Easily 1,000 Icelanders marched from Hallgrímskirkja church to the Austurvöllur square, in front of Parliament, to call upon the Icelandic government to stop deporting children, especially to Italy and Greece.
As reported, there are currently two impending deportation cases in Iceland involving children as young as nine years old. In both cases, the families in question are set to be deported to Greece—where refugee conditions are already unfit for children. Furthermore, these deportations violate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the revised Law on Foreigners.
Since news of these stories broke, some politicians—including members of the coalition-leading Left-Greens and Minister of Justice Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, whose office oversees the Directorate of Immigration—have proposed various reformist policies, such as expediting child applications for asylum; itself no guarantee of protections granted, as it may result in child deportations simply happening faster.
However, other politicians and special interest groups have pointed out that deportations to Greece and Italy could be ended today through the stroke of a pen, and that ending such deportations are arguably demanded by law. Yesterday, approximately 1,000 Icelanders made that latter sentiment heard, as they marched in support of the families, calling upon the government to end these deportations.
These photos, for example, posted of the scene by Þóra Kristín Ásgeirsdóttir, show just how well attended the demonstration in front of Parliament was, while this video from Magnea Björk Valdimarsdóttir shows what the march from Hallgrímskirkja looked like.
Zainab Safari, originally from Afghanistan and one of the children slated to be deported to Greece next week, described the event as “the best day in the world”, RÚV reports, adding, “It was a great day. When I yelled ‘stop deportations’ and looked behind me, I felt a great sense of power. I can do anything!”
Both families are slated to be deported next week, barring some kind of intervention from the Minister of Justice or Parliament.
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!