Tribunal of Norwegian asylum policy – returns to Mogadishu against UNHCR advice

At today’s event at Litteraturhuset in Oslo (Tribunal of Norwegian asylum policy), NGOs and rejected asylum seekers tell their stories about what happened after their forced returns from Norway. The event raises questions about Norwegian practice in asylum policy against UNHCR guidelines and advice.

Safi, talks about the situation in Mogadishu/ Somalia, and their first trip back in collaboration with Nurses and Mogadishu University.

She talks about what kind of security that was put around her and the others in the collaborative project For her it is absolutely unbelievable that  anyone can be returned without necessary security.

She says that one of two that were returned from Norway while she was in Mogadishu, was killed the same day as he was returned.

– Security is very, very miserable in Mogadishu,  Safi says. When she is at work in Mogadishu, she cannot visit her family or the neighborhood where she was born, because the risk is too high that her family will be vulnerable to attack if someone sees they have had guests from Europe.

ECRE Weekly Bulletin from February 2013 :

European countries take steps to enforce returns to Mogadishu against UNHCR advice. This month, the Norwegian authorities decided to lift the suspension on all forced returns to Mogadishu and southern Somalia. Such returns had been suspended since October 2010 due to the severity of the situation in the region.

The Norwegian authorities consider that the situation in Mogadishu is no longer so critical that all asylum seekers need protection and decided to revoke the suspension of returns. The risks of return to these areas of Somalia will be individually evaluated.

This move follows a joint Danish – Norwegian mission to Nairobi and Mogadishu in October 2012 that produced a report surmising that some improvement in the security situation in Mogadishu could be observed.

The report also noted that there remain ‘a lot’ of collateral civilian casualties and targeted assassinations as well as concerns over the presence of government-backed militias and little police engagement. The report emphasised that Somalia is not a post-conflict state, but that the conflict in the country continues to evolve. Furthermore, the team reduced the amount of time spent in Mogadishu to two visits of only one day each, due to security advice from the Norwegian and Danish embassies in Nairobi.