The internal flight alternative (IFA) is a limit on refugee status that potentially applies when a claimant’s risk of persecution is confined to a specific area of a country. It permits a state to refuse refugee status to a person who faces persecution or similar serious harms in the area of previous residence, but can presumably live safely somewhere else in the country. For example, a young Afghan who resisted forced recruitment by the Taliban in Kunduz may be referred to Kabul for protection.
This study reviews the law and practice of IFA application in Norway in light of international legal standards prescribed by the 1951 Refugee Convention, relevant UNHCR guidance and international human rights law. It focuses particularly on application of the IFA vis-à-vis two specific groups of refugee claimants with Afghan nationality: families with children and unaccompanied and separated minors (UAMs). It concludes that recent legal amendments, and consequent practice changes, constitute a clear breach of Norway's international commitments.
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