In the opening of Progress Party (FrP) municipal election campaign in Ålesund, party leader and Finance Minister Siv Jensen asked the municipalities to ignore the agreement which the majority of parliamentary parties agreed in June – to accept 8,000 quota refugees from Syria.
– The more municipalities say no, the more chance there is for not implementing the agreement, said Jensen.
According to Aftenposten’s report, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Egeland finds Jensen’s statements extremely populist and he hopes that one of Europe’s most wealthy nations does not refuse to provide protection.
He also said that the refugee crisis in Syria is a kind of test for Siv Jensen and other politicians in both Norway and the world.
– This is the biggest political challenge in her life as a politician. Never before have so many people have been displaced from their homes. Never before in his political life, she had to face a big challenge in terms of human lives at stake, he says to Aftenposten.
Egeland notes genocide against Bosnians and in Kosovo can be compared with the current refugee challenge and that time all had agreed to accept 16,000 refugees. Since then, he believes that “municipalities have become richer.”
– Now we have problems in accepting a lower number in a region that cries out for international solidarity, he said.
He hopes municipalities will not follow Jensen’s call for boycott.
– We have freedom of speech, and she (Siv Jensen) can say what she wants. But I will be sad to hear that municipalities will boycott to accept women and children displaced by war, he said.
Jan Egeland is a Norwegian politician, formerly of the Labour party. He has been the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council since August 2013. He was previously the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch and the Director of Human Rights Watch Europe. Egeland formerly served as director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs and Under-Secretary-General of the UN.
Egeland was the United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator from June 2003 to December 2006. Egeland was appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan and succeeded Kenzo Oshima. He traveled extensively, drawing attention to humanitarian emergencies.
Egeland was also Secretary General of the Norwegian Red Cross. He served as State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990–1997) and was Chair of Amnesty International Norway.
In 2012, the Norwegian group Ylvis produced a parody/tribute rock song about Jan Egeland, hailing him as “the United Nations superhero man” and “a peacekeeping machine.” Egeland’s response, in an e-mail to NPR, was “I think it is hilarious with its crazy text and great tune.” As of 7 April 2015, the video has been viewed more than 12 million times, largely due to Ylvis’ internet sensation “The Fox”.