Ramazan Fayazi, a young Hazara man who sought asylum in Iceland from Afghanistan, was last week granted a four-year residence permit.
Grapevine learned of the news from Ramazan, who told us he was informed of the Directorate of Immigration’s decision when he visited their offices last Thursday.
“I was very happy,” Ramazan told us. “I feel more safe and comfortable to be able to stay in Iceland, and also to have a good future. I think that everything is getting better now.”
Ramazan is currently studying Icelandic at the Technical College of Reykjavík, and hopes to become a car mechanic when his Icelandic becomes fluent enough. He describes his Icelandic as “good and getting better”, having been studying and having conversations in Icelandic as often as he can.
“I’m grateful for the people who helped me,” he told Grapevine. “Icelandic people are very kind and good people.”
Ramazan’s father was killed when he was very young, 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. Sadly, he received a series of asylum application denials, receiving his third negative response from immigration authorities last September.
He was informed at that time that he would soon be deported to Sweden, where he would in all certainty be sent to Afghanistan. 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 went on a hunger strike shortly after receiving his deportation notice, eventually requiring hospitalisation, but kept fighting to stay in Iceland. With his new residence permit, however, Ramazan is hopeful he can build a new and happier life for himself.