From Iceland — Immigration Appeals Board Deems Refugee Evictions Unlawful

Immigration Appeals Board Deems Refugee Evictions Unlawful

Published June 15, 2021

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A lawyer for one of the 18 refugees who have recently been evicted from asylum seeker housing by the Directorate of Immigration (ÚTL) and denied services such as food and medical care has announced that the Immigration Appeals Board (KNÚ) has deemed this denial of services unlawful. These evictions have sparked concerted criticism and protest amongst the Icelandic public in recent weeks.

While the judgement has not, at the time of this writing, yet been published on the government website, lawyer Magnús D. Norðdahl reported the news on Facebook himself.

“The Immigration Appeals Board just now confirmed in my client’s case that the Directorate of Immigration was not allowed to cancel his services and deprive him of housing and food,” he writes. “Once again, the Directorate of Immigration will be exposed for acting in an illegal and inhumane manner. This has now been confirmed by the Immigration Appeals Board and should be welcomed. The case in question is precedent-setting and all the parties that the Directorate of Immigration sent to the streets in recent months now have the right to receive housing and food again.”

As reported, 18 refugees have been made homeless by ÚTL, who have evicted these refugees for refusing to take a pre-deportation PCR test. In addition to being rendered homeless, they were also cut off from food stipends (asylum seekers are not legally permitted to work) and denied health care.

These evictions have been criticised within Parliament, and also amongst the general public, for being at the very least inhumane if not outright illegal.

With this ruling, these 18 people will soon be able to return to refugee housing, receive food stipends and medical care, and receive whatever other services ÚTL previously denied them.

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