Chechen Family Facing Deportation From Norway
Norwegian Radio and Television Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) has reported that a Chechen asylum seeking family that was living in the village of Melbu in Norway’s Nordlan County, is facing the threat of forced deportation to Russia.
According to the report, the Markhiyev family was taken from their house in Melbu to be deportation from Norway to Russia. At the moment, the family lives as undocumented asylum seekers in Oslo, Norway.
The Markhiyev family fled from the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria due to the brutal and lawless Russian military occupation of their homeland, and arrived in Norway in May of 2008. Since their arrival, the family has integrated into the Norwegian community. The family’s two daughters learned the Norwegian language and continue their education with positive results. However, the family’s asylum request was rejected by the Norwegian Foreign Directorate (UDI), when the Appeal Board (UNE) rejected their claims and in December of 2011, they lost in front of the Court of Appeal.
At the end of June of this year, Norwegian police arrested their 21-year old son and deported him from Norway to Russia. So far, the Markiyev family has no information about his fate. Ten days later, on July 2, 2012, Norwegian police came to the family’s home in Melbu at about 6:00am. They gave the family just 30 minutes to prepare their clothes and leave. At roughly 6:30am, they were taken from the house and at about 10:30am they were at the airport. The police gave them plane tickets and said that some officials would meet with them at the Oslo airport. When the family arrived in Oslo, no one was waiting for them. After 3 hours of waiting, the family decided to leave the airport. In the city center of Oslo, a Chechen woman who had been granted asylum in Norway gave them shelter and helped to prevent the family from becoming homeless. They have a huge fear of being deported to Russia or the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
The family’s eldest daughter, 17-year old Bella Markhiyeva agreed to meet with Norwegian journalists. She explained that her 16-year old sister Angela is afraid to leave the house where they are staying because she does not want to risk being arrested by Norwegian police.
“Going back to Russia or the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is very dangerous for us. We survived the war, we were afraid for our lives every moment. My siblings and I had no childhood. When we tried to sleep, we heard bombs. I remember many bad things from my childhood, but it’s hard to speak about it. During the war, everyday and every night, I was praying and dreaming of living in a country where there is democracy, and where we will never be afraid of being killed. Finally, we found the land of my dreams, but now you want us to go back to those horrible days. Some people think that we are lying about the situation in our homeland, some says that we may stay in our homeland without problems, but if it is like this, why did we come to Norway?” said Bella.
While the Norwegian government finds no threats in sending these people back, the political advisor of Amnesty International, Patricia Kaatee has a different opinion. She understands well that the family fears for their lives if they are sent back to Russia or the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.
“It’s a territory where a high degree of lawlessness still exists, where human rights defenders and journalists are exposed to various forms of harassment and persecution at the hands of the Russian government and their local authorities,” said Mrs. Kaatee.
She explains that anyone can be suspected of working against the pro-Moscow regime in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. There is also no record of the fates of voluntary returnees or deported Chechen asylum seekers.
She also criticized the Norwegian government about deporting Chechen asylum seekers to Russia’s other regions with the belief that Chechens will have a better life in those places. “The government finds it dangerous to send Chechen asylum seekers back to the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, and deports them to Russia’s other regions. In our opinion, it is not an acceptable solution and it is not safe for them,” said Mrs. Kaatee.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco