A Syrian family seeking asylum and facing imminent deportation have been granted a temporary stay while their case is assessed.
RÚV reports that the family will be allowed to stay in Iceland for another two to three months while the Immigration Appeals Board reviews their case and comes to a definitive decision. The lawyer for the family hopes they will be granted residence permits for humanitarian reasons.
Wael Aliyadah and Feryal Aldahash came to Iceland three months ago with their two young daughters, Jouli and Jana, but were denied asylum in Iceland before the weekend. The stated reason from the Directorate of Immigration is that the family has already been granted asylum in Greece.
However, Wael told reporters it was never their intention to stay in Greece, where their lives would consist mostly of living on the streets. Indeed, even Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal – whose jurisdiction includes the Directorate of Immigration – told parliament last month that Greece is amongst the countries considered “unsafe” for refugees to be sent.
Lawyer Ragnar Aðalsteinsson told reporters that while the Directorate’s decision was technically correct, “we cannot forget that the government has a policy of not sending people to Greece.” He added that the Directorate could have very well granted asylum to the family for humanitarian reasons.
Iceland has recently made international headlines for its grassroots movement to accept Syrian refugees, although the government is still undecided as to how many Syrian refugees will eventually be welcomed.