Published November 29, 2016
A few more Syrian refugees will be coming to Iceland next January, and will live in three different municipalities.
“A group of over 40 people has been chosen,” Red Cross in Iceland managing director Kristín S. Hjálmtýrsdóttir told Vísir. “A class was held last week in Beirut, Lebanon which went over what it’s like to live in Iceland and what awaits them there. A lot of questions were asked, and there is a lot of anticipation within the group.”
All of these refugees are Syrians fleeing the civil war raging in their home country, and have been living in Lebanese refugee camps for about three years.
Since the practice of inviting refugees to Iceland first began in 1956, and leading up to the arrival of Syrian refugees last January, Iceland has accepted a grand total of 584 refugees.
The largest single arrival of refugees was 75 people, all of them from Kosovo, in 1999. The smallest group to be invited to Iceland in a single year was comprised of 5 people in 2014, who hailed from Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Uganda and Syria. 13 refugees, from Syria, were brought to Iceland last year.
Comparing Iceland’s total number of refugees with that of other Nordic countries reveals some distinct differences. According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are some 17,785 refugees in Denmark, 142,207 in Sweden and 47,043 in Norway.
Even by very conservative estimates of presuming that all 584 of Iceland’s total refugees invited still live in Iceland, this is still only 0.18% of the total population. By contrast, refugees comprise 0.32% of the population of Denmark, 1.48% of the population of Sweden, and 0.93% of the population of Norway.