The temporary, ‘urgent measures’ adopted during the asylum crisis, violate international law, said the Red Cross.The Government wishes to continue the measures, but face opposition in the consultation process.
Asylum seekers arriving in Norway are at their lowest numbers in two decades. Nevertheless, the Government will legislate, and make permanent,temporary austerity measures introduced eighteen months ago.
As we pointed out in 2015, these changes to immigration law, violate Norway’s obligations under international law.
The measures were adopted by Parliament with lightning speed, without prior consultation, and without treatment by a committee,’ said Mads Harlem, head of the policy and law section of the Red Cross.
Harlem believes the amendments undermine the institution of asylum.
‘When the government proposes to remove the necessity that individuals have the opportunity to seek asylum if they are returned to Russia,for example, we run the risk that they will be returned to the very country that they originally fled’, he pointed out.
Harlem is also critical of the government’s monitoring of a parliamentary decision from 2015, which stipulated that the measures would be temporary and evaluated within two years.
‘The evaluation is, at best, selective. It is not what Parliament requested. The Ministry has neither obtained comments from important bodies such as the UN High Commission for Refugees, nor found those asylum seekers who were sent back to Russia’, he said.
It is uncertain whether the government would again gain a majority in Parliament, if the proposal was maintained after the consultation that
expired last week.
‘We assume that the government undertake a substantive evaluation, and we await the consultation process before we conclude’, said Arbeiderpartiet’s (Ap) immigration spokesperson, Helga Pedersen, to NTB news agency in January. She argued that Parliament, in practice, only had 48 hours to consider the amendments in 2015.
Several of the measures are politically controversial. Cooperation parties, the Christian Democrats and the Venstre (Left) both oppose giving the Justice Department increased access to run Immigration Appeals, but Ap and Senterpartiet (Sp) secured a majority for the proposal.
In its submission, the Immigration Ministry pointed out that such access may affect the body’s independence.
‘The more far right have used it, and the more frequently and in detail the ministry uses it, but the stronger instruction access could stumble over the quasi-judicial Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board’s (UNE’s) role as an independent and court-like body’, said the statement.
Of the draft proposal, it also emerged that the government will have a continuing ability to set a shorter deadline for departure than usual.
The same applies to the use of coercive measures such as notification and specified residence in certain cases.
In addition, it is proposal specifies that the police still be able to create ‘special personalised accommodation places’ in the event of need for the arrest and imprisonment in a distant Police Immigration Detention Centre.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today