Denmark Factsheet

Denmark is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.

Regional: European System

As a Member of the COE, Denmark has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Denmark has ratified the European Social Charter, but has not authorized the European Committee of Social Rights to decide collective complaints against it. Its human rights policies and practices are also monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.

Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Denmark to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court considered a complaint from an Iranian citizen who was married to a Danish citizen and who held permanent resident status in Denmark, but was to be deported to Iran after being charged with drug trafficking. The Court held that the State violated his right to respect for family life since it would be impossible for them to continue their family life outside of Denmark. See ECtHR, Amrollahi v. Denmark, no. 56811/00, ECHR 2001, Judgment of 11 July 2002. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Denmark.

As a State party to the European Social Charter, Denmark must submit yearly reports to the European Committee of Social Rights on its implementation of the Charter’s provisions.

Denmark is party to the following regional human rights treaties:

  • European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
  • European Social Charter
  • COE Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
  • COE Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
  • European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

United Nations System

As a UN Member State, Denmark is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Denmark’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of six treaty bodies.

Denmark has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

Denmark has submitted a reservation, declaration, or understanding that modifies its obligations under the following treaties: ICCPR, ICESCR, and CRC.

Denmark has also ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Denmark has a duty to submit State reports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Denmark has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis and describe the steps taken to implement the treaty provisions.

Denmark has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, CAT, CEDAW, CRPD, CRC, and CERD. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Denmark has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT, CEDAW, CRPD, and CRC.

In March 2001, Denmark extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, meaning any such mandate holders are welcome to conduct visits in Denmark. For example, the Special Rapporteur on torture went on a mission to Denmark in 2008 and published a report on that visit in 2009.

For more information on Denmark’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit


Last updated: January 2020