From Iceland — Interior Minister Will Re-Examine Deportation Case

Interior Minister Will Re-Examine Deportation Case

Published October 4, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Julia Staples

Two asylum seekers face deportation to Italy, although the EU is trying to get refugees out of the country, the Red Cross has advised against deportations to Italy, and Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal recently told parliament the country was amongst those considered “unsafe” for asylum seekers and refugees. The Minister said she will re-examine the cases this weekend.

Nigerian Martin Omulu and Ghanaian Christian Kwaku Boadi have both waited over three years for any conclusion of their applications, despite the fact that Article 19 of Dublin Regulation II requires that either deportation occur “at the latest within six months” of an application submission or that the application process for asylum be completed within “a maximum of one year.” Martin faces persecution and possibly death in his home country, on account of being gay, while Christian – whose father was murdered – is afraid a similar fate awaits him back home.

Despite all this, last Friday the Supreme Court ruled that the two are to be deported to Italy, in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, which allows countries to deport asylum seekers to their previous point of departure. Vísir reports that the matter has sparked intense criticism.

Opposition party members of the Parliamentary General Committee have turned to Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who has the final say in the matter. They cite the fact that on September 17, the Minister told members of parliament that Greece, Italy and Hungary are “not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.

Ólöf is not alone in this opinion. Many human rights groups who work closely with refugees and asylum seekers, from Amnesty International to the Icelandic Red Cross, have criticised the deplorable conditions refugees in Italy live in. In fact, EU leaders are currently looking for ways to get refugees out of Italy.

In response, Ólöf said she will re-examine the cases in question over the weekend. A decision from the minister can be expected as soon as tomorrow.

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