While there is cause for celebration that former refugee Medhi Kavyanpoor received citizenship, there are still many others waiting for years for an answer from the Icelandic government.
As reported, after waiting over seven years and threatening to set himself on fire at the offices of the Red Cross last spring, Iranian Medhi Kavyanpoor was last week granted citizenship by the Icelandic parliament.
Toshiki Toma, the national church’s priest for Iceland’s immigrants, wrote a column in Fréttablaðið in which he points out that there are still many other refugees who have been here for years – in at least one case, a decade – waiting for any conclusive answer from the Icelandic government on their case.
A young man that I know sought asylum in Iceland ten years ago, but still has not received a regular residence permit, although he still lives in Iceland. His case was rejected, but at the same time, the Ministry of the Interior cannot deport him, due to extenuating circumstances. So he lives in Iceland under a continuously renewed, limited residence permit and has never been a regular member of society.
The conclusion of Medhi’s case is good. But one of the reasons for this was it received a great deal of attention in the media, such as his hunger strike and his protest at the offices of the Red Cross, garnering a lot of support from the public.
The aforementioned refugee asked me, “Do I have to set myself fire before my case gets some attention?” He is afraid that he will be forgotten. But a protest such as attempting suicide or to hurt oneself should not be a pre-condition, of course, of receiving asylum without delay.