From Iceland — Refugees & Asylum Seekers To March On Parliament Tomorrow

Refugees & Asylum Seekers To March On Parliament Tomorrow

Published December 2, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Refugees and asylum seekers alike will converge on Parliament tomorrow afternoon to convey three demands: the right to work, the right to have their cases examined, and the closing of the Directorate of Immigration (UTL).

No Borders in Iceland announced the event in a statement to the press. The general public is invited to attend as Iceland’s asylum seekers meet at the Hlemmur bus terminal at 13:30. From there, they will march down Laugavegur to Parliament, in what is to be the largest refugee-led demonstration in Icelandic history.

The grievances they have put forward are well-known. Nearly every asylum seeker The Grapevine has spoken to has expressed the desire and willingness to work, but Icelandic law forbids them from doing so. Instead, they are housed at locations run by the state, and given a weekly allowance of 10,700 ISK per week – barely enough to cover food, transportation and other daily expenses.

Moreover, a great many of these asylum seeker cases will never be examined by UTL; instead, these asylum seekers will be made to wait up to a year or more before being deported without their cases being heard.

Further, No Borders argues that UTL is not even necessary for implementing existing immigration policy.

“UTL, as most Icelanders know by now, suffers from institutionalised immorality,” their statement reads in part. “Operating like an office in a Kafka novel, or dystopian science fiction, it is clearly unfit for [the] purpose. Moreover, it provides no useful function other than to refer paperwork to other relevant offices, e.g. Þjóðskrá, Vinnumálastofnun, Lögreglan, Rauði Krossinn. We propose that the government saves taxpayers money and morality by cutting out the UTL as the middleman, closing the institution for good.”

Those interested in attending the event can arrive at Hlemmur at 13:30 tomorrow, or check out the event page on Facebook for more information.

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