A loophole in Icelandic law, that appears to violate international law, enables the Icelandic government to deport an Albanian family, which includes a 14-month-old child born in Iceland.
Fréttablaðið reports on the case of Nazife and Erion, an Albanian couple who first came to Iceland seeking asylum in 2015. At that time, they received work permits and were employed by a hotel in Reykjavík until they were deported. They returned shortly thereafter and applied for a residence permit, and had to furthermore pay 700,000 ISK to the state — the amount they were charged by the government for their own deportation.
Their daughter, Erna Reka, is 14 months old and was born in Iceland. Despite the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which obliges countries to put the best interests of a child ahead of all else, and despite Article 102 of Iceland’s own Law on Foreigners, which forbids deporting a foreigner who was born in Iceland and had continuous residence here, the entire family will be deported.
This is because of a loophole in Icelandic law, whereby the children of asylum seekers are registered in the National Registry in a separate manner from other children. The family believes this is in violation of Article 2 of the UN Convention, which forbids state parties from discriminating against children based on the legal status of its parents.
Claudie Ashonie Wilson, the lawyer for the family, points out that the Immigration Appeals Boards made no mention of the rights of the child in their decision to deny their appeal to stay in the country.
“This is naturally, to my mind, a faulty decision,” she said. “You cannot take a decision about the parents but make no mention of the child.” In light of this, a petition is being circulated calling upon the Ministry of Justice to reverse the deportation decision. This petition will be handed over to the Ministry at 15:30 today.
This possible case of illegal discrimination against the child is not an uncommon occurrence in Iceland. Stundin reports that Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen, in response to a formal question from Pirate MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, has revealed that Iceland has deported 14 children who were born in the country over the past eight years. During the same period, 281 children seeking asylum in Iceland were denied it, and barred from staying in the country.