Published August 17, 2017
Two families from different corners of the globe face impending deportation, but thousands of Icelanders have signed a statement pleading with authorities to re-consider their decision.
In a statement to the press, the asylum seeker rights group Solaris outlined the facts of these cases.
The first concerns Abrahim Maleki and his 11-year-old daughter Haniye. Abrahim has been on the run from Afghanistan for the past 20 years now, and Haniye was born a refugee with no legal national status. They face persecution and almost certain death in their native country. Despite the fact that the Immigration Appeals Board ruled that the father and daughter are in a precarious position, the Directorate of Immigration (UTL) has nonetheless ruled to deport them.
The second case concerns Joy, Mary and Sunday, asylum seekers from Nigeria. Mary is eight years old, and currently attending school for the first time in her life. Mary, her mother, is a survivor of human trafficking who managed to escape her situation and Sunday, Mary’s father, has fled armed conflict in his home country. During their flight, they have dealt with threats and persecution, and for a time lived on the streets of Italy, begging for food. While immigration authorities determined they were in too precarious a position to be sent back to Italy, they nonetheless came to the conclusion that they did not qualify for asylum. They now face deportation to Nigeria, a country where Mary has never lived.
Solaris points out that Iceland has encoded in its laws the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Refugee Convention, all of which directly or indirectly prohibit deportations of this nature. As such, Solaris has called upon the Ministry of Justice – which oversees UTL – to reverse the deportation decisions.
15,000 Icelanders signed a petition to this effect, which was submitted to the Ministry yesterday. How the Ministry or UTL will respond remains to be seen.