Syria, Iraq top asylum applications, officials “naive” / News / The Foreigner

Syria, Iraq top asylum applications, officials “naive”. 2015 has seen a general upward trend and figures for the last two months spike. Officials’ anti-asylum seeker move attracts censure. According to Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) statistics, 2,642 and 3,401 people from Syria applied for asylum in September and October, respectively. Respective figures for the same two months of 2015 for applicants from Iraq were 552 and 1,347 – towards a tripling, month-on-month.

syria, refugees, asylum, russia, norway



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Syria, Iraq top asylum applications, officials “naive”

Published on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015 at 15:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 10th November 2015 at 16:18.

2015 has seen a general upward trend and figures for the last two months spike. Officials’ anti-asylum seeker move attracts censure.

Norwegian border
Norwegian border
Photo: Hardo Müller/Flickr


According to Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI) statistics, 2,642 and 3,401 people from Syria applied for asylum in September and October, respectively.

Respective figures for the same two months of 2015 for applicants from Iraq were 552 and 1,347 – towards a tripling, month-on-month.

Persons coming from Afghanistan accounted for the third-highest figures in September and second-highest in October – 633 and 2,033, respectively.

Not welcome

The first 10 months of this year have seen a total of 21,946 applications for asylum, with August-October showing the highest figures – at 2,326, 4,943, and 8,666, respectively.

2,452 asylum seekers came to Norway last week, which was a new all-time high. Most were from Afghanistan (699) and Syria (692).

The Rightist government bipartite coalition warns that asylum regulations in Norway are to now be tightened.

Parties the Conservatives (H) and Progress (FrP) have proposed new measures and legislation as part of this process.  

These include faster deportation of certain asylum seekers deemed non-entitled to protection, and considering issuing asylum seekers who come to Norway with food stamps instead of economic aid.

The Ministry of Justice has turned to social media. Deputy Minister of Justice for the Progress Party (FrP) Jøran Kallmyr describes their new Facebook page as a resource, arguing that social media is where many asylum seekers get their information from.

He states that it provides asylum applicants not considered as being in need of protection with “accurate and pragmatic information”.

“It is not exactly [a] ‘Welcome to Norway’ [move],” he told news agency NTB.

Possible reprisals

Stricter asylum regulations in Norway’ page has been in the news since it was set up last Friday, however. Officials have had to delete all comments due to people posting threats and hateful remarks.

Moreover, the Police Security Service (PST) says that as the influx of asylum seekers to Norway continues, this group continues to be at risk of being targeted by right wing extremists here.  

“This is because opposition to immigration is one of the most important issues and an important mobilisation factor for this [right extremist] milieu,” officials write.

“In Norway, there has recently been increased activity on extremist websites. Hate rhetoric has surfaced, as well as support and advocacy for acts of vandalism against properties where asylum seekers are staying,” they continue.

“There have also been several incidents directed against asylum seekers and immigrants in other European countries which can be linked to the Right Wing extremist mind-set. It is possible that we will see similar events in Norway committed by individuals or groups,” add officials.

Ill-advised

Norwegian musician Erik Honoré has both commented on the Ministry of Justice’s new Facebook page with his opinion and spoken with NRK.

He also censures officials’ rhetoric, saying certain elements of the page are injudicious and green.

“I am criticising their [Ministry of Justice officials’] choice of harsh language – “if you do not leave voluntarily, you will be returned by force” – and that they didn't foresee the flood of racist comments, thinly veiled threats etc. that had to come, given the current debate climate,” Mr Honoré tells The Foreigner.

“The fact that they didn't anticipate this (and had a moderator standing by) seemed very naive to me. This is after all the Justice Ministry. Furthermore, the head of the PST [Marie Benedicte Bjørnland] saw it necessary to go on air on NRK yesterday to warn about the threat from right wing extremists as a result of the refugee crisis, and she especially mentioned the rise in hate speech on social media,” he continues.

“Based on this, the last thing the Justice Ministry should do is to open up a new channel for conflict rhetoric and aggression,” concludes Mr Honoré.



Published on Tuesday, 10th November, 2015 at 15:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 10th November 2015 at 16:18.

This post has the following tags: syria, refugees, asylum, russia, norway.





  
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