Norway: Government to review asylum status of Eritreans who celebrate National Service

The Norwegian government will review the asylum cases of 150 Eritreans to determine whether their status should be revoked for falsifying asylum claims. This decision comes after several Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers were found attending an event in Oslo, Norway in support of the Eritrean National Service.

The gathering took place in August with the purpose of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the National Service. In attendance was Yemane Gebreab, one of the Eritrean president’s closest advisors. Participants wore military-style clothes and called out military exercise commands.

The Norwegian Department of Justice has said that Eritreans who have received asylum on the grounds of fleeing the mandatory military conscription may have their status revoked, and their legal residence in Norway rescinded, if they are found to have participated in any celebration of the National Service or in support of the Eritrean government. 

“That a refugee has participated in events and the like in support of the same authorities he or she fears persecution from, may indicate that residence permit and asylum status in Norway should be revoked,” said the Department of Justice in a press release on 6 September.

The Department of Justice has instructed the Department of Immigration (UDI) to carry out random checks and review if Eritrean refugees have attended events celebrating the forced conscription in Eritrea. Relying on their investigation plus tips from the community, the UDI will then conclude if there is a basis for revocation of refugee protection and residence permit.

If a refugee is found to still require protection from the Norwegian government, their previous asylum case and residence status will be revoked and they will be granted a new one.

About 22,000 Eritreans are currently living in Norway, most of whom arrived after 2001, fleeing open-ended military conscription and national service.

TMP 23/09/2019

Photo caption: Eritrea’s second most powerful man, at the Event Hall at Bryn. The person to his left was granted asylum in Norway in 2009.

Photo credit: Private photo provided to NRK.