A family of six, including four young children, have just been granted asylum in Iceland on humanitarian grounds, Kjarninn reports.
“This is a victory for Icelandic society, as their deportation would have been a black stain on the history of the nation,” lawyer for the family Magnús D. Norðdahl told reporters. “The measure of each society is how it treats its most vulnerable groups, children especially.” He added that he hopes this case will pave the way for changes at the Directorate of Immigration, and said, “Sometimes justice wins.”
The family has received considerable support from the Icelandic public, with Icelanders turned out in the hundreds to demonstrate in front of Parliament against the deportation, and some 13,000 of them signing a petition demanding they be allowed to stay. Once the police search for the family began, Icelanders began a concerted campaign of flooding the police with false reports of their whereabouts.
As reported, the Kehdr family came to Iceland from Egypt in early August 2018, and immediately applied for asylum. They were forced to leave their home country as the father of the family, Ibrahim Kehdr, was being persecuted in Egypt due to his political activities; namely, for supporting former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. In July 2019, the Directorate of Immigration denied their application, and so the family filed an appeal with the Immigration Appeals Board. The Appeals Board came to the conclusion to agree with the Directorate’s decision in November of the same year. This would put them just a couple weeks shy of being granted asylum in accordance with the 16-month regulation—a regulation which grants asylum to anyone whose case has lingered within the system for 16 months or longer.
However, the announcement of the date of their deportation, September 16th, only arrived earlier this month, by which time the family has been in Iceland for over two years.
While Justice Minister Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir had said that she had no intentions of making any changes to the current regulations on the matter in order to save the family, the Grapevine and others have pointed out Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifically states: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.”
With this ruling, the family may now come out of hiding, and begin a new life in Iceland.
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