Denmark Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Abbreviated as DMK, Denmark is a robust democracy where human rights are generally respected. But lately, the country has been criticized for how refugees and migrants are treated.

Denmark is a parliamentary democracy with strong independent institutions. Political pluralism with multi-party systems prevails and the opposition seems free. The elections are considered free and fair. Freedom of assembly and association is firmly entrenched in society and the association life is extensive and lively. Denmark was the first country in the world to introduce the opportunity for gay couples to enter into partnerships.

The challenges that Denmark faces in terms of human rights are primarily related to the rights of refugees and other migrants. Some recent measures have been criticized for being especially targeted at Muslims and intruding on religious freedom (see Calendar). Denmark has also been criticized by human rights organizations for treating asylum seekers who have been rejected but who for various reasons cannot be sent back to their home countries. Many live in prison-like conditions, with travel restrictions and simple conditions. In 2018, a camp for asylum seekers, who had served prison sentences but could not be deported, was planned on an isolated island that was previously used to study infectious diseases in animals.

When it comes to equality between men and women, Denmark is ranked worst among the Nordic countries, according to the World Economic Forum 2018. However, the country ranks in tenth place globally, in a ranking comprising 149 countries. What reduces the result is, among other things, relatively large income differences between men and women and only 37 percent women in parliament (2017).


According to Transparency International 2018, Denmark was ranked as the least corrupt country in the world, which is attributed to the country’s robust institutions. But the question is whether Denmark is allowed to retain first place. In a 2018 report, the Council of Europe’s group of states against corruption, Greco, states the country ‘s standards for preventing corruption do not live up to EU standards. This is after several cases of corruption in the public sector were discovered, as well as suspicions of misuse of EU funds. In 2018, a money-laundering scandal was also revealed in which Danske Bank is suspected of contributing to the fact that over SEK 2 billion has been drained through the bank.

Freedom of expression and media

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of Danish society. Individuals can freely and openly criticize state powers without the risk of reprisals. Limitations can largely only be made if the opinion is to be regarded as incitement against popular groups or slander. Negative statements about Muslims as a group in the public debate have become more common and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on the government to act to counteract a stigmatizing and derogatory tone towards immigrants in the public debate.

Freedom of the press prevails. The country’s media reflects a variety of opinions and often criticizes the government. Reporters Without Borders places the country in place five in its index of freedom of the press in 180 countries.

Judicial system and legal security

The courts are independent of the executive and the judicial system is very secure with robust control systems. The World Justice Project ranks Denmark in first place in its index of the rule of law in 126 countries in 2019.

Denmark Crime Rate & Statistics



Swap at the Minister of Culture post

Minister of Culture Uffe Elbaek is forced to resign after accusations of disquiet within the Ministry of Culture’s activities. He is replaced by Marianne Jelved from Radical Left.


Change of leader and division within Socialist People’s Party

Against the will of the party leadership, Annette Vilhelmsen is elected new leader of the Socialist People’s Party after Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal. Vilhelmsen is popular among the party members in the country. She resigns from Finance Minister Thor Møger Pedersen and replaces him with former party leader Holger K Nielsen. Thereby, the contradictions within the party increase and more local politicians choose to leave it.

The “Ghetto Plan” is being expanded

The government expands the so-called ghetto list (see October 2010) of poor, immigrant-tight housing areas to be renovated, from 28 to 33.


Danish People’s Party changes leader

Pia Kjærsgaard resigns as leader of the Danish People’s Party after 17 years. She is succeeded by Kristian Thulesen Dahl.


Same-sex marriage becomes legal

The parliament votes for two people of the same sex to be able to enter into marriage.


Presidency of the EU

At the turn of the year, Denmark will become the country of the Presidency of the EU for six months. The crisis in the euro area is expected to dominate the Danish Presidency.