From Iceland — Bishop Voices Support In Case Of Trans Teen Seeking Asylum; Lawyer Given Extension

Bishop Voices Support In Case Of Trans Teen Seeking Asylum; Lawyer Given Extension

Published February 19, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The Bishop of Iceland has joined the chorus of Icelanders calling for the government to grant asylum to an Iranian trans teen and his family, RÚV reports.

The boy in question, Maní, is still in hospital due to the psychological toll of his impending deportation, and the doctors overseeing his case have issued a statement calling it “unjustifiable” to deport him. Meanwhile, the family’s lawyer, Claudie Ashonie Wilson, has been given until February 24th to submit more documentation about the case to the Immigration Appeals Board. This does not, however, mean that the family cannot be deported in the interim.

“We are concerned, because they cannot live a secure life if they are sent out of the country,” a statement from the Bishop to Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir reads in part. “The Christian faith implores us to defend a humane life and implores hospitality and compassion for all people. God loves us are we are—we all have the right to safety and security when we ask for it.”

As reported, Maní and his 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.

Icelandic authorities have yet to give any indication that they intend to change the deportation as planned. As it stands now, he and his family are set to be deported as soon as he is released from hospital.

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