Refugee on Hunger Strike - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Refugee on Hunger Strike

Published April 1, 2009

An asylum seeker from the Balkans has begun a hunger strike in response to what he says is unfair treatment from Icelandic immigration authorities.

Fleeing threats for his life in his home country, he and his wife have been living in Njarðvík with 25 other refugees for the past nine months now. The man told journalist Vilhelm Villhelmsson, “We are discriminated by authorities. They keep asylum seekers here, even for four years. After months or years of waiting, they try to send you back. In every case, they break the rules after three months. If they want to send some people back, why not do it within three months? That would be according to rules, I think. How can they keep me nine months and still say: your case has not yet been opened here? This is very strange. There are around 25 asylum seekers waiting here. You see: we are few and we need to wait for answers for years. In other European countries, 25 asylum seekers’ cases could be processed in a day. I hope, for other asylum seekers, that authorities will think without the need of a hunger strike.”

The entire interview, in both Icelandic and English, can be read here. A mere summary from me would not do it justice – I strongly recommend you read it for yourself.

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