Asylum policies

It is our job to defend people’s fundamental human right to seek asylum from persecution.

Our role in this field of human rights law and practice is to promote the right to seek asylum. In recent years, Norway and many other countries have made it difficult for asylum seekers to apply for asylum. This results in many individuals paying expensive and cynical human traffickers to be able to enter a country and apply for protection. 

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The 2015 refugee crisis 

More than 31.000 asylum seekers came to Norway during the refugee crisis in 2015. Much larger numbers arrived in Sweden and Germany. This led to a range of restrictive legal amendments and policies, making it harder for asylum seekers to arrive and to be found in need of protection. 

Hungary and some other Central and Eastern European countries put policies in place with the aim of curtailing migration inflows completely. They also refused to take part in EU relocation schemes, which aimed towards sharing the burden of the newly influx of asylum seeker between EU Member States. 

In 2015, 5.500 applicants crossed the border from Russia to Norway at Storskog. Norway responded with legislation and regulations, restricting access to asylum procedures for persons who travelled to Norway through Russia or other so-called “safe countries”.  

This is what we do to defend people’s right to seek asylum: 

  • We argue that Russia does not have a sufficiently well-developed, fair and efficient asylum system to be categorised as a safe third country.  
  • We document cases where persons have been tortured and killed after being returned from Norway. Our reports lead the UN Human Rights Committee criticising Norwegian practices. 
  • We provide crucial information in asylum cases of Chechens, Uzbeks and others coming up for appeal in the Norwegian courts. In several successful cases, staff members of the NHC have been expert witnesses. 
  • We could also propose cases to be included on the Norwegian quota for relocation of refugees. According to this arrangement, the NHC could present refugee cases from regions where the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was not able to operate. 

Read more about our work


Our work with Human Rights

Read article "Keeping the embers alive"


Learning peace

We educate teenagers to become the next generation of human rights defenders.

Read article "Learning peace"


Documentation and Accountability

We document human rights violations so that the guilty can be punished.

Read article "Documentation and Accountability"