Back in September, I visited a Danish refugee camp together with a group of other people. The reason I went there, was that I wanted to get a better understanding of how Denmark treats refugees who have come to the country.
Refugee camps are places where people claiming refugee status live until their cases have gone through the process. Until recently, these people were not allowed to live outside those camps - a new law has loosened up those requirements, but the majority still have to live there, as there is no-where else for them to live.
Refugee camps are usually set up in old institution, such as former mental hospitals and foster homes, or in old military compounds.
I am, and have always been, against refugee camps for a number of reasons, the most important being that they marginalizes the people living there. People living in refugee camps are not living in a normal setting, and they cannot do a lot of everyday things the rest of us takes for granted.
My visit to the camp made this even more clear to me. We visited a camp called Avnstrup, which is about an hour away from Copenhagen going by train and bus. Half an hour on each.
The above picture is of the bus schedule, which shows when the buses departs from Avnstrup - it is also the times when the bus arrives. This is the only bus which goes to Avnstrup, and for most people, there are no other means of transportation to and from the camp.
I took the picture because I think it clearly shows how hard it is for people living there to go out and do anything - e.g. during the weekends, the bus only runs every three hours, and for a very limited period of the day. On Sundays, the first bus is at 12 and the last is at 9 PM - if you take into account the time spent on transportation, it only gives people 7 hours if they want to go into Copenhagen.
On weekdays, the last bus also runs at 9 PM, which means that if you've spent the day at some kind of study in Copenhagen, you won't really have time to do anything else than hurry home.
This is clearly a horrible way of getting people to integrate into society - keeping them isolated from it. Unfortunately, to some politicians, that's feature, not a bug.