"Icelandic Refugees" Mystery To Foreign Ministry - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Icelandic Refugees” Mystery To Foreign Ministry

Published March 1, 2016

Photos by
Natsha Nandabhiwat

UN data shows five Icelanders are considered asylum seekers or refugees, but the Foreign Ministry does not know who they are, nor in what countries they have sought refuge.

If one pays a visit to Iceland’s profile on the home page of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), one can see that under the category of “Originating from Iceland”, one refugee and four asylum seekers are counted. However, next to nothing is known about these individuals.

Kjarninn reached out to Icelandic government officials for more information on the matter. Urður Gunnarsdóttir, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that they did not know who the individuals in question were. In fact, they had requested information from the UNHCR about them, and have yet to receive a response.

Reporters also got in touch with officials from the Ministry of the Interior, the police, and the Directorate of Immigration. No one had any information about these five Icelanders.

However, it is unlikely Iceland would be granted much information about them, even if they wanted it. By international law, when a refugee flees a country or someone seeks asylum from a particular country, that country in question is not permitted to have access to information about these people.

Kjarninn sent a request to the UNHCR for more details on these five Icelanders, which has not been replied to at the time of this writing.


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