Migrant crisis: Save the Children slams Norwegian government minister for threatening to deport teenage migrants over protest

The teenagers barricaded themselves inside a gym

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 13 August 2015 17:41 BST
Migrants staged a protest at a detention centre in Norway
Migrants staged a protest at a detention centre in Norway (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A leading children’s charity has criticisedd the Norwegian government for threatening to deport a group of teenage asylum seekers after they staged a protest at a refugee centre.

The 20 young people, who each arrived in Norway alone, staged a protest at the Lunner Reception centre, 50km north of Oslo, over a decision to move a young man, who police believe had lied about being under 18-years-old.

During the demonstration, the group locked themselves inside the gym at the centre, and threw stones at police officers, The Local Norway reported.

Some 15 people are now being investigated over the incident, and may be fined or imprisoned, local police officer Frank Sletten told Norweigian daily KlasseKampen. Those involved have now been separated into different refugee centres, according to the newspaper.

Jøran Kallmyr, a Justice Minister and member of the anti-immigration Progress Party, told NTB newswire that the incident will likely be noted when officials consider the group’s residency application.

He added that it can be “difficult to deal with young people who are seeking asylum alone” as they may not be under 18, and “should perhaps be returned”.

But Save the Children has criticised Mr Kallmyr's comments and has called on the system to be restructed.

Karoline Steen Nylander, the charity’s press spokesman, stressed that those involved are children, and have not received any treatment for traumatic experiences.

“As a child rights organisation, we really disagree with the politics, but also with the rhetoric,” she said, adding that the charity is also opposed to teenagers being referred to in the media as “unaccompanied minors”, “juveniles” or even “criminals”.

As people flee violent conflict, oppressive governments, and poverty, desperate migrants have been attempting to build new lives in nations across the world.

Some 2,000 people have died this summer after attempting to arrive on shores and borders in Europe.

Earlier this week, desperate scenes developed on the Greek island of Kos, where police officers used fire extinguishers and batons against crowds waiting for registration papers.

On Wednesday night, hundreds of people were trapped in a stadium without food or water after fleeing across the Turkish border from conflicts and poverty in Syria and Afghanistan.

Additional reporting by PA

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