A teenaged trans boy and his family, originally from Iran, were facing deportation from Iceland today. That decision was postponed as the boy in question, Maní, has been admitted to hospital after suffering a mental breakdown over fear and anxiety about the deportation. The case is yet another example of the Icelandic authority’s use of the Dublin Regulation, a legal loophole that has long been criticised by international human rights groups as inhumane.
The family fled Iran in February 2019 and went to Portugal. Stundin reports that just two days later, the family received word that they were being sought for arrest by Sepah, also known as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Not wanting to take any chances, they left Portugal came to Iceland in March 2019, seeking asylum here.
However, because Portuguese authorities gave the family a travel visa, Icelandic authorities declined to open their case and instead invoked the Dublin Regulation, an international agreement which gives signatory states the right – although not the obligation – to return asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure. The regulation is a controversial one, as it has created bottlenecks at asylum seeker entry points across Europe. Germany, for example, has already agreed to stop evoking the regulation for Syrian refugees.
Furthermore, the decision is in direct contravention of both Icelandic law on the rights of the child, Article 1 of which states “The best interests of the child should always take precedence when making decisions about their issues”, and also contravenes the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Iceland is a signatory country.
The deportation decision was strongly condemned by the National Queer Organisation, Trans Iceland, No Borders Iceland and thousands of other Icelanders, who signed a petition calling for Maní and his family to be granted asylum, garnering over 7,000 signatures at the time of this writing. Many of these Icelanders convened at the Ministry of Justice and Parliament yesterday to voice their support for Maní.
No Borders Iceland reported last night that while police were seeking to pick up the family to put them on a plane out of the country, Maní was admitted to the children and teenager psychiatric ward of Landspítali hospital, having had a mental breakdown due to the impending deportation. The admitting physician told police that Maní was in no condition to travel anywhere, and the deportation of him and his family has therefore been postponed for now.
The Ministry of Justice has yet to respond to the repeated exhortations to review the asylum case for Maní and his family.
Below, you can see two videos taken at yesterday’s protests, shot at the Ministry of Justice and at Parliament, respectively.
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