An African woman living in Norway has accused the Norwegian authorities of being very discriminative towards Africans who apply for visas, and at the same time she accuses African countries of being naive by favouring Norwegians who travel to their countries!
“UDI and Norwegian embassies must stop treating Africans applying for visas to their country as “criminals,” She says.
The anger on her face confirms her disappointment in the way she has seen people being mistreated. She told APN that the time had come for the African people rise up, and not only demand, but take their rights by all means. “Norway wants to be seen and treated internationally as a country with kind leaders. In practice, this is not the case always. Some officials in government play God when they are dealing with an African person. This kind of behaviour is very abusive and disgusting,” she says.
Norwegians travel a lot visiting Africa and other parts of the world. Norwegian authorities are clever to persuade other countries to waive visa regulations for their citizens.
And when they have to apply for visas, they get them very easily and travel out of their country in any capacity, whether it is business, or just a holiday in the sun!
Some African countries have waived visa regulations to enable the Norwegians enter their countries without visas. And many African countries allow them to get visas on arrival at the entry point.
Surprisingly, you will find countries that Norway demands visas from their citizens, in order to be allowed to get to Norway, waiving visa requirements for Norwegians. Why this discrimination?
If Norway demands visas from citizens of an African country, it is only right that the African country must do the same. If it takes 14 days to process a visa for an African who wants to enter Norway, why can’t the African country use the same regulation of 14 days to process a visa application from a Norwegian?
Africans who apply for visas to visit their relatives in Norway suffer a lot, before the embassies and UDI issue them with the required visas in time to be able to enter Norway.
An African man who lives in New Jersey in the US ,having a relative in Norway wanted to stop over in Oslo on his way from the US to Kenya.
The man had all the requirements. He had a ticket reading New Jersey – London – Oslo – Nairobi, and a return ticket that read: Nairobi – London – New Jersey.
He wanted a transit visa, so that he could stop over for 2 days in Norway, in order to meet his relative who lives permanently in the country. The relative is not a refugee. She has lived and worked in Norway for over 15 years.
The Norwegian embassy and UDI refused to process his visa. The man had to change his ticket to read: New Jersey – London – Nairobi and Nairobi – London – New Jersey.
The man was not going to stay more than 2 days in the country. He was not going to be a candidate for asylum. The why the suspicion? Should Norwegians not let Africans see their country, just like they like Africans let them travel to Africa and enjoy the African beauty?
There was no need to treat him that way, when he was able to meet all the requirements.
Africans who want to visit Norway as a tourist for some weeks, or just a visit to their relatives living in Norway immediately become suspects, by the Norwegians processing visa applications in embassies and the UDI.
A few months ago, one woman applicant from Africa wanted to visit the country for 10 days. She was having 30 days leave from her job, and wanted to visit her relatives who live in Norway. She too, became a suspect and was not given the visa despite all the requirements being met.
The embassy informed her that they could not process her visa, because the person who was to sign the documents at the embassy was on a 7 days holiday far from the embassy relaxing and sun-bathing.
When she requested to come back after the 7 days had elapsed to see the person in charge, she was told that she could. On coming back after 7 days, the person charged with the responsibility to process her application informed her that the visa process takes 14 days.
Yes, that was alright, she thought! Because she still had 9 days before she could travel. The fact that she was at the embassy 7 days earlier, should have been enough number of days ,- the 14 day-requirement -. to qualify the processing of her visa application. All the embassy needed now was to use the remaining 9 days ,and process her application. It was not her fault that the officer was on holiday without delegating her responsibilities to another person.
If the embassies and UDI are there to serve the people, officers should be able and willing to delegate their responsibilities, instead of everything getting stagnant, just because one officer prefers to sun-bathe for 14 days in a holiday resort.
Recently we uncovered bribery exists in the UDI. Punishing Africans who apply for visas, is one of the things that may easily cause applicants to resort to bribery of officers in embassies and UDI, so that they get the assistance they need.
Let us try and understand why Norway does want the African people. They look at African as a problem. But are Africans a problem to Norway?
It is sad for a country that preaches equality among people of all nations, to treat other human beings this way.
Any African trying to get a permit to get to Norway is either treated as a criminal first and after, a suspect for asylum in the country.
You may have a very good job in Africa. You may have letters from your employer to confirm that you are having a permanent job in your country. You may have a lot of money to prove to the Norwegian authorities that you will not depend on any other people economically while in their country. You may …. You …….
The list of “You may…” is endless. You will still be a suspect when you appear before a visa officer, because the first thing some of them concentrate on, is your skin colour, thereafter, they grill you on why you want to visit their country.
And finally, if you are lucky, you will receive a kind-worded letter where you are informed that you are not getting a visa this time, but that you are very welcome to apply next time you have a reason to visit Norway. They may even enclose a brochure that shows you how the winter climate is difficult to live through, and of course on seeing such a brochure with snow, it will be long before you decide to apply again for a visa.
The Norwegian government should change the visa regulations ,and make the African people feel welcome to visit their country, instead of making it very difficult for them. To be treated with suspicion is very inhuman and degrading.
African Press has today send a letter of request to United Nations Commission on Human Rights asking them to take up the matter with the Norwegian government, because this type of treatment criminalises all Africans one way or another and must be stopped.
APN is doing this because the Commission is empowered by all UN member states, Norway included to protect all persons.
The following is the Commissions statement:
“The mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to protect and promote all human rights for all.”
The Norwegian Minister in charge of Immigration, Mr Hanssen was not available for comment.
By Korir, African Press in Norway, APN.email@example.com
Source of the story: A Concern African Woman in Norway.
Here below is a letter dispatched to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
—– Original Message —–
From: African Press – Norway
Sent: Sunday, December 10, 2006 1:31 AM
Subject: Complaint against the Norwegian Directorate Of Immigration and The Norwegian Embassies.
The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights
We wish to to bring the following to your attention and request the Commission to take it up with the Norwegian government.
We refer you to our article below:
We hope to receive your statement on what you plan to do on this matter or what steps you intend to take.
We say tank you in advance and hope to get you cooperation.
African Press in Norway.