Refugee status denied

Supreme Court judgment of 17 March 2017, HR-2017-569-A, (case no. 2016/1379), civil case, appeal against judgment

A (Counsel Dag Holmen), Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) (intervener) (Counsel Terje Einarsen) v. The state repr. by the Immigration Appeal Board (Attorney General repr. by Counsel Jørgen Vangsnes)

Justices: Noer, Kaasen, Arntzen, Matheson, Tønder

After arriving in Norway, an Ethiopian asylum seeker had been active in a political party that was banned in Ethiopia. His application for asylum was turned down by the immigration authorities under the so-called misuse provision in section 28 subsection 4 of the Immigration Act, as it was deemed more likely than not that the purpose of the political activity here had been to obtain residence in Norway. The Supreme Court concluded that the misuse provision did not conflict with the definition of the term refugee in the Refugee Convention Article 1 (A) 2. It was pointed out that the wording of the Article in the Convention did not resolve the issue, but the Article’s previous history and original time limit indicated that the misuse cases were not included. It was not deemed decisive that UNHCR had stated that the misuse provision reached further than what the Convention allows. It was pointed out that the asylum seeker had been granted temporary residence under section 74 of the Immigration Act, cf. section 73, and was in any case protected against being returned to Ethiopia.

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