Seven families with small children who fled war in Syria but have since been languishing in refugee camps in Greece were finally brought to Norway this week. They were quickly taken to the national asylum center in Råde, where their new lives in Norway will begin.
Calls have gone out for years to help more Syrian refugees, especially when the wretched conditions at refugee camps on islands off Turkey got international attention. Strict government immigration and asylum policy in Norway along with quarreling among EU countries over resettlement issues left thousands stuck in appalling conditions.
Now 35 of the 50 Syrians whom Norway agreed to help still face a lengthy asylum process despite strong recommendations from psychologists that both the traumatized children and their parents need stability and new homes quickly. Others, including a local welcoming committee outside the asylum center, are still demanding that a wealthy country like Norway should be helping far more than 50. Many local communities around Norway also welcome immigrants and asylum seekers as a means of offsetting their own population declines.
A total of 13 adults and 22 children arrived in Norway Wednesday afternoon. Not all of them have been at the infamous Moria refugee camp on Levsos but most have been living under extremely difficult conditions. Norwegian police have already confirmed the identities of those sent to Norway. Corona pandemic issues have complicated the arrival of all 50. Those arriving this week have tested negative to the Corona virus and are considered likely to integrate well and eventually contribute to Norwegian society.