- New legislation that cuts all social aid for rejected asylum seekers has left refugees starving and freezing on the streets of Oslo (Norway). As five rejected refugees from Ethiopia have had to escape hunger in Norway by turning to Sweden, the UN's refugee agency and the Norwegian Church now protest against the "inhumane" legislation in one of the world's richest countries.
- It is wrong to deny anyone food, today said the UNHCR representative in Scandinavia, based in the Swedish captial Stockholm. The UN spokesman, Mons Nyberg, said his agency had received five Ethiopian refugees that had seen their asylum applications rejected by Norwegian authorities. After this rejection, the five were thrown out of the refugee reception centre and denied financial support or wotk permits.
Authorities in Addis Ababa, on the other hand, reject reciving exiled that do not return out of free will, thus blocking their sending back to Ethiopia. The five refugees, as a result, have lived on the street in Oslo for six months, without any means, without a possiblity to leave the country and barred from having legal incomes.
As a result, the refugees were close to starvation and facing deadly risks as the northern winter is approaching, according to reports from the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. The five Ethiopians escaped their harsh destiny by fleeing to neighbouring Sweden, where the UNHCR received them and a local priest gave them temporal accomodation in a Stockholm church.
Mr Nyberg today protested the harsh treatment of rejected asylum seekers in Norway. According to international law, every human being has the right to food and a bed, the UNHCR spokesman said, adding that it was the first time ever he had heard of such a harsh treatment against rejected asylum seekers.
The legislation providing for a total cut of services for rejected asylum seekers was approved this year by the right-wing majority in the Norwegian parliament. It has been met by strong protests by the socialist opposition, the Norwegian (Lutheran) Church and several municipalities, rejecting its implementation. According to the Church, the legislation is "putting lives at risk."
Ethiopians constitute a realtively small group of asylum seekers in Norway. Norwegian authorities in general hold that Ethiopians have no good case when seeking asylum on a political basis.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.