500 Refugees To Iceland Likely - The Reykjavik Grapevine

500 Refugees To Iceland Likely

Published September 10, 2015

Photos by
GAS

A proposal to accept 500 Syrian refugees has been submitted to parliament, and has considerable multipartisan support.

Kjarninn reports that 22 MPs from Iceland’s opposition parties have submitted a parliamentary proposal that the government take in 500 Syrian refugees over the next two years. The original proposal from the ruling coalition called for 50 refugees over two years.

Although the proposal comes from the opposition, Independence Party MP Elín Hirst has gone on record saying that “ten times more” asylum seekers than was originally proposed would be “close to acceptable.”

As reported, public support has been quickly growing to accept more asylum seekers to Iceland. Minister of Welfare Eygló Harðardóttir, upon whom the situation ultimately rests, told Vísir that she does not want to set a “maximum number” of refugees that Iceland could accept. Responding to the outcry from the general public, she said, “I encourage people to get in touch with the ministry and the Red Cross and ask how they can help. People need jobs, shelter, and clothes, for example, and to learn how the banking system works. … I encourage people to get in touch with us and offer their help, because we can do a lot more.”

This led to a public outpouring of support, especially evident in the creation of a Facebook group called “Dear Eylgó Harðar”. Already, over 10,000 people have Liked the page, with many Icelanders publicly offering clothing, food, work and even places to live for the asylum seekers Iceland welcomes, however many they may be.

At the same time, refugee rights group No More Deportations believes the government should go much further.

Some 1,100 Icelanders have signed up to do volunteer work for the Red Cross to help with the arrival. The movement has broad public support, as about 90% of Icelanders say they would welcome more refugees.

Related:

Anti-Refugee Folks: No Thanks, We Don’t Need Your “Warnings”


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