Speech/statement | Date: 07/03/2022 | Ministry of Justice and Public Security
By Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl (March 4, 2022)
(Must be compared with speech delivered)
Millions of people have escaped from their lives and homes in Ukraine. The war is becoming bloodier every day; families have been torn asunder, and terrible images of fleeing mothers and frightened children are making a strong impression on us all. The Ukrainian people are experiencing enormous despair.
Together with other European countries, Norway wants to be a safe harbour for the people of Ukraine. We will be there for those who need protection, help, and care.
During the past week, I have attended several meetings with the other ministers of justice in Europe, including as recently as yesterday, to work together to find a good joint solution for the Ukrainian refugees – as quickly as possible.
We have now taken an important step in this direction. I would also like to be clear that there will be challenges and questions going ahead which the Norwegian Government will address on an ongoing basis.
The Norwegian Government is now offering temporary collective protection. This scheme offers protection to large numbers of people during situations of mass displacement, such as the current one.
Temporary collective protection was used in Norway during the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, when thousands of refugees were brought here.
In light of current developments, this is an effective scheme – both for the people who arrive and those who will be receiving them.
Large numbers of people arriving within a short period of time will create taxing situations for all parties involved. Norway has sound procedures for this and a good reception system that has been used during past refugee crises. We are preparing for an increase in the number of people fleeing Ukraine for Norway.
The Norwegian Government has tasked the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration with establishing more places in reception centres. We are making arrangements to handle a large increase in arrivals.
We know that there is a huge refugee flow – but we do not know yet how many people will come to Norway. The situation is unclear and changing rapidly. We need to be prepared for the arrival of many people.
Ukraine’s neighbouring countries have already received hundreds of thousands of refugees, and are making a huge contribution. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for their efforts. Norway has provided assistance to the neighbouring countries and will contribute to efforts there as well. We will continue talking to the European countries about helping to collect refugees where this is needed most.
I will present the financial consequences of these measures to the Norwegian Parliament as soon as possible.
I am pleased that Norway can now help people suffering displacement as quickly as possible. This will not be easy. Primarily, of course, for the people who have had to flee their homes. But it will also require a great deal of Norway and all other countries in Europe.
I would like to thank all the people who are working to ensure that the Norwegian reception system can welcome people fleeing from the war in Ukraine.
I would also ask that we all offer our warmth, care, and compassion.