Asylum seekers to sue Norway over Greek deportations

A group of three asylum seekers is planning to take legal action against the Norwegian government and immigration authorities for what they say is wrongful deportation to Greece.

Despite announcing that they would no longer send immigrants to the Mediterranean country – which has been found to systematically abuse the rights of asylum seekers by the ECHR – Norway deported 260 people to Greece last year under the Dublin II regulation. Many of these now reportedly live on the streets with limited food and clothing.

“Norway has returned a large number of people even though it should have known better. We believe it was probably aware conditions were not suitable for deportation,” Andreas Furuseth, legal advisor at the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), told the NRK news agency.

All deportations to Greece were suspended by the Immigration Appeals Board in 2010 after a ruling by the Strasbourg court.

Deputy minister at the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, Pal Lonnseth, admitted last month that some refugees have undoubtedly suffered human rights abuses in the country. “This probably applies to some, but it cannot be taken for granted this means everyone,” Lonnseth said. It is important to look at when they were sent back, amongst other things. As late as autumn 2008, the same court ruled return was unproblematic,” he added.

According to the The Foreigner, Norwegian politicians are calling for the country to retrieve asylum seekers from Greece and issue a formal apology.

Arild Humlem, lawyer for the three refugees taking action against Norway, said his clients will be seeking compensation. “How much Norway has to pay for these violations it has verifiably committed will also have to be clarified,” he said.

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