A proposal recommending filming interviews with asylum seekers as they give their reasons for wanting asylum has been sent for hearing.
The Ministry of Justice believes the move will help the legal rights of those applying for asylum and clarify any misunderstandings or disagreements that may occur.
Norway’s privacy laws currently mean asylum seekers, who often give police sensitive information such as ethnicity, religion, political affiliations upon first registering their applications, have to be informed of and agree to interviews being recorded and or filmed.
Moreover, the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can make sound recordings of interviews they hold subsequent to first registration without permission, but not film these under current legislation.
In their proposal, officials at Grete Faremo’s Ministry argue that “it is more appropriate that the use of such audio and video recording allowed by law / regulation, rather than that this should be based on an approval mechanism.”
“A consent may be perceived as given under pressure and doubt may arise relating to the consent,” they add.
The legal change means police and the UDI will be able to make sound and film recordings during interviews, but have to inform asylum seekers in advance of this.
Authorities will also have to give asylum seekers information as to the recordings’ reason and purpose. The proposal does not open for recordings becoming a regular procedure in all cases, however.
“Audio and video recordings should be reserved for cases where it is believed to be a specific need for such recordings,” the proposal text states. Responsibility for “developing internal policies and procedures to ensure a good prioritization and resource use of audio and video recordings, including the interests of the applicants' privacy” is left to police.
Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) general secretary Ann-Magrit Austenå tells Vårt Land she believes the proposal is a good idea.
She says, however, that, “film recording should not primarily be made of the asylum applicant but the whole situation.”
“We must see how the interviewer and interpreter act. It is also important that it be made standard procedure. It should not be up to the police or the UDI to choose who should be filmed and not.”
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