Danish PM sacks integration minister over citizenship case

08:52, March 09, 2011      

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Denmark's Minister for Integration was dismissed from her post by Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen on Tuesday.

Birthe Roenn Hornbech, 68, was fired for mishandling a long- running integration case concerning a number of stateless Palestinians, whose applications for naturalization as Danish citizens were wrongly denied.

The decision to drop Hornbech was made after she submitted a report on the case to the prime minister on Monday. She was also relieved of her post as Minister for Church.

"Birthe Roenn Hornbech stops as integration minister and church minister and therefore withdraws from the government," Rasmussen said in a press statement on Tuesday.

The United Nations has previously said that Denmark's handling of the case has breached UN Conventions on the rights of stateless people, and of children, both of which Denmark is a signatory to.

The conventions, if followed, would have secured Danish citizenship until age 21 for the stateless Palestinians, who were born in Denmark.

Rasmussen has ordered an independent inquiry into the case.

The developments are likely to hurt the image of Rasmussen's liberal-conservative coalition government, which must call a general election by November 2011.

Hornbech, who was appointed Minister for Refugees, Immigrants and Integration, as well as Minister for Church in 2007, is a member of Denmark's Liberal Party, which leads Denmark's liberal- conservative government. Prime Minister Rasmussen is also from the Liberal Party.

According to DR News, Denmark's national broadcaster, Hornbech will be replaced by Soeren Pind, who is currently serving as Denmark's Minister for Development. He will retain both ministries.

Meanwhile, Denmark's Ministry for Education announced that Tina Nedergaard, the Minister for Education and also a member of the Liberal Party, will be stepping down from her post for personal reasons.

She conveyed her decision to the prime minister on Tuesday, in anticipation of a cabinet reshuffle following Hornbech's dismissal.

Source: Xinhua

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