Published September 1, 2017
Ramazan Fayazi, 18 years old, has been living in Iceland since last January. He came here seeking asylum from his native Afghanistan, where he faced concerted persecution on account of being Hazara, an ethnic minority in the country who are considered one of the most persecuted groups in the world.
Ramazan’s father was killed, and he was abandoned by his mother when he was only seven years old. He stayed with an abusive cousin for some time, in a region frequently attacked by raiders and bandits. After several people he knew were killed, he opted to flee for his life. His journey would take him through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Slovenia, Austria, and Germany, before finally reaching Sweden when he was 17 years old.
Sweden, in an agreement with the EU, deports refugees from Afghanistan by default. As he has no one left in the Afghanistan, he made the decision to come to Iceland. Unfortunately, he has received his third negative response from immigration authorities and was informed he will soon be deported to Sweden, who will in all certainty send him to Afghanistan. Even his lawyer has abandoned his case. As many readers are also aware, US President Donald Trump recently announced he would be increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, making it even more dangerous for Ramazan to be sent there.
With no hope left, he decided to go on a hunger strike last Tuesday.
The case is particularly strange in light of the fact that Iceland has granted asylum to Hazara people before, as was the case of Torpikey Farrash and Maryam Raísi, who also came to Iceland from Sweden after Swedish authorities threatened to deport them back to Afghanistan.
“I want the Icelandic people to know that I am very scared,” Ramazan told Grapevine. “I want to stay in Iceland, and I hope the Icelandic people will encourage the authorities to change their decision. I have nothing in Afghanistan. If I go there, I will die.”