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Monday, April 22, 2024

Labour wins support for hard line on child refugees

Leaders of the Labour Party, which dominates Norway’s left-center government coalition, have been breathing a sigh of relief this week after seven of eight party chapters around the country voted down a proposal to let refugee children remain in Norway, even though their parents’ applications for asylum were rejected.

The refugee children, called asylbarna in Norway, have gained much sympathy in recent weeks after the individual fate of many of them was reported in local media. Some have been born in Norway or lived in Norway all their lives, yet are being deported when their parents’ appeals ran out.

That led to the proposal to delay the pending deportation of around 450 refugee children, while other proposals have been made to ease Norway’s immigration and asylum policies. But the grass roots movement failed to win enough support at chapter meetings over the weekend. While five party chapters have voted to delay deportation, 10 have now voted against the proposal. Four other chapters haven’t discussed the issue yet.

Grete Faremo, Norway’s justice minister from Labour, said she was “extra glad” that the seven most recent rejections sent “a strong signal that a special provision is not wanted.” Faremo has been accused of being “heartless” and “cold” for her position to send rejected refugee families and their children out of Norway, while Faremo, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and other party officials claim they merely favour “fair, predictable and consistent” policies.

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