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Bosnia: Denmark Permits Refugees To Stay 'Indefinitely'

Copenhagen, 20 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Denmark has determined that all Bosnians legally residing in that country will be permitted to stay indefinitely.

Interior Minister Birte Weiss announced the decision yesterday. Denmark now houses 17,500 Bosnian refugees, most of whom have been in the country long enough to be eligible for permanent residence permits.

About 2,000 refugees could be subject to forcible repatriation. But Weiss said most of these are Muslims, and Denmark does not want to jeopardize them by sending them back to Serb-controlled areas.

Yesterday's decision does not affect a Danish government program for voluntary repatriation that provides for a lump sum of money equal to about $2,500 per person, and other benefits, to Bosnian refugees wishing to go home.

Separately, Interior ministers of Germany's federal states said yesterday they will start repatriating 320,000 Bosnian refugees next month. Human rights groups had urged the state officials to delay their decision, saying many parts of Bosnia are unsafe enough for the refugees back.