From Iceland — Minister Wants To Pay Asylum Seekers To Withdraw Their Applications

Minister Wants To Pay Asylum Seekers To Withdraw Their Applications

Published August 22, 2018

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Arno Mikkor, Aron Urb/Wikimedia Commons

Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen wants to start paying asylum seekers to give up. The Young Social Democrats want to pay her to resign.

Fréttablaðið reports that the Minister has drafted a new regulation, which is still being examined by government authorities, that would pay asylum seekers up to €1,000 to withdraw their applications for asylum.

The idea is not exactly a radical one; Sweden reportedly pays asylum seekers about €3,900 to cancel their application processing. The Minister’s reasoning behind the regulation – which, incidentally, is not subject to parliamentary vote and can be issued unilaterally – includes the fact that other countries do this, in addition to the savings she believes Iceland will see over simply deporting people.

The proposal has been met with criticism from many angles, the most notable being from the Young Social Democrats. Yesterday, the group posted that they would pay Sigríður €1,000 themselves, if she resigned.

“A minister should not use the fragile position of people and offer them money for selling out their human rights,” they wrote in part. “So the Young Social Democrats are offering Sigríður 1,000 euros, the same amount being offered to asylum seekers, if she resigns from her position as Minister of Justice.”

The Young Social Democrats consider her proposal symptomatic of her hardline stance and treatment of asylum seekers, saying it is “morally questionable”, and that the Icelandic government should instead be putting more effort into helping people rather than turning them away.

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