From Iceland — Asylum Seeker Doesn’t Have A Shoe To His Name

Asylum Seeker Doesn’t Have A Shoe To His Name

Published February 18, 2015

Five asylum seekers, a family, and their support group went to the office of the Reykjanesbær social services last Monday, requesting assistance in getting access to physicians, psychological aid, and clothing.

In a letter sent to the Grapevine, the asylum seekers claim that their demands were met with disdain from two social service workers, that they didn’t get any help, and left on pain of being escorted by the police, despite one asylum seeker not even owning a pair of shoes.

Reaching out to Hera Ósk Einarsdóttir, the deputy head of Reykjanesbær social services, she confirms there was an incident on Monday, but paints a different picture of the events that transpired. She says that the two social service workers tried to explain to the clients what prerequisites they had to meet in order to get the services the municipality offers, and advised them on how to get any additional services, such as clothing from the Red Cross, but that the asylum seekers didn’t seem to understand this. She insists that her people aspire to service their clients with warmth and respect, and that the police are not ever called unless the staff feels endangered.

In the meanwhile, the asylum seekers and their supporters are threatening to go on hunger strike if the situation isn’t remedied, and their legally guaranteed rights respected.

More on this story as it develops.

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