Published December 3, 2009
Answering a question in parliament on the matter, Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir said that she doesn’t know what happens to refugees that are sent to Greece – a common point of deportation for Iceland’s rejected asylum seekers. She said that she knows they get off of a plane in Athens, but beyond that, she isn’t aware of what danger they may or may not be brought into.
Icelandic authorities almost always invoke the Dublin Convention when someone seeks asylum in Iceland. The Dublin Convention gives authorities the permission – but not the obligation – to deport asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. This is often done in Iceland without even fully reviewing an asylum seeker’s application and situation.
Since the minister is unaware of what happens to refugees in Greece, the Grapevine has compiled a list of helpful links that, we hope, will paint a clearer picture of why so many Icelanders object to the automatic invokation of the Dublin Convention:
Reykjavík Grapevine: Machine Gun Democracy
EuroObserver: Greece under fire over refugee treatment
New York Times: United Nations Agency Criticizes Treatment of Refugees Seeking Asylum in Greece
Refugee and Migrant Justice: RMJ asks UK to stop removing asylum-seekers to Greece (PDF file)
UN Refugee Agency: Report on the treatment of refugees in Greece
Clandestine English: Tied and beaten: “humanitarian treatment” of refugees by police in Pharmakonisi (Warning: Photos may disturb some readers.)