Hunger-striking woman ‘can stay in Norway’

Norway’s Immigration Appeals Board has indicated that it will review the case of a hunger-striking 31-year-old Palestinian woman whose family faces expulsion.

For 23 days, the woman has refused to eat in protest against a decision to deport her to Gaza along with her husband and their three-year-old son.

According to the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, the appeals board (Utlendingsnemnda) has said it will allow the Hamad family to remain in Norway while it reviews their residency application, newspaper Dagbladet reports.

The woman claims a return to the Gaza Strip would put their lives in danger.

Bassam Hamad said he had sought to break the good news to his wife but was unable to communicate with her after she fainted from exhaustion.

The ethics council at Arendal hospital in southern Norway concluded on Monday that the hospital did not have the legal right to force-feed the woman.

 “At the end of the day, she’s the one who has to decide,” hospital chief Per Engstrand told newspaper Fædrelandsvennen.  

While the doctor thinks the committee has made the right decision from a legal perspective, he also noted that the law runs counter to principles of medical ethics.

“As doctors we have learned to save lives. It’s not especially nice then to see somebody refuse to take nourishment,” he said.

Amnesty International Norway has also backed the woman's right to continue her hunger strike.

"First and foremost, we support the right to use non-violent methods in a political struggle. Some choose to go on hunger strike, and ultimately one can say that it's a human right to starve yourself to death," secretary general John Peder Egenæs told newspaper Vårt Land.

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