The Norwegian government has announced that it will re-consider the asylum status of Eritreans who participated in celebrations of the National Service system of conscription.
The government says it granted asylum on the grounds that the ‘refugees’ had fled from Eritrea fleeing conscription. If they now celebrate the same system it suggests that their asylum claim might have been false. As the Norwegian authorities put it: “That a refugee has participated in events and the like in support of the same authorities he or she fears persecution from, may indicate that residence permit and asylum status in Norway should be revoked.”
The issue was outlined on Eritrea Hub last week in our report: “Eritrean regime ‘abuses Norway’s hospitality.'”
Now there is an official announcement from the government of Norway. You can read it here: Instruks til UDI 060919-Eritrea Norwegian Department of Justice
Below is a translation of the government announcement via Google Translate. Apologies for any errors.
GI-04/2019 – Instructions to review asylum cases from Eritrea and consider revocation of residence permit if there is information that a refugee has been granted residence in Norway on an incorrect basis, etc.
The Ministry of Justice and Emergency Management refers to the Ministry’s general instructional access and Act 15 May 2008 no. 35 on foreigners’ access to the state and their stay here (Immigration Act, Foreign Affairs) section 76 second paragraph, which means that the Ministry can provide the Immigration Directorate (UDI) general instructions on interpretation of law, judgment and prioritization of cases.
With this, the Ministry instructs the UDI to review a total of 150 asylum cases from Eritrea, to investigate whether there is a basis for revocation of residence permit and asylum status because the refugee has participated in events, meetings, gatherings etc. in support of and / or together with representatives of Eritrean authorities.
At the same time, the Ministry is asking the UDI to consider the need to further narrow the area of validity of travel voucher and foreigner passport for Eritrean citizens with a residence permit in Norway.
When someone seeks protection (asylum) in Norway, it is assumed that the applicant provides truthful information about their protection needs. The immigration authorities put a lot of effort into reviewing the history of the asylum seeker, and at the same time their ability to detect cheating at the time of the decision is somewhat limited.
That is why we also have legal provisions and instructions which allows for withdrawal of the permit if it is only subsequently discovered that a residence permit and asylum is given on the wrong basis. It is important that the work of revealing such false information is prioritized so that trust in the asylum system is maintained by: only those in real need of protection will receive it.
The Ministry was recently notified of an event through a news report from NRK1 in Oslo, where Norwegian Eritreans celebrated the national service in Eritrea with a senior person from the Eritrean government apparatus, and where Eritrean refugees may have been present.
The majority of the Eritreans receiving protection after expiry. Section 28 today get it because they are of national statutory age and have travelled illegally out of the country, and because Eritrean authorities may regard them as evaders/deserters, so that they can risk reactions (persecution) upon return.
Immigration authorities are largely dependent on tips to uncover cases there a residence permit and asylum have been granted on an incorrect basis. When they get indications that this has happened, it is important that it be addressed right away. That a refugee has participated in events and the like in support of the same authorities he or she fears persecution from, may indicate that residence permit and asylum status in Norway should be revoked.
- THE DEPARTMENT’S ASSESSMENT
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Because it can – both on the basis of the above and several previous news releases – look like as if there were grounds for revoking a residence permit for several Eritrean citizens, the UDI is requested to carry out a random check so that a certain number of cases are reviewed to assess whether there is a basis for revocation. The UDI decides for itself how things are going selected.
- The UDI will review 150 asylum cases from Eritrea with a view to uncovering the refugee has participated in events, meetings, gatherings, etc. in support of and/or together with representatives from the home country authorities (in Norway or abroad) which may form the basis for recall, cf. § 63.
If the UDI in its The review of the cases encounters other information that may form the basis for revocation of residence permit, the UDI shall consider creating a revocation case after utl. §§ 37 or 63, cf. also the Ministry’s instructions GI-01/20162 and GI-03/20193.
- The selection of cases under paragraph 1 shall be carried out by random sampling and shall include Eritrean citizens who have been granted a temporary or permanent residence permit as refugee in Norway, cf. § 28.
3. If the UDI receives information (tips) about or otherwise becomes aware that an Eritrean citizen with a residence permit as a refugee in Norway has participated in events, meetings, gatherings etc. As mentioned in paragraph 1, this will be investigated further, even though the case has not already been selected as one of the 150 sample cases.
- If it turns out that the foreign national (still) has a need for protection after the foreign national. Section 28, the UDI shall not withdraw the recall case, but revoke previous residence permit (s) and refugee status, and grant new residence permit and any. refugee solution status.
- In cases where the conditions for revocation are fulfilled and the foreigner is no longer considered to have a protection need, the UDI shall only grant a new residence permit if the return to Eritrea will violate international obligations under Norway, eg. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In these cases, a residence permit must be granted after tax. § 38.
- The UDI is also asked to consider whether there are “special reasons” for exempting several countries from the scope of validity of travel vouchers and foreign passports to Eritrean citizens4, cf. the Immigration Regulations (Exl.) § 12-2 fifth paragraph.
The instruction will take effect immediately.
The UDI is asked to report on status and findings in the work on February 1, 2020.
Nina E. D. Dark e.f.
Tonje A. Falch-Nevand