Wednesday, 27 January, 2016

Refugees who crossed Norwegian border on bikes deported to Russian Federation

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Dana Christensen | 23 January, 2016, 12:05

"We believe Norway is wrong to regard Russian Federation as a safe country for people who need protection", the commissioner said.

An NRK reporter who followed the bus said those expelled from Norway were driven to Murmansk, where most were let off at the airport with plans to fly back to Moscow, where some had friends who could house them and help them find work. Which city or cities are marked as their destination is unknown.

A girl enters the temporary reception center for refugees at Storskog border station near Kirkenes in northern Norway at the Norway-Russia border, October 13, 2015.

Norway's crackdown on asylum would create "a black market of paperless people", as refugees would get scared and go into hiding, said Ask Ebeltoft, an activist in Trondheim for the group Refugees Welcome in the Arctic. It was prohibited to cross the border on foot or by automobile, but people on bicycles were often given a free pass.

But Sylvi Listhaug, the newly appointed Norwegian immigration minister promised in December to crack down on the flow of refugees into the country.

Finland criticized its eastern neighbor Wednesday for allowing increasing numbers of asylum seekers across their Arctic border.

Initially, local news outlets had reported those who crossed the border would be sent back exactly the way they came: by bike.

Police have been rounding up refugees due to be deported over the weekend after Russian authorities confirmed that those with valid visas to Russia could be returned to the country. Police were present outside the church, she said.

The European court of human rights rejected a last ditch appeal by Frihagen on Tuesday to halt the deportations. "This is in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, article 13", Frihagen told Al Jazeera.

The group posted that they feared what would become of those who were sent across the border back into Russian Federation with limited resources.

Those who arrived in Norway previous year were just a fraction of more than 1 million migrants and refugees who made their way to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa in the worst migration crisis the continent has seen since World War II.

The pending expulsions had set off widespread fear among asylum seekers in Norway, not least those picked up at asylum centers around the country and sent back to Sør-Varanger, the community in the far northern county of Finnmark closest to the Russian border.

"The government of the populist right and conservatives wants to make a very clear stance that they do not want too many asylum seekers".



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