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 are born, have grown up or have lived before. That means we cannot decide which country they should return to. In many cases we do not have enough information to decide which country a person is a citizen of. 

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 with the identity that is in the passport. UNE is of the opinion that an Eritrean passport issued after an applicant has applied for asylum, do not necessarily mean that the apllicant was an Eritrean citizen when he/she applied for asylum in Norway. In our consideration of risk we assess which country the applicant was a citizen of at the time of the asylum application.

In many cases we find that the applicant has another citizenship/home country in addition to the Eritrean one. In such cases we consider whether the person can return to the other country he/she is a citizen of. 

UNE’s assessment of identity and documents

Everyone who applies for asylum in Norway is obliged to assist in clarifying their identity. Applicants who have a passport must hand this in. Other documents may also be accepted as proof of identity. Applicants who do not have ID documents are obliged to do their best to obtain such documents.

We conclude that an applicant's identity is either substantiated or not substantiated:

Substantiated identity: We believe that it is probable that the applicant is who he says he is. Documents and the applicant's statement can help to substantiate their identity. As a rule, the identity of the applicant must be substantiated before a residence permit can be granted.

Not substantiated: We believe that it is not probable that the applicant is who he says he is. This is the case when the applicant has not helped to establish who he is and where he comes from, by, for example, providing incorrect information. The reason we believe the identity has not been substantiated must always be included in the decision.

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.