From Iceland — Palestinian Family Violently Deported, But Safety Of Refugees Remains Top Priority Officials Say

Palestinian Family Violently Deported, But Safety Of Refugees Remains Top Priority Officials Say

Published February 12, 2024

Photo by
Joana Fontinha

A Palestinian family, detained by special forces on Saturday, February 10, has been deported from Iceland to Greece, reports Vísir.

The family had been denied international protection in Iceland, with the refusal based on their previous application for international protection in Greece. The Directorate of Immigration typically denies applications for individuals who have already been granted international protection elsewhere, even if the first country was their point of entry into Europe.

Special forces with firearms entered the family’s home, woke them up, and arrested them, sparking a wave of negative reactions from the public.

“Each case is unique and assessed with consideration for the information that the police have each time,” commented Marín Þórsdóttir, a spokesperson for the National Commissioner of Police.

Priority for Foreign Affairs Committee 

The Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Icelandic Parliament, Bjarni Jónsson, says that one of the most significant projects for the committee today is to provide a safe haven for Palestinians who have been granted residence permits in Iceland.

Approximately 120 Palestinians have received residence permits in Iceland based on family reunification. However, most of them are still stuck in Gaza. Recently, two families of four managed to cross the borders to Egypt, and one of them arrived in Iceland over the weekend.

Icelandic volunteers from the Solaris aid organisations are in Egypt to assist the people. Three Foreign Service officials went to Cairo last week to assess the situation and meet with local authorities.

Bjarni Jónsson states that it is positive that the decision has been made to send officials to Egypt.

“A truly positive and important step. I know that reaching these people and bringing them to safety in Iceland is a significant task ahead, especially if tensions escalate. There is nothing else to do but to do everything we possibly can. This should and is the biggest project of the Foreign Service today, in my opinion,” says Bjarni.

Bjarni emphasises that Iceland needs to stand by the commitments made to these people.

“We have agreed to invite these people to Iceland. Agreed to these family reunifications. The next step is to stand by the promises we have made to these people,” says Bjarni.

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