Last Updated: Friday, 29 August 2014, 14:18 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Norway

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Norway , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b459434.html [accessed 29 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Norway hosted over 11,000 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003. These included 8,800 asylum seekers with pending asylum claims, about 1,700 refugees resettled in Norway during the year, and 590 persons granted asylum.

During the year, around 15,600 persons applied for asylum in Norway, 11 percent less than 2002 when a record 17,500 applied. The largest numbers of asylum seekers came from Serbia and Montenegro (2,200), Afghanistan (2,000) Russia (1,900), and Somalia (1,600).

In 2003, out of 12,100 decisions, the Directorate for Immigration (UDI) granted asylum to 590 persons (5 percent), residence permits on humanitarian grounds to around 3,000 persons (25 percent), and rejected 8,600 (71 percent). Additionally, some 3,300 cases were referred to other European Union countries under the Dublin Convention, and over 1,000 applicants withdrew their applications.

During 2003, Norway resettled some 1,700 refugees, mostly from Liberia (400), Iran (240), Congo-Kinshasa (150), Burundi (130), and Myanmar (120).

New Developments

In June, motivated by Norway's previously fewer grants of asylum and regular use of humanitarian permits, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional development published a report on the UDI's decision-making on 300 applications between 1997 and 2003. The report found "a lack of a systemized approach when discussing 'persecution', in part based on the tendency to rely on past practice instead of developments within theory and practice of human rights and refugee law." The number of asylum seekers granted asylum increased from 3 percent in 2002 to 5 percent in 2003.

In February, the UDI began using x-ray screening and dental exams to determine the age of unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Norway. Of 560 people age tested in 2003, the UDI found 490 (87 percent) to be over 18 years of age.

In June, the Norwegian Parliament passed an 'Introductory Act' for all foreigners, including refugees. The act implemented an obligatory two-year individually tailored program of language, basic skills, and Norwegian cultural information training for all immigrants aged between 18 and 55. Non-participation results in removal of government financial support.

In September, the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) began delivering a two-day induction program to asylum seekers in transit reception centers. The number of asylum seekers in Norway's 140 reception centers increased to 17,100 by year's end, up from some 16,000 in 2002.

Norway also passed legislation at the end of the year requiring UDI to determine the asylum applications of people from "normally safe" countries within 48 hours. Such countries include those within the EU, developed industrialized countries, and EU accession countries. Applicants with claims deemed manifestly unfounded are deported within this period. NOAS criticized the development charging that 48 hours was below the minimum requirement for a credible procedure, even in an accelerated procedure for manifestly unfounded claims.

(The 48-hour rule was implemented on January 1, 2004.)

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