Six Norwegian immigration officials are in Tunisia to select which of the thousands of Libyans fleeing Gaddafi’s regime will be permitted to settle in Norway.
“It’s self evidently not an easy job to decide who should come to Norway, but the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has already been studying who has the greatest need” said Tone Loge Tveter, assistant director of the Immigration Department.
Norway can take 250 refugees, and immigration officials have disclosed that the first refugees could arrive by early August.
According to NRK, it is planned refugees will be settled in a municipality, not an asylum reception centre. Officials have decided that people who have criminal backgrounds or a record of substance abuse will not enjoy Norwegian protection.
Checks as to whether refugees are able to return to their home country are also to be made. The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees states that only people who are either unable, or fearful of returning to their home country qualify for refugee status.
Many of the refugees in Camp Choucha near the Libyan border in Tunisia, the refugee camp that Norway is choosing its refugees from, have previously fled from other unstable African countries such as Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea.
The interview process for the refugees has already begun, with one from the Ivory Coast, one from the Congo, 36 from Eritrea, 7 from Ethiopia and 24 from Somalia having been selected so far.
“From experience we know that these interviews create a huge expectation among the refugees. Their situation is desperate, so we hope we only need to say no to as few as possible” Ms Tveter told NRK yesterday.
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