Trust and credibility: a study of Norwegian asylum practice in sexual orientation claims
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This thesis looks at the Norwegian asylum process in cases where the claimant's sexual orientation is their grounds for seeking asylum. Semi- structured interviews with gay asylum seekers, asylum caseworkers, lawyers and other advisors were used to acquire the necessary empirical data. Symbolic interactionist theory and theories on trust are used as a framework for the study, which suggests that establishing trust in the interview is essential to enable the asylum seeker to share their story. I argue that ensuring that all the relevant information is shared in the initial interview is essential for an accurate assessment of the claimant's credibility. I then identify three factors that influence an asylum seeker's trust in the asylum interview; the reception camps, the interpreter used in the interview and the support and information that is available to the asylum seeker during the asylum process. Finally I conclude that while there are several good practices in place in the Norwegian asylum process, there is still room for improvement. There are factors present that influence an asylum seeker's trust and behaviour in the interview room, that should have no such influence. There is a risk that these influences could have a significant impact on the result of the asylum case. I argue that steps should be taken to minimise such risks.