård by the authorities, and it should therefore be ensured that the return centre is a safe place to stay’, says Parliamentary Ombudsman Niels Fenger.

The Ombudsman also recommends that fixed procedures be implemented to screen new residents for suicide risk in connection with their arrival at the return centre.

During the Ombudsman’s monitoring visit, 46 persons with tolerated residence status were living at the return centre.

The Ombudsman visited Kærshovedgård together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture. During the monitoring visit, the Ombudsman and his visiting team spoke with, among others, 17 residents with tolerated residence status and residence obligation, and he had the opportunity to inspect the physical conditions at the return centre.


Read the Ombudsman's statement (in Danish only).


Further details:

Director of International Relations Klavs Kinnerup Hede, kkh@ombudsmanden.dk