From Iceland — Akureyri To Be First Town To Accept Syrian Refugees

Akureyri To Be First Town To Accept Syrian Refugees

Published September 21, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Paul Fontaine

The Icelandic government has informed the UN that Akureyri will be the first municipality to accept the first round of Syrian refugees.

RÚV reports that the Icelandic government has sent a communique to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) letting them know that the country is ready to accept refugees from war-torn areas. Akureyri will be the first Icelandic municipality to accept the first round of Syrian refugees to Iceland.

Stefán Þór Björnsson, the chairperson of the Ministry of Welfare’s Refugee Committee, told reporters that a special video is being made in cooperation with the Icelandic Red Cross that will introduce Iceland to prospective refugees, detailing the advantages and disadvantages of living in Iceland.

Iceland will be prioritising which Syrian refugees are brought into the country. Preference will be given to those in especially vulnerable positions, such as the infirmed, single mothers and children, and homosexuals. Stefán says about 100 Syrian refugees from refugee camps in Lebanon will be brought to the country this December.

Last month, Akureyri expressed a willingness to accept more asylum seekers. Akureyri accepted 24 asylum seekers from the former Yugoslav Republic in 2003, and town councilperson Guðmundur Baldvin Guðmundsson says all the families who came still live in Akureyri and have integrated well.

“The way we see it, if everyone shoulders this social responsibility, it’s possible we could solve this problem,” he said.


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