|The Council for Ethnic Minorities – a short summary
The Council for Ethnic Minorities was established in 1999 by the Integration Act aiming to promote participation of ethnic minorities in all areas of society. The Council advises the Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Integration on issues of importance to immigrants and refugees. The Council furthermore comments on new initiatives and has the right to comment on general issues relating to ethnic minorities but cannot deal with individual cases, complaints or the like. The Council consists of
14 members who are elected among representatives from the local integration councils in the municipalities. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration provides secretarial assistance to the Council for Ethnic Minorities. The Council meets with the Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Integration every three months to discuss current problems, new initiatives and legislation. In addition to these meetings, the Minister as well as the Ministry of Social Affairs, Children and Integration may request the Council to comment on specific issues and action plans whenever relevant. The Council also takes part in various working groups that has been set up by the Government to deal with problems of importance to immigrants and refugees. At a local level app. 50 municipalities have established integration councils consisting partly of members representing local associations for ethnic minorities. The local integration councils advise municipalities on issues related to local integration policies and efforts and assist the local government to ensure an effective and coherent effort to integrate ethnic minorities in society.
Meetings within the council
Meetings are held ten times each year. Legislation, relevant activities and subjects of current interests are discussed. Furthermore, the members of the council exchange experience from their work in the local integration councils.
Regular meetings with the Minister of Social Affairs, Children and Integration
The council aim to meet with the minister every three months. The purpose of these meetings is to advice the minister on relevant subjects and problems and to address the opinions of the council to the minister.
The Council for Ethnic Minorities participates in public hearings in regard to new legislation. The council posts comments on its webpage and aims to inform political parties and media when relevant.
The Council for Ethnic Minorities participates in a wide area of relevant committees and advisory boards
- for instance the user panel of the Danish Immigration Service as well as the committee of equal rights under The Danish Institute for Human Rights.
Publication of an Annual report
Each year an annual report of the council’s initiatives is published. This is preferably carried out in the first quarter of the year. The content of the report is an overview of the work carried out by the council in the previous year, the structure of the council and the participation of the members in different committees e.g. Furthermore, an overview of the general opinions of the council is published in the report.
Recent initiatives and efforts
The Council for Ethnic Minorities continuously carries out initiatives to further the integration process of ethnic minorities into Danish society. Initiatives to support and strengthen the local integration councils are of particular interest. Recent initiatives are as follows:
• Campaign for increased democratic participation (2011)
The Council for Ethnic Minorities published a booklet on electorial rights in Denmark and distributed it to language schools, organisations, libraries etc. all over Denmark. The booklet is in Danish with summaries in 7 foreign languages including arabic, english and somali.