Eritreans must apply for family reunification from Sudan
Eritreans wishing to unite with relatives in Norway must take the dangerous journey to Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, to submit an application for family reunification.
After the border between the ancient archipelagos of Eritrea and Ethiopia was opened this summer, several Eritreans have submitted their applications to the
Norwegian embassy in Addis Ababa.
However, such applications will be rejected. In October, the Ministry of Justice tightened the instructions to the Immigration Directorate (UDI) and announced that such applications should be delivered to the appropriate embassy, in this case, the embassy in Sudan’s capital Khartoum – or be rejected ‘on a formal basis’.
According to state secretary, Torkil Åmland (Frp), at the Ministry of Justice, the rule is that one must apply to the foreign offices that have the competence to handle such applications.
Risk of kidnapping
It was NRK news who first mentioned the matter. Head of Department, Tonje Smitt-Ingebretsen of Self-help for Immigrants and Refugees in Stavanger said that Eritreans in Norway now despair over this.
The roughly 500-kilometre journey from the Eritrean border to Khartoum is dangerous according to a professor at Bjørknes college, Kjetil Tronvoll.
“They risk being kidnapped and resold and can be used as a means to get money from relatives in Europe or the United States,” he told NRK news.
It is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that determines where key personnel should be deployed.
Communications Manager, Frode Andersen, told NTB news that the Khartoum embassy was set up with the necessary capacity and competence to handle applications from Eritrea after the embassy in Asmara was abolished in 2013.
“Khartoum was chosen as an application base for practical reasons because Sudan was easily accessible in the region for Eritrean citizens,” he said.
However, in light of the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, it may be appropriate to reassess the situation according to Andersen. But moving skills and personnel is not so simple.
“Any change of the application site will take time to implement, as it necessitates changes both in job placement and competence at the embassy,” he said.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today