From Iceland — Asylum Seeker Faces Life Of Slavery

Asylum Seeker Faces Life Of Slavery

Published July 19, 2011

Torture, slavery and possibly execution await an asylum seeker in Iceland who faces deportation. No Borders Reykjavík strongly oppose the decision and call on the Minister of the Interior to step in.
Slavery is a deeply-engrained cultural practice in Mauritania, despite government attempts to abolish it. Mouhamde Lo, a 22-year-old from Mauritania who is seeking political asylum in Iceland, is an escaped slave. Initially, he fled to Norway, but when he was threatened with deportation, he came to Iceland instead.
Despite his home country’s well known and established reputation regarding slavery, the Directorate of Immigration has attempted to send Mouhamde back to Norway, where he faces certain deportation to Mauritania. There, he would likely be tortured and possibly executed for escaping slavery in the first place.
The directorate’s decision is based on the Dublin Regulation, which gives governments the authority to send asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. Iceland has exercised this authority in nearly every instance of political asylum seekers coming to the country.
No Borders points out that his deportation would violate numerous international human rights laws, as well as Icelandic law regarding equal treatment before the law.
Mouhmade has also had little opportunity to inform himself or plead his case. He speaks no English; his native language is Wolof although he does speak some Arabic. Bizarrely, he was not granted an interpreter who spoke either language when he was twice interviewed by the directorate.
No Borders Reykjavík calls upon Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson to step in and prevent the deportation of Mouhamde.

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