Fear of the Eritrean authorities is the most common reason for applying for protection.
UNE rarely reverses UDI’s decisions. Many applications are rejected because we do not believe the applicants are Eritrean.
The most common topics for consideration
UDI grants protection in very many cases from Eritrea. In the cases we consider, a key question is often whether or not the applicant is Eritrean. Whether the applicant can give a credible statement about having lived in Eritrea for all or much of his/her life is an important part of our assessment.
Some Eritreans have never been to Eritrea, but have lived in another country such as Ethiopia or Sudan. Many applicants state that they cannot go back to Ethiopia or Sudan because they have never had lawful residence there. They regard themselves as Eritreans, and believe that the situation in Eritrea is so bad that they will be persecuted if they have to go there. We reject many appeals because we believe the applicant is not Eritrean, or that he/she has not stayed illegally in for example Ethiopia or Sudan.
Because we believe many applicants are not Eritrean, we cannot say that they have to go back to Eritrea. In many cases, we do not know where the applicants come from. That means that we cannot decide which country they should return to.
In most appeals that are rejected, the appellants ask us for a reversal. In most of these appeals the appellants present a passport issued by the Eritrean Embassy in Stockholm. The appellant becomes an Eritrean citizen from the day the passport is issued. In our consideration of risk we differentiate between the country the appellant is a citizen of and his/her home country. The appellant’s home country is the country the appellant has lived in most of his/her life. In most cases we consider the home country as unknown.
Our practice in the last four years has been not to reverse UDI’s decisions because we consider the appellant secure in the home country.
UNE’s assessment of identity and documents
We believe the ID documents from Eritrea are unreliable, among other things because there is no central population register in Eritrea. The authorities in the country therefore have limited possibilities to control the information in the ID documents. In Eritrea, it is normal for the inhabitants to have ID documents and to carry these documents on them. The most common document is a national ID card.
We want applicants to submit all the ID documents they have. They may help to substantiate the applicant’s claim that he/she is from Eritrea.
Eritrean nationals in Norway can be issued a national ID card and passport at the Eritrean embassy in Stockholm. We believe that the documents issued via the embassy in Stockholm are unreliable, among other things because a person can be issued ID documents without having lived in Eritrea.
The most common reasons for reversing a decision
We rarely grant protection in cases where the UDI has rejected an application. We grant a few permits in cases where we believe that the applicant is an Eritrean national and risks persecution if he/she were to return to Eritrea. Some are granted permits on humanitarian grounds. This is usually because of serious health problems or children’s attachment to Norway.
Common sources used in case processing
We use many different sources. Much of the information we use has been collected by Landinfo, a unit that prepares reports on topics that are important to the UDI and UNE. Recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are also important. We also read reports from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and keep up to date with reports in the media and from other organisations.
Of particular relevance to cases from the country
Many Eritreans who have received a final rejection from UNE do not leave Norway. Therefore, UNE considers many requests for reversals from Eritreans who are still in Norway. A few of these Eritreans have been granted a residence permit because they have engaged in political activity in Norway that makes it dangerous for them to go to Eritrea. Others have started a family and had children, and have been granted a residence permit because the children have lived in Norway for a long time.