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Norway: May Reconsider Return Of Somali Refugees
Hanssen will meet with the UNE at the end of the week, and changes in the procedures may be made after this meeting.
The UNE has already returned two Somali asylum seekers who have been denied asylum during the past week, and another two are about to be sent out of the country.
The practice has been criticized both by the Norwegian Asylum Seekers's Association (NOAS) and leading politicians, also within the coalition government.
They point to the fact that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has advised against returning people to Somalia at this time.
Source: The Norway Post
More Somalians Sent Home
Oslo , Norway, August 22, 2006 – Another would-be refugee from Somalia who failed to win asylum in Norway was sent home on Tuesday. A recent spate of repatriations has raised objections by refugee advocates.
The repatriations allowed by Norway's Immigration Appeals Board (Utlendingsnemda, UNE) run counter to UN guidelines but UNE defends them on the grounds that it's safe to send the asylum seekers back to central and southern parts of Somalia.
UNE maintains Somalia's capital of Mogadishu is safer now than it has been for many years.
Andreas Furuseth of the refugees advocacy group NOAS doesn't agree, and even the government minister in charge of immigration issues has reservations. Bjarne Håkon Hanssen will have a meeting with UNE on Wednesday.
"I want to assure myself that UNE's evaluations are justified," Hanssen told news bureau NTB.
UNE claims on its web site that all asylum seekers who arrive in Norway receive a thorough and individual evaluation of their application. All Somalians with a documented need for protection are granted asylum, the agency claimed, and UNE stressed that a majority have secured permission to stay in the country.
Most of those whose asylum applications are rejected appeal to UNE, which has granted asylum in around 21 percent of the cases.
Source: Aftenposten English Web Desk