U.N. asks Norway to stop involuntary repatriation of refugees to Somalia

Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug ( Progress Party ), surrogatyMinister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug ( Progress Party ).Photo: Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

Just a few weeks after the Norwegian authorities stated their intention to turn back refugees to Somalia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged Norway to let it be.

In October, the Immigration Minister, Sylvi Listhaug (FRP), concluded that the situation in Somalia had become calmer, and that 1,600 refugees residing in Norway could now have their status revoked.

In a letter that UNHCR wrote on November 7, the situation in Mogadishu was described, to the contrary, as unstable, and Norway was encouraged not to take refugee status from Somali citizens, reported the newspaper Dagbladet.

Many families with children, and unaccompanied minors were among the 120 first to have already received a notification of dispatch.

Norwegian authorities believe the situation in Mogadishu to be safe, and that the practice of sending people back to their mother country is in line with the U.N. Refugee Convention. UNHCR, however, reported continued violence and conflict in Somalia, and high levels of insecurity.

It pointed out that there is a difference between individuals returning voluntarily, and repatriation, or sending people back by force.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today