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Decentralized reception   grethe Decentralized reception grethe Document Transcript

  • Decentralized RECEPTION CENTER - WHAT IS IT?My name is Grethe Loe. I am leader of SANA Birkeland refugee center- located in Birkeland municipality. SANA is a humanitarian foundation which currently runs three refugee centers.<br />I am going to give some information about the reception operation in Norway in general and will tell a little about reception centers models - advantages and disadvantages. Mostly focusing on the model dominating our reception center.Norway is a member of the UN and a participant of Sheng agreement. This brings obligations for Norway as a nation in various fields. One of the fields is an asylum seeker stream.Over the last few years - about 10.000 asylum seekers have arrived Norway each year. The first reception center in Norway was established in 1988. At present time there are living abouth 16.000 asylum seekers in 120 different reception centers in Norway .The establishment and funding of the reception center in Norway is a govermentel responsibility, instructed by UDI.The operation will be put out to tender, and operators can be local authorities, humanitarian organizations or private actors.Everyone who comes to Norway and apply for asylum are offered to stay in reception centers. It is voluntary, but in order to receive financial assistance from the public, they have to stay in reception centers.For a registrated asylum seeker in Norway the first stop is a transit center - all are located in the Oslo area. During the period at transit-center registration is done, asylum – intervjue done, and health check done. Then the asylum-seeker will be moved out to different regular reception-centers, where they live voluentarly until the asylum - case is decided by the UDI.We have different reception – center - models in this country: centralized, decentralized, reception center of unaccompanied minors and enhanced reception center for people with special needs.The reception center here in Birkeland is a decentralized reception center, and was established in 1999. We have an agreement with UDI of 120 beds. This is a reception center for famylis, as well as many single men above 18 years. We have at present about 13 different nationalities.<br />Our residents are living in different houses and apartments hired by us. This is why our model is called decentralized compared to centralized r.c. consisting of larger buildings where residents/families have their own bedrooms but sharing other facilities.The basis for the operation of the reception center is a comprehensive legislation prepared by the UDI.In broad terms it works like this:<br />UDI determines where a reception center is to be located.The host municipality receives financial support to attend: <br /> education for children adult education ( learning Norwegian)health and child welfareType of work in our r.c. basically consist of two main groups:One is the information giving and cooperation with agencies and authorities in the municipalityThe other is to facilitate / supervise residents so they could have as good life as possible during their stay in reception c. without us taking the responsibility the individual asylum seeker has for his/her situation. This is for us the most important task.Within a few weeks after arrival at the r.c. an individual meeting is taking place. Subject for the meeting is to registrate previous education, work experience, interests. Ask about needs and give information about rights and rules<br />Regarding rights for each individual it depends on the status of asylum case: a person having a Dublin-case is not offered learning Norwegian language and also receives less financial support.<br />Directorate of Immigration says that a reception c. " is supposed to be a place for residents to live as normal life as possible in an abnormal lifesituation. Our reception c. model hope to give people growth opportunities and better coping ability Housing facilities is ment to cover needs for security and is differentiated according to special needs. Directorate of Immigration also states: the staff will primarily act as mentors and facilitators for the residents. When the Foundation SANA decided to submit tenders for the reception operation here in Birkeland, it was obvious that the reception c. had to be decentralized.Through the media we had observed the often negative effects of centralized reception - noise and disagreements were repeated incidents where people live close to each other. I think we all can imagine that living closely with other residents/strangers can be challenging. Psykiatric health problems caused by prior experience and pressure waiting for an answer also effect every -day life more at a centralized r.c.<br />We wanted another living model: possibility for the resident to lock the door and lead a private life.Our r.c. was one of the first decentralized reception centers in the country.After 12 years of operation, we believe clearly that this is the best model. Many of the former centralized centers around Norway, has "converted" to decentralized.First and foremost we think that this is the best model for the individual asylum seeker. They "get" their house / apartment or room - they can close their door and be private when they want. We believe that this has a positive impact on people's mental health.A survey also shows that refugees who have lived in decentralized reception centers need less supervision in the municipality of residence than those who have lived in centralized reception c.. It seems that they get a better life-training in the Norwegian society by living decentralized.We have 26 units ( hired houses and apartments) located in the community. Having the Norwegians as their nearest neighbors, slipping asylum seekers more easily into the local environment and becoming faster inhabitants of Birkeland.This is the living arrangements that seems to be less stigmatizing for the residents and the local population does not feel the reception c and their residents intimidating and / or threatening.A survey also shows that the establishment of decentralized reception centers evokes little resistance in the community.I suppose the immigration and asylum policy is a topic that engages both policy makers and citizens in your home cities and countries.We cannot close our eyes to racism and fear for the unknown. We have to accept that the world has become smaller and that the challenges of the asylum seeker stream will probably not disappear. We all know that million of people seeking a better life. To us every asylum seeker is a person with hope for a better future for him/herself and the children. Everyone of us working at Sana Birkeland has been saying to ourselves: <br />YES, I HAD DONE THE SAME FOR ME AND MY FAMILY.<br />