Regulation Regarding Asylum Seekers Amended
In the wake of a well-attended march in downtown Reykjavík Thursday in support of asylum-seeking children, Minister of Justice Þórdís Kobrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir amended a regulation regarding asylum seekers on Friday, mbl.is reports.
The amendment, which took effect immediately, gives the Directorate of Immigration permission to, but does not obligate it to, provide a process on the merits of the applications for asylum for children who have been granted protection in another state, if more than ten months have passed since the application was filed in Iceland, as long as delays in the process are not the children’s fault. This reduces the time families have to wait to qualify for a review of their application by two months, mbl.is reports.
“We know that children adjust faster than adults,” Þórdís noted, “and everyone agrees that it is important for people not to have to wait in uncertainty for an answer for too long.”
The march on Thursday called for humanity in immigration affairs and for the repeal of the decision to send two Afghan families with children to Greece, where the organizers of the event say that poverty and insecurity await them.
Magnús Davíð Norðdah, a lawyer for both the Afghan families, believes the amendment will likely clear the way for their applications to be reviewed, he tells mbl.is today. Whether they'll be granted asylum is too early to tell, he states, but he is hopeful they will.
Participants protested the deportation of child refugees from Iceland. They gathered by Hallgrímskirkja church and marched from there to Austurvöllur square. The march was organized by No Borders Iceland and Solaris, an aid organization for asylum seekers and refugees in Iceland.
Since the beginning of the year, Icelandic authorities have denied 75 children international protection, Fréttablaðið reports.
Among those who addressed the protestors was Asadullah Sawary, the single father of two boys, aged 8 and 10, who were facing deportation. “My children have been here for a year, and they’re happy,” he stated. “This is one of the best days of my life, because I see the support of Icelanders.” The deportation of his family had been delayed, because one of his sons suffered from severe anxiety.
The other family is that of Zainab Safari, a 14-year-old student at Hagaskóli grade school, her brother, 12, and mother. Her schoolmates have actively supported her in her fight to stay in the country. A doctor has reported that further shock could severely affect her psychological health.
The story has been updated.