Stop deportations of children! Protest at Stjornarradid – Today at 4.30

Iceland seems not to be doing the best job at helping out with the refugee crises if you look at the statistics. So far this year, they country accepted 74 of 560 that applied for protection or asylum. Those were granted asylum, subsidiary protection or a permit on humanitarian grounds, deepening on the case. The Directory of Immigration is often criticized for slow reactions to both individual cases and the crises in general. It seems like the people of Iceland at large are willing to receive more refugees and grant more asylums, and seem willing to open up their homes for those in need. Numerous outreaches have been created online calling for help for individual cases and today one such outreach is taking place. There is protest set for 4.30 pm in front of the Stjornarradid building (The seat of Government) on Laekjargata. Calling for a more humane treatment particularly of children, in the last nine months 59 children have been among the asylum seakers and 8 of them have been accepted on some terms.

Many people were particularly shocked then two Iranians were deported and removed by force from a church in Reykjavik where they had sought shelter, one of them a teenager, 16 year old Ali Nasir. A news outlet Stundin has since followed his case and he lives in appalling situation in Bagdad since his deportation.

Below is a video showing the two men dragged from the church in June this year.

No Borders is organizing the event; “No Borders loosely connected international network of groups and grass-root organisations that aims to diminish racism and nationalism along with the discrimination and violence that stem from such ideas. As its name suggests the networks fundamental idea is a call for the abolishment of borders and border control witch it sees as a brutish form of violence and a root cause for a great deal of human rights violations, exploitation and warfare around the world.”

The demand of the protest is as follows:

“We will no longer stand by and watch our friends’ lives being succumb to constant fear.”

“We will no longer stand by and watch the authorities’ violations of Icelandic law and the people’s legal rights.”

“We will no longer stand by and watch the neglect of children’s best interests and wellbeing.”

The Facebook event reads as follows:

“We, the people of Iceland, can no longer tolerate the inhumane approach the authorities have taken to the asylum cases of children and their families. We will gather in solidarity against the disregard for children’s rights in front of Stjórnarráðið, The Seat of Government, on the corner on Bankastræti and Lækjargata, on Thursday the 20th of October at 4.30 pm.

So far, 59 children have applied for international protection in Iceland this year, while only 8 have been granted protection. The authorities consistently and systematically disregard the rights of these particularly vulnerable children; they are not interviewed, listened to or taken into account in the processing of family applications. The head of asylum matters at the Icelandic Red Cross has declared her worries about the situation of unaccompanied minors in Iceland and the Ombudsman for Children in Iceland has stated her concerns about the conduct of the authorities. By their actions Icelandic authorities continue to violate the UN convention on the Rights of the Child as well as domestic law.

Two of the families who face deportation are Regina and her children’s father*, their sons Daníel and Felix, and their expected third child; Saad and Fadila, and their children Hanif and Jónína. The families have lived here for two years and three out of the four young children were born in Iceland, all of them unfamiliar with life outside of the country. The families wait for their cases to be heard in District Court but have been ordered to leave Iceland before their cases will be heard. We condemn the unnecessary and ruthless actions of the authorities against these families and we demand that their deportations will be cancelled immediately. We demand that the families will be provided the opportunity to continue building their lives in Iceland in peace, in accordance with their modest wishes.

We gather in front of Stjórnarráðið (The Seat of Government) for a display of our solidarity.

We call for politicians to take a stand on the matters of refugee children and their families. Due to Ólöf Nordal’s leave of absence we demand an immediate reaction from the deputy minister of the interior, Bjarni Benediktsson. We demand that the cases of the families in question will be reviewed with a humane focus, aiming for the best interests and wellbeing of the children.

Children and their families are particularly welcome to the event.”