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Suicide Bids Tripled Among Denmark Asylum Seekers Since 2001

The number of suicide attempts among asylum seekers in Denmark has proportionally tripled since 2001 in what is a "desperate cry of despair," according to a study published Thursday .

Sixty-seven asylum seekers of the 10,797 refugees living in camps -- or 0.6 percent of the total -- tried to end their lives in 2001, according to a study by the Danish Association to Help Refugees said.

That contrasted with the 2006 figures, when 41 people of the total 2,415 people housed in camps tried to commit suicide. The figure corresponded to 1.7 percent of the total. That 2006 rate was six times higher than for Danes, the study said.

"This increase is alarming and translates into a cry of despair," said Anne la Cour, an official from the organisation. Many of the people involved had been languishing in camps for years.

Even if their demand for asylum had been rejected, most were from Iraq and the situation in their country was deemed too volatile for them to return.

But Denmark's refugees minister Rikke Hvilshoej said: "There is no obvious link between the suicide attempts and the length of stay in the camps."


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