Icelandic Gov't Should Consider Dropping Dublin Regulation - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Gov’t Should Consider Dropping Dublin Regulation

Published September 18, 2015

Photos by
Art Bicnick

The Icelandic Red Cross says the government ought to consider dropping the controversial Dublin Regulation, especially concerning Syrian refugees.

The Dublin Regulation is an international agreement which gives signatory states the right – although not the obligation – to return asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. As there are typically no direct flights from war-torn parts of the world to Iceland, the vast majority of asylum seekers to Iceland are summarily deported back to the previous European country they came from.

The law is a controversial one, as it has created bottlenecks at asylum seeker entry points across Europe. Most recently, Germany opted to stop using the regulation against Syrian refugees. Director of Humanitarian Operations at the Icelandic Red Cross Þórir Guðmundsson agrees, Vísir reports.

Þórir points out that so-called “quota refugees” are brought to Iceland with open arms, but if asylum seekers of the same background as said refugees come to Iceland themselves, they are more often than not arrested upon arrival if they have invalid identification (in contravention of international law, which forbids the practice) and deported soon thereafter.

“If the idea is to welcome Syrians and others fleeing wars going on back home, then this is one way to let them stay – to stop applying this regulation,” he told reporters.

Left-Green MP Steinunn Þóra Árnadóttir asked Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal in parliament if dropping the regulation was a possibility. The minister replied that the idea was not being considered at this time.

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