7 November 2016: The Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security has instructed the immigration authorities to align their practice with Norway’s international obligations, taking an important step towards ensuring that no child born in Norway remains stateless. This follows advocacy by UNHCR and the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), with campaigning and technical support provided by SRT grantees the European Network on Statelessness and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion.
As highlighted by UNHCR in the report Mapping statelessness in Norway from October 2015, historically Norway has largely ignored its obligations under UN conventions on statelessness. Among other issues, children born stateless in Norway without lawful residence have been unable to acquire Norwegian nationality – in direct violation of article 1(2) of the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness of 1961.
On 28 October 2016 the Ministry of Justice and Public Security issued a new instruction to the immigration authorities that stateless people born in Norway have the right to acquire Norwegian citizenship as long as they were living in Norway at the time of the application and had continuously resided there for three years previously. Stateless children under the age of 18 born in Norway may be granted Norwegian citizenship even earlier if the child or their parents have resided in the country lawfully.
The new instruction has come after close engagement with the Norwegian authorities by the UNHCR and the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), the latter having received expert support from the European Network on Statelessness, including through its Stateless Kids campaign.
Marek Linha of NOAS said, “Norway’s example shows that a combined advocacy effort can lead to a positive change even in a political environment where restrictions of the rights of migrants are high on the agenda. The new instruction issued by the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security to the immigration authorities represents a very important step towards ensuring that no child born in Norway is left without nationality.”
Full coverage from the European Network on Statelessness’ website: http://www.statelessness.eu/blog/important-victory-stateless-children-born-norway?mc_cid=ecb24549bf&mc_eid=be8ce48f19
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