15 January 2015

Norway has suspended forced returns to Libya on account of the increased unrest and deteriorating security situation in the country. In addition, where the asylum application of a national or resident of Libya is rejected after final appeal, the Norwegian authorities have temporarily suspended the person’s duty to return by their own means. The suspension of returns to Libya is in line with UNHCR’s recommendation not to carry out forcible returns to the country until the security and human rights situation has improved considerably.

Norway has also suspended forced returns and the duty to return to Uzbekistan in light of reports stating that Uzbek authorities have arrested a number of persons who have previously sought protection and residence permits in Norway. This follows a practice by several other States (Austria, Cyprus, Finland and Ireland) who have also suspended returns to the country and reflects the practice of the European Court of Human Rights who have held that returns of Uzbek nationals will lead to a real risk inhumane treatment where the national has been accused by the Uzbek authorities of criminal offences.

Finally, in light of the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, Norway has suspended forced returns to certain parts of the country, namely Anbar, Babel, Bagdad, Diyala, Kerbala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al-Din. Also, asylum applicants from these areas whose claims have been rejected are no longer obliged to return by their own means. In Finland, Hungary and Luxembourg, subsidiary protection is granted to people coming from certain areas of Iraq on the basis that if the applicant were to be returned they would suffer a real risk of serious harm, as defined in EU asylum law.