Politicians in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, have moved to end closed swimming sessions at the Gellerup pool, which are mostly attended by women with non-Danish ethnic backgrounds.
The offer for segregated swimming at council run pool was introduced almost 10 years ago, however, the Left Party in the city has now proposed to end the practice.
In the proposal, they said: “Children and adults must learn that is natural to swim together regardless of religious beliefs.
“Therefore it is a disservice and not an integration measure when special measures are created.”
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Politicians in Aarhus want to end gender-segregated swimming
The Left Party’s proposal is said to have majority support ahead of the council meeting on Wednesday, where it will be decided if the ban should be implemented.
The Institute for Human Rights hit out against the proposal, insisting it was a problematic measure which could make it more difficult for ethnic minority women to engage in society.
Equality chief Maria Ventegodt Liisberg told TV2.dk: “When you eliminate the opportunity [for segregated swimming], it is more difficult for ethnic minority women to use the swimming pool and participate in community life. I believe this is problematic.”
Since the migrant crisis started in 2015, the Scandinavian country has implemented a series of measures to minimise the impact on public services.
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Children and adults must learn that is is natural to swim together
The Left Party
Last year Denmark shut its borders despite being a member of the Schengen Zone and has continued to renew the temporary border control measures until the European Union can re-establish law and order on the Continent.
In January, Immigration Minister Inger Støjberg announced the border checks would remain until at least May as the bloc is failing to secure its external borders.
Defending the decision to shut down the borders, the politician said it was necessary because, despite immigration being at a five-year low, it could start to surge again.
"It’s true that we are very, very low when it comes to the number of asylum seekers at the moment," Ms Støjberg said.
"As it looks now, we are at the lowest level in five years but things can very quickly change.
The Left Party said it was a disservice to allow segregated swimming
“Denmark will have border controls for as long as it is necessary to have border control.”
The Government has also set out a series of new demands to immigrants, as the immigration minister insisted the ‘soft-touch’ approach has allowed parallel societies to thrive.
Declaring there would be a crackdown after a report by the Kraks Fund for Urban Research found more than 30 ghettos were flourishing, Ms Støjberg vowed higher demands would be set to migrants settling in Denmark.
She said: “[The report] shows that the integration in Denmark has failed. In my opinion, it is because we have been too scared to set out clear demands to the people coming to Denmark.
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“We have not dared to say that we expect and demand that they provide for themselves and their families and that we expect them to adjust to Danish values.”
Ms Støjberg added: “When we make no demands and we are not ready to make laws and rules up that tighten up the labour market, we'll see what we see today.
“So when you add that to the large influx of foreigners to Denmark, it can’t baffle anyone that we are where we are today.”
One of the measures proposed to Parliament included ordering immigrant parents to allow their children to learn Danish or lose their child benefits.