Published August 30, 2017
A statement from No Borders Iceland outlines a case of an asylum seeker family, and a decision from immigration authorities that defies several international agreements to which Iceland is a signatory country, as well as a parliamentary measure that directly pertains to their case.
The 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.
Asylum seeker advocacy group 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. A petition calling upon authorities to grant this family asylum received about 15,000 signatures from Icelanders across the country.
In addition, in 2007 the Icelandic parliament overwhelmingly approved a parliamentary measure to adopt the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, ratified in Warsaw in 2005.
Despite this, immigration authorities have ruled that the family do not qualify for asylum in Iceland. Barring a reversal of this decision, they will be deported any day now.