A lawyer for the Red Cross has harshly criticised the deportation of an Iraqi youth as being harsh and unnecessary.
“This is a really good example of when the Dublin Regulation is applied in the merciless way that is actually done,” Red Cross lawyer Gunnar Dofri Ólafsson told RÚV, referring to yesterday’s deportation of an Iraqi youth back to Norway, where he had previous sought asylum.
“The numbers show that Norwegians do not hesitate to send people from Norway to southern Iraq,” he said. “And they have a very strict policy, for example on social media, where they are actively discouraging people from seeking asylum in Norway.”
Gunnar points out that not only are signatory nations not obliged to deport people based on the Dublin Regulation; governments may also examine the merits of someone’s asylum application in Iceland, even if they did apply for asylum elsewhere.
As reported, Toshiki Toma, the Lutheran church’s minister for immigrants, and Kristín Þórunn Tómasdóttir, the parish priest for Laugarneskirkja church, opened the church Sunday evening to asylum seekers facing deportation. This was done with the approval of the Bishop of Iceland, in the hopes that the police would respect the long-standing tradition of church sanctuary.
This, however, would not be the case.
Both police and officials from the Directorate of Immigration arrived at about 4:00. Ali Nasir og Majed, two asylum seekers from Iraq, stood behind the church altar but were soon dragged away from the scene by police. When the police began to handcuff Ali, a friend of his stepped forward and pointed out that Ali is only 16 years old. In response, one of the officers struck him in the face, as you can see in the video below. Ali was then taken down the church stairs to a waiting squad car, where he burst into tears.
The two are to be deported to Norway, and from there, they will in all likelihood be sent back to Iraq. As difficult as it may be to believe, Norwegian authorities regularly deport Iraqi asylum seekers, despite the obvious level of danger and violence in that country, if the asylum seekers hail from southern Iraq, as this region is considered “safe”.
The Dublin Regulation gives signatory nations the authority – although not the obligation – to deport asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. Iceland regularly invokes the regulation, more often than not without examining the merits of an asylum seeker’s case.
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