What is Denmark’s policy on the children of Isis fighters?

Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye has presented a draft bill on how Denmark should manage the children of its citizens who have fought for militant organizations.

What is Denmark’s policy on the children of Isis fighters?
Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye (L) in parliament last month. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The draft bill has faced harsh criticism from several quarters as it goes through the parliamentary hearing stages, newspaper Dagbladet Information reported.

Particularly sharp criticism of the draft bill has come from the Danish Institute for Human Rights, which believes that the draft law would introduce provisions which would be “contrary to Denmark's international obligations”.

According to the draft law, children of Danish parents who are born in areas where a terrorist organization is fighting in an armed conflict should no longer automatically become Danish citizens.


That is based on the rationale that the children have not grown up in a situation whereby “a relationship is formed with Denmark and Danish values.”

“In our opinion, this is contrary to a long-standing political and legal tradition and obligation to allow the child's citizenship to follow that of the parents,” Jonas Christoffersen, executive director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights told Ritzau.

Christoffersen said he believes the measure suggested by Tesfaye would be a violation of the human rights of affected children, and has called for the government not to formally propose the bill to parliament.

The NGO director also argued that scheme would run counter to the principle of the family's right to civil unity and to the principle that a child should not lose his or her citizenship because of the actions of the parents.

The Danish Red Cross, Amnesty International and Save are among other NGOs to criticize the draft bill.

Save the Children argues that the draft law will result in discrimination between children outside Danish territory in general and children born in the specified conflict areas.

Additionally, the law would be in breach of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to Save the Children.

According to the Convention, children must be protected from “all forms of discrimination or punishment” based on the occupation, activities, views or beliefs of its parents.

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What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland the previous year. It seems that foreigners favour names that are typical of their national background.

What names do foreign nationals give their babies in Switzerland?
Foreigners give their babies names that reflect their nationality. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

As The Local reported on Wednesday, the most popular names for newborn girls born in Switzerland in 2020 were Mia, Emma, and Mila.

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

REVEALED: The most popular baby name in each Swiss canton

But what about the most popular names among various nationalities living in Switzerland?

The answers come from the same study.


The top name for boys of Italian parents is Giuseppe, followed by Antonio and Francesco. For girls, Maria is in the first place, Anna in the second, and Francesca in the third.


There are many Portuguese immigrants living in Switzerland and, like their Italian counterparts, they like to give their children traditional names: José, Carlos and Manuel for boys, and Maria, Ana, and Sandra for girls.


Spanish names are similar to those of Portuguese babies.

José, Juan and Jose are most popular boy names, while Maria, Ana and Laura are in the top three spots for the girls.


Most boys of Turkish descent are named Mehmet, Ali, and Mustafa. Among girls, Fatma, Ayse, and Elif dominate.


Arben, Vallon, and Bekim are top names for boys, and Fatime, Shquipe, and Merite for girls.


Bekim is in the first place for boys, followed by Muhamed and Fatmir. Among girls, Fatimr is in the lead, Sara in the second place, and Emine in the third.


Aleksandar, Dragan and Nicola take the first three spots. For the girls, Jelena, Maria and Snezana are at the top.

Can you give your baby any name you want?

Not in Switzerland, you can’t. It’s important to keep in mind that the cantonal registry offices, where new births must be announced, don’t have to accept very unusual names.

Several years ago, for instance, a Zurich court ruled that parents can’t name their infant daughter ‘J’.

In another case, a couple in the canton of Bern were ordered to change the name of their newborn son because their choice – Jessico – was considered too feminine. 

Several names have been forbidden in Switzerland, including Judas, Chanel, Paris and Mercedes.