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Norway sends Syrian refugees back to Russia

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By Euronews
Norway sends Syrian refugees back to Russia

<p>The Norwegian authorities have begun sending the first of around 5,500 mainly Syrian refugees who’ve been housed in a transit camp in the north of the country, back to the Russian border they crossed last autumn.</p> <p>Dozens of asylum seekers are resisting and have left the camp, around 30 others staged a brief hunger strike in protest.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Refugees seeking asylum in Norway go on hunger strike against deportation to Russia <a href="https://t.co/Hz2KAhngfw">https://t.co/Hz2KAhngfw</a> <a href="https://t.co/jPYDrQ7Wpu">pic.twitter.com/jPYDrQ7Wpu</a></p>— Philosophile (@RealFKNNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/RealFKNNews/status/689590885995143169">January 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Many are distressed and confused and demanding information. They cannot understand why they should be sent to Russia – it was only the route they had taken to get to Norway.</p> <p>“(We’ve) no money, nowhere to go. We don’t speak Russian and once we cross the border, nobody will help us, “ said one refugee.</p> <p>Critics of the government have said the attempts to return refugees to Russia put them at risk and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/norway-criticised-over-deportation-of-asylum-seekers-to-russia?CMP=twt_gu">contravene European Union human rights</a><br /> . <br /> Although Norway is not a member of the bloc, it is in the border free Schengen zone.</p> <p>Last November Oslo announced it would deport people who had arrived from a safe country. The government considers Russia as safe but has not given the refugees opportunity to appeal the decision. </p> <p>The move has come as part of a broader policy to reduce immigration to the country brought on by the success of right-wing parties during last September’s elections.</p> <p>Under a deal agreed by a wide section of political parties, the government will reduce asylum seekers’ social benefits and speed up the processing of some cases and the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers.</p> <p>The refugees being bussed to Russia had taken the so-called Arctic Route through Russia <a href="http://www.euronews.com/2015/10/07/taking-the-arctic-route-migrants-cycle-from-russia-to-norway/">crossing the Norwegian border by bike</a> as Russia doesn’t allow any one to cross by foot. Since the beginning of 2015 at least 29,000 people have used various route to seek asylum in Norway.</p>