From Iceland — Iceland's Treatment Of Asylum Seekers Breaks International Treaty

Iceland’s Treatment Of Asylum Seekers Breaks International Treaty

Published May 9, 2011

The Icelandic government is ill-prepared to process claims from asylum seekers, despite the fact that Iceland is a signatory to an international agreement requiring a swift treatment for refugees.
As the Grapevine reported, Iranian asylum seeker Medhi Kavyanpor – who has been waiting about seven years for any kind of answer from the Icelandic government – walked into the offices of the Red Cross last Friday and doused himself in gasoline, threatening suicide if he did not receive an answer from Icelandic authorities over his case.
While Kavyanpor is currently in a secure ward at a psychiatric facility, where his mental competence is being reviewed, RÚV reports that legal experts they spoke with say that many asylum seekers have been made to wait in a state of legal limbo for an answer from authorities.
Part of the reason for this, they say, is that there is only one lawyer at the Ministry of the Interior who handles asylum seeker applications, and only three at the Directorate of Immigration, who all nonetheless have other duties to attend to.
However, Iceland is also signatory to the Dublin Regulation II, Article 19 of which, as the Grapevine reported, specifically requires that either deportation occur “at the latest within six months” or that the application process for asylum be completed within “a maximum of one year”.
Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has said that Kavyanpor’s case is currently being reviewed by the Directorate of Immigration.

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