Children of Norwegian IS supporters can return with parents' consent: PM
24 Apr 2019, 21:30 ( 1 Month ago)
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg is now open to bringing home children of Norwegian supporters of the militant group Islamic State (IS) if their parents give consent, newspaper Aftenposten reported Wednesday.
However, the mothers of children will not be allowed to enter Norway and the government is also working on limiting the possibilities for family reunification, the report said.
"We are now looking for the ways of keeping parents out of the possibility of family reunification. Foreign warriors with a background from other countries constitute a security risk for Norwegian society," Solberg was quoted as saying.
"We focus on orphans. Should we bring out other children, the parents should give consent," she said.
The prime minister also emphasized that it is still very difficult to reach the children and establish their identity.
UNICEF Norway has said no child should be torn away from their parents, because it often violates the best interests of the child.
"These kids already have serious trauma from before and getting separated from their mother will further traumatize them. The children now need protection, security and vital medical help," Camilla Viken, Secretary General of UNICEF Norway, told Aftenposten.
According to Norwegian security services, around 40 Norwegian children were born or taken to live inside the so-called IS in Syria and Iraq. The fate of the children, almost all who were born in IS territory, is unclear.
Norwegian foreign minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said last month that all Norwegian citizens have a right to travel into Norway. However, anyone who set off to fight for IS faces prosecution in Norway, meaning they're likely to be arrested at the border.
She also said Norwegian citizens who traveled to the Middle East to fight for or support the IS can't expect to be brought home again at taxpayer expense. They'll have to seek consular assistance themselves from where they are.