Country report non-discrimination. Transposition and implementation at national level of Council Directives 2000/43 and 2000/78 : Denmark 2020

European Union Publications Office
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In the 1960s and 1970s, the Danish Parliament debated whether legislation on discrimination in the labour market due to race, religion and other grounds should be enacted. The social partners, i.e. employers´ organisations and employees´ organisations in the labour market rejected the proposal, arguing that Denmark had a tradition of collective agreements rather than legislation in the labour market. As no such collective agreements on anti-discrimination were concluded, victims of discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion were not protected until 1996, when anti-discrimination legislation was finally enacted. A prohibition of discrimination based on age and disability was adopted in 2004. Up until the 1960s and 1970s the Danish population was relatively homogeneous, and the majority were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by conviction, tradition and/or culture. With new groups of migrant workers and the arrival of different groups of refugees, this picture has changed. During the last 50 years, Denmark has become a much more multicultural and multi-ethnic country. The domestic debate on whether and to what extent international human rights obligations should be followed can be quite fierce. Many politicians are sceptical about the limitations that international obligations impose on their legislative power. In particular, there has been a growing emphasis on encouraging immigrants and descendants from third countries to explicitly sign up to ‘basic Danish values’. In Denmark, the requirement to adapt and assimilate as understood by officials and the general public is stronger than in some of its neighbouring countries. In general, the various anti-discrimination acts do not apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

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