From Iceland — Amnesty International Urges Justice Minister to Reconsider Refugee Position

Amnesty International Urges Justice Minister to Reconsider Refugee Position

Published April 3, 2009

The Icelandic chapter of Amnesty International has urge the Minister of
Justice to reconsider Iceland’s position in sending refugees to Greece.
Amnesty International gave Minister of Justice Ragna Árnadóttir a letter asking her to reconsider the case of five refugees here in Iceland, who might find themselves sent to Greece.
“It is very troubling that the Icelandic government continues to take even fewer refugee applications into serious consideration,” reads the letter in part “and instead sends these people to third-party countries. Many international organizations are against the sending of refugees to Greece, among them the UN Refugee Office, Amnesty International and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.”
The Icelandic government, in sending refugees to Greece, is invoking the Dublin Accord – that refugees can be sent back to the location where
their previous visa was issued – as a reason for rejecting the vast
majority of refugees and simply sending them back to their last point
of departure before arriving in Iceland.
The five refugees in question come from Albania, Afghanistan and Iraq. Many refugees fleeing the Middle East will often first enter Greece before seeking asylum elsewhere. As there are no direct flights to Iceland from Afghanistan, Iraq or Albania, the Icelandic government often does cite the Dublin Accord and turns asylum seekers away.
The most famous example would be the case of Paul Ramses, a Kenyan who
sought asylum in Iceland but was sent to Italy, as that was the country
of origin of his last visa. The deportation gained national attention,
as he was separated from his wife and infant child still in Iceland.
The Ministry of Justice reviewed the case at the behest of a national
outcry, and he was brought back to Iceland.
The minister has said she is reviewing the matter.

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