Over 14,000 signatures have been added to a petition against the deportation of a family from Senegal, Vísir reports.
The two daughters, Regine Martha and Elodie Marie, who are just three and six, were both born in Iceland after their parents, Bassirou Ndiaye and Mahe Diouf moved here from Senegal seven years ago. Bassirou and Mahe both have jobs in the country, and the two girls attend school and kindergarten.
The change.org petition, which is to be presented to Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, states “[the children] are 3 and 6 years old and were born here and do not know anything else. It would cause them unbearable harm to tear them out of their environment and send them to a foreign land where they are in danger.” The petition also cites the Convention of the Rights of the Child which states in Article 3 that “The best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration when public or private social bodies, courts, authorities or legislative bodies take measures concerning children.” This is not the first time that this article has had to be pointed out to the government in deportation cases. The Grapevine reported in September on the similar case of the Egyptian family who was eventually granted asylum on humanitarian grounds.
A dangerous place for women and children
Bassirou and Mahe say that they left their homeland because he is a Christian whilst she is Muslim, and they are unsafe in Senegal because of this. It is also not a safe country for women and children are at great risk of genital mutilation. The parents are terrified of what might happen to their daughters if they take them back.
The couple have been fighting for a residency permit in Iceland on humanitarian grounds for the last six years with no success. The last ruling in the case came on Friday when the National Court ruled that the ruling of the Directorate of Immigration and the Immigration Appeals Board should stand and that the family must be deported.
Our children are Icelandic
In an interview with Vísir, Mahe expressed her sadness and fear over the verdict. “We just feel pain, a lot of pain after this verdict. I cannot find words to describe how I feel after all this struggle. My children were born in Iceland and are Icelandic. It is incredibly strange that they have to apply for asylum in their own country, the country in which they were born.”
Elín Árnadóttir, the couple’s lawyer, has requested another reopening of the case from the Immigration Appeals Board.
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