• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Norway to send refugees back to Russia - by bike
A woman who crossed the border at Storskog by bike in November may soon have to turn it around and go the other way. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norway to send refugees back to Russia - by bike

The Local · 13 Jan 2016, 12:07

Published: 13 Jan 2016 12:07 GMT+01:00

Some 5,500 refugees and migrants crossed into Norway from Russia by bike last year, sidestepping border agreements that make it illegal either to cross the border on foot or to give someone without papers a lift. 
 
Now all of those refugees, primarily Syrians, who came via the Storskog border station -- just two hours drive from the Arctic City of Murmansk in Russia's far north -- will be sent back to Russia. That journey, too, will be made on two wheels. 
 
 
The National Police Directorate Norway ( Politidirektoratet) has asked police districts to reclaim and refurbish the bicycles that were abandoned at Storskog. 
 
“We asked that they bikes that were left behind or claimed by the police be gathered up for use by the foreigners who will be returned to Russia,” Jan Erik Thomassen, a Police Directorate section head, told broadcaster NRK. 
 
“I can understand that it feels a bit awkward and odd,” he added. 
 
Thomassen said that police are trying to avoid having refugees bike back to Russia, but that requires the cooperation of the Russians. 
 
After Norway announced in November that it would immediately reject asylum seekers who have been residing in Russia, the two countries began sending the expelled back and forth.
 
But newly-appointed Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug said on Tuesday that all migrants who crossed at Storskog would be sent back to Russia. 
 
Story continues below…
“It is very important for us to cooperate with the Russian authorities to get them to accept those who were sent here without a transit visa,” she told NRK. 
 
The Norwegian Organization for Asylum (NOAS) was highly critical of Listhaug’s plan to send migrants back to Russia.
 
“Norway can’t return asylum seekers to Russia, which will in turn send them back to Syria. We have principles pertaining to international law that Norway must uphold,” Jon Ole Martinsen, a senior consultant with the group, told NRK. 
 

For more news from Norway, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Today's headlines
Norway kids and parents tell each other to log off
Parents and kids accuse each other of spending too much time online. Photos: Jan Haas and Frank May / NTB scanpix

Norwegian parents are critical of the amount of time their children spend online but their children feel the exact same way about them.

Norway firm opens office in Minecraft
The Oslo firm set up their island office on Norway's biggest Minecraft server. Screenshot: Heisholt Inc

The company behind the world's first ever live Minecraft concert has now set up shop within the popular gaming platform.

79-year-old Norwegian lands plane with no propeller
Garstad's propeller (left) was found after his crash landing at Sola (right). Photos: Arnstein Løvbrekke/NTB Scanpix and Florian Pépellin/WikiCommons

The veteran pilot said the air traffic controllers were "more flustered than me” when he told them he was coming in for a crash landing.

Norway oil investments set to drop again in 2017
After 15 years of solid growth boosted by rising oil and gas prices, the Norwegian economy has rapidly slumped. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Oil investments, one of the main drivers of Norway's economy, are expected to fall for a third straight year.

App-surd! Norwegians read app terms for 32 hours
The Norwegian consumer protection agency staged the readathon as part of its #appfail campaign. Photo: Forbrukerrådet

In a live-streamed 'readathon' Norway consumers read the "very bad" terms and conditions of popular smartphone apps.

Norway firm to buy portion of Finland defence company
Patria specializes in armoured vehicles. Photo: Patria

A portion of Finnish state-owned defence manufacturer Patria will be privatized through a sell to Kongsberg, a partially state-owned defence company in Norway.

'Historic': McDonald's agrees to contain Arctic cod fishing
The McDonald's on Nedre Slottsgate in Oslo. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / SCANPIX

For the first time ever, major players in the seafood industry have voluntarily imposed limitations on industrial fishing in the Arctic.

Norwegian ship rescues over 1,000 refugees
Kripos said that the ship had never before brought so many people on board. Photo: Kripos/Scanpix

The Norwegian rescue vessel Siem Pilot on Wednesday came to the aid of more than 1,000 people off the coast of Libya.

Shareholders at Norway's Opera accept Chinese bid
Opera's Oslo offices. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / Scanpix

Deal for the world's fight-biggest internet browser will now need US and Chinese approval.

Ryanair departure will doom Norway airport
Passengers depart a Ryanair flight at Moss Airport Rygge. Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

The board of directors at Moss Airport Rygge will shut down the airport's commercial operations if Irish carrier Ryanair makes good on its threats to abandon its base there.

Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
National
Global protests condemn 'legal kidnapping' in Norway
Norway to allow gay church weddings
Society
Church of Norway to allow same-sex weddings
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
National
'No means no': Norway sends migrants on anti-rape courses
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Society
For first time, majority in Norway don’t believe in God
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Health
Norway preps 'breakthrough' on gender change
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Breivik says he'll fight 'to the death' for Nazism
National
Memo: Norway 'not mentally prepared' for refugees' impact
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Society
Norway is the world's fourth happiest country
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
National
Norway moves closer to allowing dual citizenship
Politics
Norway's tough asylum plans face resistance
National
'Patriot' group Soldiers of Odin debut in Norway
National
Oslo is the real ‘Capital of Scandinavia’
Health
Norway ads use Hitler teddy bear to scare parents... about dust
National
Migrants: Norway 'sending us to death' in Russia
Norway under fire over tough new asylum plans
2,040
jobs available