Published June 20, 2018
Iceland’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee will soon meet to discuss how to respond to US policy on the treatment of asylum seekers at their border. Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson told reporters that the government’s position on the matter is clear.
As reported, Icelanders are already preparing to lead a candlelight procession to the US embassy in Reykjavík tomorrow afternoon, in protest against the country’s treatment of asylum seekers; namely, the arrest of asylum seekers, the separation of children from them, and their detention.
Fréttablaðið now reports that the Icelandic government is willing to take action on the matter.
“Going by the news that I’ve seen, [US policy] is not in accordance with our values that the rights of children should always come first,” Guðlaugur told reporters. “We’re not alone in that opinion. All living First Ladies have criticised this, for example. It is quite clear what the position of the Icelandic government is and we will make it known. I want to believe that this can be resolved.”
Other members of the Icelandic Parliament, such as Social Democrat Logi Már Einarsson and Leftist-Green Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir, have also criticised US policy as a clear violation of human rights, taking special issue with US President Donald Trump using children as a bargaining chip for the building of a wall on the Mexican border with the US.
“The procession is not just a protest against the inhumane US policy towards refugees from South America,” the mission statement of tomorrow’s protest reads in part. “The procession also demands a human policy in both the United States and Europe. In Italy, rescue ships have been forbidden from coming into harbours; in Greece, refugee camps are fenced in. This is an international problem that we, as a Schengen country, need to shoulder responsibility for. One reason why we march now is the US treatment towards parents and children. We march for a more humane world. A world where ships are not turned away from ports and where children are not locked in cages.”