The Kingdom of Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with democratic, parliamentary rule. Queen Margrethe II is head of state. A prime minister, usually the leader of the majority party of a multiparty coalition, is head of government and presides over the cabinet, which is accountable to a unicameral parliament (Folketing). Greenland and the Faroe Islands are autonomous parts of the kingdom with similar political structures and legal rights. They manage most of their domestic affairs, while the central Danish government is responsible for foreign relations, financial affairs, internal security, and defense. National elections in June, which observers deemed free and fair, resulted in a single-party minority government led by the center-right Liberal (“Venstre”) Party. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the security forces.
The country’s most significant human rights problems included instances of religious-focused vandalism and hate crimes, and rape and domestic violence against women. On February 14 and 15, a gunman shot five persons at a free-speech forum, killing one, and later shot and killed a volunteer guard at the Copenhagen Synagogue.
Other human rights problems included insufficient health screenings and resources, especially for children, at the Ellebaek Detention Center for rejected asylum seekers and those pending decision; the fact that most police did not yet wear badges with identification numbers; and a new law that prohibits travel to certain vaguely defined “conflict zones” and permits the government to revoke the Danish nationality of dual nationals. There were also some limitations on asylum seekers’ ability to work or start a business. Women were disadvantaged at times in wages, salaries, and employment opportunities. There was some discrimination against lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
The government took steps to prosecute officials, whether in the military or elsewhere in government, accused of committing abuses.