US embassy cable - 06OSLO13

CAMEL REARING AS NORWAY'S NEW INTEGRATION TOOL?

Identifier: 06OSLO13
Wikileaks: View 06OSLO13 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Oslo
Created: 2006-01-04 15:48:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREF EAGR PGOV NO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS OSLO 000013 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREF, EAGR, PGOV, NO 
SUBJECT: CAMEL REARING AS NORWAY'S NEW INTEGRATION TOOL? 
 
1.  On January 4, Norway's newspaper readers woke to find a 
story about the local community of Loeten in southeastern 
Norway which has asked for government support to help 
establish a local camel rearing industry.  Loeten has several 
immigrants of East African origin (mostly Somali refugees) 
who are having difficulty integrating into Norwegian society 
and finding work.  According to Wenche Irene Stenseth, 
settlement officer for refugees in Loeten, the point behind 
the project is to create jobs that provide refugees with 
self-respect and pride by focusing on their own knowledge and 
interest.  The Loeten community is asking the central 
government for a grant of about USD 150 thousand (NOK 1 
million) to start an initial production of camel products 
(milk, meat, wool, leather) with 20 imported animals. 
Stenseth points out that camel milk has an especially low 
lactose content and also contains insulin, and she hopes that 
the Loeten idea can generate interest elsewhere in Norway. 
 
2.  The newspapers report that several of the immigrants in 
Loeten are enthusiastic about the idea, despite the raised 
eyebrows of some in the local community, an agricultural area 
with significant dairy and horse farms.  Norway's food and 
animal inspection service (Mattilsynet) is also highly 
skeptical.  Mattilsynet's regional director Eivind Liven 
points out to the press that the importation of exotic 
animals is forbidden in Norway, and that Mattilsynet would 
need to see a very special requirement before it would allow 
an exception to the rule, and allow camels to be imported to 
Norway as domestic animals. 
 
3.  Comment:  While the fun factor of the Loeten community's 
initiative is high, it does underline just how difficult 
Norway finds it to integrate asylum seekers and refugees into 
Norwegian society.  Norway is extremely homogenous, and the 
government's nationwide resettlement distribution policy 
means that many immigrants find themselves stuck in small 
communities with no reasonable prospects for integration into 
tightly knit, closed societies.  Loeten's out of the box 
thinking may come to nothing, but this small community is at 
least seeking a creative solution to integration at the local 
level, even as the Norwegian government struggles to come to 
terms with the challenges posed by integration nationally. 
 
Visit Oslo's Classified website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/oslo/index.cf m 
 
WEBSTER 
 
 
NNNN 

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