Syrian asylum seekers in Norway staged a hunger strike on Monday, after Norwegian authorities decided to deport them to Russia. Around 70 asylum seekers were moved to the asylum center in the Finnmark province of Sor-Varanger on the border with Russia on Sunday.
The asylum seekers claimed that they were not informed about the mass departure.
“When they brought us here, they said we would be interviewed by UDI [the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration], but we haven’t been. We haven’t been given any information,” Rami Haddad from Jordan, one of the asylum seeker told Norwegian broadcaster NRK on Monday.
“It feels like we are in prison. We can’t go out or do anything, the police are everywhere,” he added.
Around 40 asylum seekers managed to run away from another center Oscarsgata, situated in Vadso, due to the fear of being deported.
Norwegian police said that both the authorities had communicated on equal levels over the matter. The immigrants who were refused refuge in Norway will be moved to the Russian residential areas closest to the border.
The Norwegian Refugee Council has condemned the decision and the treatment by Norway towards the asylum seekers.
“This is another chapter in Norway’s sad handling of the refugee crisis. Sad because buses continue to arrive at asylum centers, accompanied by two police officers, ready to transport people back to Russia. We are concerned, as is the Head of the European Bureau at the UNHCR, because we don’t know what will happen to them after.” said Senior Adviser Pal Nesse to Newsweek.
“Norway has joined this race to the bottom, which we now see throughout Scandinavia,” he adds
Last year, around 5 million refugees from Asia and Middle East traveled through the “Arctic route” to enter Europe. This is a road going through Murmansk, a Russian city bordering Norway and Finland. Although, it is illegal for the asylum seekers to travel through ‘Arctic route’, according to Norwegian Law still they decided to bicycle, as crossing on foot is illegal.
In last week’s report, Norway said that it was going to send the asylum seekers back to Russia.