Tamil Case (Denmark)

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The Tamil Case (Danish: Tamilsagen) is the name of a case about family reunification in Denmark of Tamil refugees from the Sri Lankan Civil War. The case led to the resignation of the government led by Poul Schlüter in 1993.


The case began in 1987 when the government examined the possibilities of decreasing the number of Tamil family reunifications.

Minister of Justice Erik Ninn-Hansen decided to stall the advance of family reunification of Tamil refugees. Danish law clearly granted the Tamil refugees the right to family reunification, thus rendering the justice minister's order illegal.

When the case appeared in the media, several political parties opposed a re-election of Erik Ninn-Hansen and others demanded an investigation, ultimately leading to the resignation of Erik Ninn-Hansen as minister of justice in 1989.

Four civil servants in the Ministry of Justice were charged and the minister of justice was impeached, which led to the resignation of the government in 1993. In 1995 Erik Ninn-Hansen was found guilty of three cases of abuse of power and received a suspended sentence of 4 months of prison.[1]

The case is well known in Denmark due to an infamous speech held by Prime Minister Poul Schlüter, wherein he stated that "nothing has been swept under the rug." The phrase is now a common Danish catchphrase.


  1. ^ Thi kendes for ret. Dokument. Rigsrettens dom over forhenværende justitsminister Erik Ninn- Hansen afsagt 22. juni 1995. Weekendavisen, 23.06.1995, 1._sektion, Side 3

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