Our work in Denmark

As national human rights institution, the Danish Institute for Human Rights works to further and promote human rights in Denmark and abroad. We work within various areas – from human rights in the digital world to the conditions of children of imprisoned to responsible business conduct.

One of the institutes most important jobs is to monitor, meaning to observe Danish legislation and make sure that it is in accordance with human rights. We carry out this task by observing how Denmark actually implements international conventions and EU legislation. In connection to this we serve as advisors to the government and parliament.

A key monitoring task is to write legal briefs. In the legal briefs we estimate whether a specific suggestion is in accordance with human rights. If this is not the case, we produce suggestions to how it may be changed along with other recommendations. We produce approximately 150 legal briefs a year.

Our mandate

The institute is specially appointed to further equal treatment of all people regardless of gender, race or ethnic origin. Furthermore, we are responsible for the task of monotoring, promoting and protecting the implementation of the UN convention on rights for people with disabilities in Denmark.

Our work consists, among other duties, in counseling people who have been subject to discrimination. We publish reports that create awareness and bring forth new knowledge to these areas.


On the area of gender we recommend that the Danish law on equal pay is to be revised, so that the rule concerning work of equal value becomes more transparent. It should be easier to recognize when men and women are carrying out work of equal value. It should also be made easier to understand why men earn more in average than women. If it is due to sexual discrimination, more transparent rules would make it easier to practice the law on equal pay.

Another focus area is the Danish educational system. We still experience a certain gender divide, due to the fact that women and men each dominate certain educational areas. We therefore recommend that the institutions who carry out career counseling of young people, present the young people with options that are not limited by gender stereotypical ideas on education and work. A prerequisite is that these institutions have received the right information and training in this area.


In relation to our work with prevention of discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, we believe that it is necessary to examine the options within Danish equal treatment legislation for ensuring equal treatment for ethnic minorities within as well as outside of the work place. For example that primary school takes better care to ensure that minority students – especially ethnic minority boys – benefit sufficiently from attending school.

Collaboration with key players and the inclusion of civil society is an important part of our work. We advise public authorities and companies on the duties regarding equal treatment, for example how to make sure that all groups have equal access to easily understandable information.


One of the institute’s most important assignments is to advise the government and parliament on how Denmark lives up to the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. We do this by writing legal briefs in relation to new legislation and provide recommendations as to how the convention can be implemented in Danish law.

We provide information in general on Denmark’s obligations in relation to the convention and study specific problems on the area, where we examine whether Denmark meets the obligations of the convention.

A complete implementation of the Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities requires for the state to have extensive knowledge on whether Danish legislation is in accordance with the convention. The state also needs to know how to promote the implementation of the convention. To this purpose the government published a plan of action on disability in 2013. It contains several good initiatives for improving the terms for persons with disabilities in Denmark. However, we believe that there still is a need for further initiatives.


  • 6. February 2014
    For the first time, human rights education in Danish schools and teacher education programmes has been thoroughly examined. The study finds that human rights education must be significantly strengthened. The mapping also offers inspiration for improving human rights education internationally.