From Iceland — Immigration Directorate Said To Be Untruthful With Media

Immigration Directorate Said To Be Untruthful With Media

Published February 21, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Recent remarks from the director of the Directorate of Immigration (ÚTL) contradict the experiences of the lawyer for an Iranian family, including a trans teen, who face imminent deportation. The lawyer’s response has been posted by No Borders Iceland.

As reported, the trans boy in question, Maní, and his family are set to be deported to Portugal on the grounds of the Dublin Regulation, a controversial international agreement which gives signatory states the right – although not the obligation – to return asylum seekers back to their previous point of departure.

In an interview with Stöð 2 news, ÚTL acting director Þorsteinn Gunnarsson responded to criticism that the directorate never examined the family’s case, and never spoke with Maní personally. Þorsteinn told reporters that the directorate had requested to speak with Maní, but that his parents had rejected the request, and so Maní being trans was not factored into their decision-making process regarding the family’s case.

However, the lawyer for the family says that this response came as a surprise, as there is no documentation to support this claim. The lawyer says furthermore that Maní came out as trans last October, with the family seeking an interview with the Immigration Appeals Board on the matter. This request was subsequently rejected.

The lawyer points out that Icelandic authorities are legally obliged to allow a child old enough to do so to plead their case to immigration authorities. Maní being a part of a marginalised group, i.e. trans, this is especially important.

It also bears mentioning that the deportation 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.

As it stands now, while the Immigration Appeals Board has given the lawyer until February 24 to submit more documentation on the family’s case, they are nonetheless still slated to be deported as soon as Maní comes out of hospital, where he is currently admitted due to the stress and anxiety of his impending departure from Iceland.

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