Kurdish Family, Deported From Iceland, Now Living In A Forest In Fear For Their Lives - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Kurdish Family, Deported From Iceland, Now Living In A Forest In Fear For Their Lives

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Toshiki Toma

A family of Kurdish asylum seekers who fell prey to the Director of Immigration (ÚTL) once again evoking the Dublin Regulation are now living in a forest, evading deportation from Germany, as they fear imprisonment or death in their home countries. A Lutheran minister in Iceland who knew them personally now pleads for Icelandic authorities to bring them back.

In a lengthy post from Rev. Toshiki Toma, a Lutheran minister who has been very active in defending the rights of asylum seekers, he outlined the broad strokes of the current situation of Nasr Rahim, a Kurd from Iraq, his wife Shawboo, who is also Kurdish but from Iran, and their two children; two-year-old Leo and six-month-old Leona.

The family came to public attention when their application for asylum in Iceland was denied by ÚTL last year on the grounds of the Dublin Regulation; specifically, the part of the regulation that gives state parties the power to deport asylum seekers to their previous point of departure. In the case of this family, that point of departure was Germany.

The family had converted to Christianity while in Iceland, but upon arrival in Germany, German authorities refused to accept their conversion as “real”. This detail is important to their asylum case; being Christian in Iran can result in criminal prosecution, not to mention the concerted persecution that Kurds are subjected to in both Iraq and Iran. The family was told they would be deported from Germany to their birth countries, with their departure date set for late September.

Fearing for their lives, the family has fled. They now live in the woods of an undisclosed European country, surviving in a tent and on whatever resources they can gather. They are reportedly cold and hungry, and their youngest child is now ill.

It must be noted that Iceland is breaking international and Icelandic law with such deportations; specifically, laws on the rights of the child, which specifically state that any asylum decision involving children must put the needs of the child first.

As a result, Toshiki is encouraging the general public to draw attention to this case, in the hopes of exerting pressure on Icelandic authorities to bring them back to Iceland for good.


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