Stricter asylum hits children
The legal council organisation Juss-Buss aiding refugees with family reunification states the government’s asylum reform will affect children hard. Juss-Buss argues that the government’s proposition of family reunification will leave children alone in war torn areas. Juss-Buss points out this would be a violation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. Juss-Buss also considers the proposed change of age of unaccompanied minors to be changed from 18 to 16 would put a lot of mental stress on children of the age of 16-18.
(Aftenposten 3 September 2008 http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article2633959.ece)
”This puts children’s lives on hold”
Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers is critical of the government’s policy change. It claims the government wants to stop the streams of asylum seekers with the change of policy. However, NOAS argue that the restriction on family reunification would affect the 40% that have been granted permit in Norway and not the 60% that are rejected, which is the intention. They also say the government would break the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Children and leave children between the ages 16-18 to live ‘on hold’ with no security or knowledge of what their future will be like, knowing they are likely to be rejected when they turn 18. FAFO, an independent research foundation, says the reform is meant as a deterrent, to make Norway look less like a ‘soft target’.
(Aftenposten 3 September 2008 http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/politikk/article2634057.ece)
Minors may be deported
The stricter asylum policy affects the unaccompanied minors at Norway’s reception centres, says Assistant Director of the Directorate of Immigration Frode Forfang, who further states that it will vary greatly when the different measures are implemented as some of the 13 points need a change of law. However, the measure affecting unaccompanied minors does only need a change of practice and may be implemented directly. Already prior to the 13 point plan introduced on Wednesday, unaccompanied minors could get a temporary residence permit without possibility of renewal, however they would normally be granted residence permit if they did not have care takers in their country of origin. That practice will now change according to the new measures and unaccompanied minors already in Norway may face deportation when turning 18.
(Aftenposten 4 September 2008, http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/politikk/article2635586.ece)
Ombudsman for children concerned
Reidar Hjermann, Norwegian Ombudsman for children, says that the new asylum policy probably breaks the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Government has opened for the possibility of sending unaccompanied minors back once they have turned 18, a situation that creates insecurity. A child must have the possibility to plan his or her future, says Hjermann. Dag Terje Andersen, Labour and Social Inclusion Minister, points out that each case is evaluated on an individual basis.
(Dagbladet 5 September 2008, NRK 5 September 2008, Verdens Gang 5 September 2008, http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/1.6207487 http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/artikkel.php ?artid=535321 http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2008/09/05/545868.html)