Yesterday, on February 13th, No Borders Iceland held a protest against the deportation of refugees from Iceland.
More than a hundred people, led by refugees and asylum seekers, marched from Hallgrímskirkja church to the front of the parliament building at Austurvöllur.
Despite the fact that more than half of Icelanders are welcome to refugees, out of 790 asylum applicants in 2018, only 160 got approved, according to No Borders.
“I see a lot of people get deported,” said Anas Husein Ismail, an asylum seeker from Somalia. The country is under an ongoing civil war since 2009.
Ismail came to Iceland in January of this year after being denied asylum in Germany. He is living at the Ásbrú refugee camp, near Keflavik International Airport, as he awaits his asylum decision. Due to his status, he cannot apply for a temporary job nor proper housing.
“You want to hide us, you want us to not be seen,” said Millad Waskout as he addressed the crowd with a speakerphone. “We don’t see any people, and no people see us.”
Last August, Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Andersen proposed a new regulation that would pay asylum seekers up to €1,000 to withdraw their applications.
“Just see us, just hear us,” Waskout addressed the crowd. “[Asylum] interviewers tell us, ‘Just go through briefly, don’t go in the details.’ But how can we tell our stories without the details?”
“Refugees don’t have anything else,” Sara G. Amo, one of the protesters from Spain, said. “If we don’t support them, then they are alone, we must help them.”