May 23, 2022

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There was no place for them - our country

There was no place for them – our country

It wasn’t the time for Christmas when a white South African asked for a room in Norway: “I am a white man who does not want to do military service in an army used to oppress blacks.”

I was asked this question in 1987 as a personal advisor to the Secretary of State. I asked further in the ministry. We were recommended to fly to a Norwegian airport and apply for political asylum. He got it and “room” in Norway.

Norway outlaw

The Norwegian authorities have decided that asylum seekers who have not been granted residence must return to their home country. Some travel voluntarily. Others “returned”. Some have become so-called “paperless”. If the home country does not want to accept them, they cannot be sent back. Others will not travel. They fear persecution. Some seek canonical asylum.

Some disappear, especially the young ones. Nobody knows where they are. Some do not have papers to convince the Norwegian authorities of their identity. They were asked to obtain identity papers from the country from which they had fled. The Norwegian authorities seem to think that the oppressor will give identity documents to someone who has escaped persecution? It is also likely that the system will not confirm the person’s presence.

Unregistered persons are not allowed to work. They receive health care only in emergency situations. They live with acquaintances and well-wishers – or at a reception. In practice, the Norwegian authorities realize that many cannot return, but are outlaws, without rights in Norway.

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Everyone should have something to live on. When people are banned, they turn to the unauthorized act or commit a serious crime. Lack of health care can lead to serious illness and high chances of becoming a carrier. The Norwegian authorities accept this with open eyes.

Gunnar Stallsett’s trial has highlighted the government’s promise (at the Granavold platform) of a “one-time solution” to seniors and longtime asylum seekers. The result is a scheme that includes very little. Arne Viste wants undocumented workers away from unauthorized work and crime. He wants them to work. It leads to prosecution and heavy fines.

One was granted rights by the Norwegian state. Others seem without.

Trond Backvig

Congo farren

A Norwegian orphaned child was brought from Syria, but the Norwegian authorities will not do anything about the Norwegian women who were supporters of the Islamic State. They made it difficult for themselves.

Another Norwegian, in a similar situation, crossed the border in Africa with weapons in hand – with inconspicuous agents. Convicted of murder. Two Norwegian governments spent millions to bring him home. The Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs interrupted the celebration of the seventeenth of May to announce his return. The Congolese prisoner returned to his homeland to freedom.

If the Syrian dangers ever return, trials and imprisonment await. Norway has held responsibility for the captive in the Congo, but is waiving its responsibility for the women and children in Syria. One was granted rights by the Norwegian state. Others seem without. Is the difference that many Syrians have more melanin in their skin, or is it an influential network in Norway?

Responsibility towards Norwegian citizens

Syrians traveled to live among violent Islamists, but ended up in Kurdish camps where violent Islamists now abuse women and children. Some women regret their enthusiasm for ISIS, others may not. Some politicians want an international court that can handle these issues. does not exist.

The Kurdish authorities are asking Norway to accompany Norwegian women and children. Children can be cared for by the Norwegian Child Care Service. Women must appear in court to take responsibility for their actions. The rule of law preserves human dignity when it holds people accountable. Norway must do so now, as no other authority protects the human rights and human dignity of Norwegian citizens.

In fact, the questions revolve around the same issue because Norway chooses to make people out of the law.

Trond Backvig

The situation of the undocumented and the recovery of the women and children who supported ISIS seem to revolve around two different issues. The first is about Norwegian immigration and refugee policy. The second relates to the liability of Norwegian citizens who participate in criminal acts abroad. In fact, the questions revolve around the same issue because Norway chooses to make people out of the law.

The first group is an outlaw in Norway. Norwegian citizens have been banned in Syria. Unlike prisoners in the Congo, they are left in a situation where they have no rights either in Kurdistan or in Norway.

protector of human dignity

Details of Norway’s immigration and refugee policy are not on the church table. Nobody, not even the church, believes that the Norwegian border should be opened. Refugee number quotas and judgments in Norwegian border control should be left to the conscience and assessment of politicians and ordinary people. What Norwegian citizens get involved in here in Norway or abroad is not a question of the church until it becomes a question of human rights and human dignity.

No one should be denied, whether an undocumented woman in Norway or a Norwegian in Syria.

Trond Backvig

The Church must always be the protector of human dignity. Human dignity is guaranteed by the rule of law with respect for the rights of every human being. The Christian faith is reflected in Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to be recognized as a legal entity everywhere.” The keyword is “everywhere”. No one should be denied, whether an undocumented woman in Norway or a Norwegian in Syria.

Everyone has their value regardless of skin color, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Every individual has human dignity, regardless of whether they are on or across the border of Norway or are Norwegian citizens.

It is not about politics, but about human dignity. Even if there is no place in our country for everyone who wants it, no one should be outside the law or become outside the law.