Icelanders have voiced their opposition to the impending deportations of three asylum seekers who have made lives from themselves in Iceland.
Stundin reports that Christian Kwaku Boadi, an asylum seeker from Ghana, is one of three asylum seekers in Iceland who, despite both having valid work and residence permits, will be deported tonight. His employer has come forward to speak in his defense.
“Christian has been working for me since last August and has done an excellent job,” Jón Tryggvi Jónsson, who owns the restaurant Lækjarbrekka, told reporters. “So it is deeply saddening to know he will be arrested tonight and sent to Italy.”
Christian told reporters that he has nothing in Italy – no friends, no work, and no place to live – but has built a life for himself in Iceland.
“I have waited many years for a response [to my asylum application] and in that time, I have tried to integrate into life in Iceland today,” he said. “Today, I have a good job, I’m trying to learn Icelandic, and have plenty of friends whom I love.”
Vísir reports that the National Queer Organisation has issued a statement condemning the deportations of Martin Omolu and Amír Shókrgózar, the former of whom faces persecution for his homosexuality in his home country, Nigeria, while Amír has worked tirelessly within the Natioanl Queer Organisation since shortly after he arrived.
“The Directorate of Immigration denied both of them substantial review of their cases on the grounds that they were already granted asylum in Italy,” a statement from the organisation reads in part. “Nothing waits for them in Italy, neither work nor shelter nor a social safety net, and in their home countries their lives are directly threatened. It must also be pointed out that in Italy, homosexuals still experience a high level of prejudice, even attacks, due to their orientation, and this is exacerbated by them being refugees.”
Despite the decision of the Directorate to deport the three back to Italy, Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal told parliament last September that that Greece, Italy and Hungary are “not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.
While lawyers for the asylum seekers are still working on their respective cases, for now their deportations are slated to go forward.
UPDATE: MBL reports that the deportations of Christian Boadi and Martin Omulu have been temporarily delayed. Their lawyer is requesting their cases be substantially reviewed. The matter is still pending; Grapevine will provide updates as they arise.