Regina Osarumaese and her two children, one of whom was born in Iceland, were informed just moments ago that their appeal to the Immigration Appeals Board to have asylum in Iceland was rejected. Regina is pregnant with a third child and will require a Cesarean section – something she is not likely to get on the streets of Italy.
Their appeal to the Immigration Appeals Board was denied on the grounds that there was “no evidence showing any changes to the arguments from the original appeal.” However, Gísli Kr. Björnsson, the lawyer for Regina’s family, told the Grapevine that he will file to have the case heard in Reykjavík District Court, as is their right to do within seven days of the Appeals Board’s decision.
Gísli has been the lawyer for Regina’s family since last July, and was prompted to take their case after seeing coverage of it on the news.
“I thought this case was not an example of the direction Europe wanted to go after WW2,” he told us. “Europe seems to be forgetting the destiny of its ancestors.”
In terms of their chances, Gísli believes it’s ultimately up to the courts. However, Regina’s youngest, Felix, was born in Iceland, which may sway the courts in terms of the family’s circumstances.
“I believe we have humanitarian law on our side,” he told us. “But interpretations of those laws vary, so it’s difficult to say.”
(Video: No Borders)
As reported, Regina left her home country of Nigeria when she was only six years old, has been on the run ever since. She arrived in Iceland in 2014 with her son Daniel, who in 2012 was born in Italy, where they used to live on the streets. Her second son, Felix, was born in Iceland in 2014. Despite repeated requests for asylum, she has been rejected by both the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) and the Immigration Appeals Board.
In the meantime, doctors have confirmed that she will need a Cesarean in order to give birth to her new child – a service she is not likely to get on the streets of Italy, where she is due to be deported to, let alone in Nigeria.
Regina’s family was persecuted in Nigeria, necessitating their flight from the country when she was just a small child. Regardless, in documents from UTL and the Immigration Appeals Board, authorities contend that they see no reason why Regina or her children would be in any danger if they were sent back to Nigeria.
“I don’t know anyone in Italy,” she told us. “I have no one in Nigeria anymore. My children and I will be living on the street if we’re sent back there.”
Stranger still is the fact that Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal, who oversees UTL, told parliament in September 2015 that Italy is amongst the European countries that “are not considered secure countries. It would not be safe to send asylum seekers back there”.
Regina says she is already establishing a life for herself here, and her children have started making friends. However, UTL has ruled that neither Regina nor her children have any special ties to Iceland – even though Felix was born here. Despite being 18 weeks pregnant, she is still slated to be put on a plane with her children and sent to Italy, where she says her choices are to live on the street or be sent back to Nigeria, where her life and the lives of her children will be in danger.
“I just want to make a life for my children here,” Regina says. “There is nothing for me in Nigeria.”