From Iceland — Gov't Yet To Take Refugee Decision, Protesters Call For Action

Gov’t Yet To Take Refugee Decision, Protesters Call For Action

Published September 12, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The government has yet to make a decision on how many Syrian refugees to take, and protesters are meeting in front of parliament today to encourage action.

RÚV reports that government ministers are still in discussions regarding how many Syrian refugees will take. This news comes nearly two weeks after Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson announced that the government would assess the situation and take action quickly.

At the time of this writing, 25 municipalities in Iceland said they are ready to accept refugees, and over 1,000 Icelanders have volunteered to help the Icelandic Red Cross in the effort. A parliamentary proposal has also been submitted calling for 500 Syrian refugees to be brought to Iceland, and the proposal has broad multipartisan support. Despite this, Minister of Welfare Eygló Harðardóttir told Vísir it could take “days or weeks” to make a final decision.

In response to this, a #EuropeSaysWelcome event will be held in front of parliament at 13:00 today, calling upon the government to take action immediately. Over 2,000 Icelanders have said they are going, and that number is climbing. Guest speakers at the event will be Sigríður Víðis Jónsdóttir, a spokesperson for UNICEF and the author of the book Ríkisfang: Ekkert (Nationality: None); Steinunn Arnþrúður Björnsdóttir, a minister of Hallakirkja church in Kópavogur; and Jovana Pavlović, a political science student who came to Iceland in 1999 as a refugee fleeing the Balkans War.

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