The Norwegian government rejects human rights activists' claims that this step violates international rules and undermines integration efforts.
Norway has announced plans to deprive 1,600 Somali immigrants of their refugee status, as their homeland is considered safe enough to return to, the newspaper Nettavisen reported.
According to the Norwegian government, Islamists from al-Shabaab* have been pushed back in Somalia, which despite ongoing battles has evolved from a failed state to a functional one. Norway has concluded that it is only reasonable for people who no longer need protection to return home.
These plans, however, have triggered the ire of human rights organizations, such as the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) and Save the Children, who accused the government of violating the UN Refugee Convention, the European Convention, the Domestic Aliens Act and Norway's humanitarian foundations in general. According to NOAS, the changes in Somali are far from "significant and lasting" and are insufficient grounds for depriving the Somalis of their refugee status.
Norway's Somali diaspora numbers over 30,000 people and is one of the country's largest. According to Statistics Norway, over 916,000 people have a foreign background in the Scandinavian country of 5.3 million people.