Liberals wish to abolish Church asylum

Police church asylumChurch in Kirkenes where three asylum applicant now hides, located just a stone's throw away from the police station in the centre of Kirkenes . Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The Young Liberals wish to abolish Church asylum

The Young Liberals believe church asylum undermines the Norwegian asylum system and wish to discontinue the practice. Not unexpectedly, that is strongly objected to by ecclesiastical environments.


Recently re-elected Leader of the Liberal’s Youth organisation (Unge Venstre), Sondre Hansmark, points to that it is not the politicians’ responsibility to relate to what is holy or not.

The police and the state have a monopoly on law everywhere, regardless of whether it is in a church room or not. We can not differentiate between church rooms and other rooms, says Hansmark to the newspaper Vårt Land.

Undermines the system

The youth party believes that Church asylum undermines the Norwegian asylum system. They do not want the scheme to become a haven for asylum seekers who have been issued a legal expulsion decision and will remove the church asylum in order to increase the legal protection of asylum seekers instead.

The Bishop in Bjørgvin (Bergen), Halvor Nordhaug, reacts strongly to the decision. He calls it a « dramatic violation of the Christian cultural heritage.»

– It is an expression of a flat secularism and an attitude that lacks understanding of what the Holy Room means, the Bishop exclaims.

Member of Parliament Geir J. Bakkevold (KrF) says to NTB that KrF agrees that Church asylum is not an optimal arrangement for anybody, but it is important for the Christian Democrats to respect the churches and for society to have such a safety valve.

– Therefore, I think it is both sad and sensational that the Young Liberal’s has voted for a proposed ban. The Liberals have previously been with us in this view, but this seems to be an example of the liberal slide away from the centre that it has gone through in the last few years, he believes.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today