Norwegian Organizations for Asylum seekers-NOAS released the following statement about the return of Ethiopian asylum seekers.Part of the Ethiopian children are among those who have lived longest in Norway without a legal residence. If the government is serious about their desire to find good solutions for the long remaining children, the cases of the Ethiopian children be suspended. It is the opposite of adding children’s best used in the asylum policy, if the government is now rushing to forcibly the largest group of long stay children, before the White Paper on displaced children is presented.
NOAS fear that many of the Ethiopians will be persecuted, imprisoned and even tortured if they are from 15 March forcibly returned to their home country.
– NOAS fear that we will see examples of imprisonment, and at worst, torture and destruction of people and families. Ethiopia is a very authoritarian regime where human rights abuses have become worse during the past year. Many of them sent home has driven political opposition while they have been in Norway, and this will have consequences for some of them. The Ethiopian regime uses substantial resources to prosecute and imprison his critics, whether it concerns former parliament members, journalists and civil activists, says Secretary-General Ann-Magrit Austenå.
NOAS disagree with the government priorities of a return agreement with the authoritarian Ethiopian regime, rather than to accelerate the internal government discussions about the national policy in respect of long stay children and families.
Today’s negotiated return agreement with Ethiopia is the first opening of forced return of Ethiopians over 20 years. There is great uncertainty about what will meet a number of asylum seekers with final rejections by the return to the country, especially those who have been involved in illegal political opposition.
The human rights situation in Ethiopia has been clearly worsened over the last few years. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and his regime exercise in practice full control over political activities. Repression and harassment of political opposition has increased in recent years. There is no real independent media again and Ethiopia has in recent years been the African country most journalists have fled.
Meles Zenawi has introduced anti-terrorism laws used to prohibit, prosecute and imprison dissidents, independence movements and opposition political parties labeled as terrorists. Over the past year, Ethiopian authorities have also frozen the bank accounts of several human rights organizations and thus forced them to reduce their activities.
The Ethiopian regime, which is completely dependent on foreign aid and economic assistance from Norway, among others, spends large sums of money to monitor their own population. Including diaspora and political dissidents who have fled abroad. Many of the Ethiopian asylum seekers in this country have little active opposition politics and government criticism of its existence as asylum seekers in Norway. They have not received any new test of their need for protection after deterioration of the human rights situation and tightening the regime’s critics and the liberation movements in Ethiopia.
Many of the Ethiopian asylum seekers NOAS have contact with say that they have been arrested over the shorter and longer time. A large proportion of them have been exposed to some severe torture and fear, therefore, for her and the family’s fate upon return. Many of the women have been victims of rape in connection with the detention and house searches.
Unduly cynical to children
In the group of Ethiopian children in Norway without a legal residence, are several who are born and raised in Norway. Many children have been living here for over 6 years.
Former Justice Minister Knut Storberget said in 2010 that there will be changes in policy towards the long remaining children in the White Paper on displaced children.
Many of the Ethiopian children who now are at risk of forced return of 15 March, has issues that will be covered by the announced regulatory changes. It therefore appears to be unduly cynical to rush-return just these kids, just before the White Paper with the rule changes will be presented.
Many Ethiopian children will be returned to a country they do not know. After several years in Norway, they have developed a strong attachment to their new homeland.After years of uncertainty and vague hope of a future where they can feel secure and live without fear, should these children be taken care of. A return after many years, for the most experienced as a dramatic break-up, which may cause further trauma to these children’s lives. Many communities that children live in has established support groups who fear that they will lose their children’s playmates and schoolmates.
NOAS believe the government’s prioritization of forced return of Ethiopian, while remaining child touches the key provisions of the Convention, not least the consideration of the best in Article 3
NOAS requires that cases involving children 3 years or longer length of stay in Norway must be suspended until the White Paper on children on the run is completed.
Show humanitarian considerations and emphasis related to Norway
Many of the Ethiopian asylum seekers have a very long period of residence in Norway, more than 10 years. They have worked and paid taxes and been integrated into Norwegian society. Thus, they have developed a particularly strong connection to Norway. For those who have been here the longest, it should be opened for reconsideration of whether there are grounds for residence based on compassionate grounds and special connection to the country – under the Immigration Act, § 38
It should be in such an assessment is attached to the actual connection the individual has earned, regardless of whether the association has been developed after final rejection.
NOAS ask the Government:
• Depending silent cases of children who are 3 years or longer length of stay, until the White Paper on children on the run is completed.
• Open the Ethiopians who argue that they have new information about political activity in Norway will have a re-assessment of their protection needs, in light of the negative human development with increased use of arbitrary arrest and detention of regime critics in Ethiopia.
• Open the Ethiopians with the longest and strongest attachment to the kingdom through the work and participation in local communities, the opportunity to re-examine how gained affiliation to the kingdom are given special emphasis.