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Abstract

1. Danish legislation contains no provision on the rule of first country of asylum. In administrative practise however, an alien who applies for asylum in Denmark, but who has stayed in another country after departure from his home country may be refused asylum. Normally, it is accepted however, that the refugee may be "en route" for approximately 2 weeks. Even in cases where the rule of first country of asylum applies, is the substance of the claim for asylum normally tried. In certain cases, e.g. where there is a certain connection with Denmark or if the alien cannot legally enter another country, has asylum been granted even if the rule of first country of asylum has been violated. 2. a) A refugee who applies for asylum at the passport control is not legally in Denmark and may be rejected. This rejection can take place without any trial of the substantive claim for asylum if the refugee can be sent back to a country, which is a signatury to the Geneva-convention of 1951. b) According to agreement between Denmark and Germany, people who illegaly cross the Danish-German border can be returned within 6 months if they have spent at least 2 weeks in Germany. c) The Nordic passport control Agreement provides in art. 10 § 1 that the Nordic country, which an alien has entered first, must take him if he is legally rejected in another Nordic country. 90 % of travel to the Nordic countries goes by way of Denmark, and an alien can be returned no matter how shortly he has stayed in Denmark. The other Nordic countries apply a strict rule of first country of asylum ,without any "en route" modification in relation to Denmark. 3. The background of the rule of first country of asylum is: - administrative reasons, - the fact that the risk of constructed explanations is greater with people who have spent some time in another country on their way, - relations to the ordinary restrictive aliens policy. 4. "Refugees in orbit" emerge because of: a) The lack of a legal right to asylum in international law, combined with the non-refoulement provisions. b) The variation of practice in different countries in relation to determining whether or not a person is a genuine refugee. c) Time-limits to the possibility of presenting a claim for political asylum. d) The fact that countries who ophold the limits in relation to geography and time of the 1951-convention may nevertheless liberally admit people, who fall outside these limitations. e) In a number of cases refugees do not, for some reason, apply for asylum at all, and in others the application is turned down on procedual grounds. f) De facto refugees. 5. It is submitted that a regional European refoulement agreement is a better solution to the problem than a direct convention on "refugees in orbit" as suggested by Melander.

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