Thousands of activists in Iceland demonstrated in the capital city of Reykjavik on July 4, demanding that the government stop the deportation of two refugee families, which include children, from Iceland to Greece. The protesters marched from the Hallgrímskirkja Church to Austurvöllur Square in front of the Icelandic parliament. The protest was organized by various activist groups, including No Borders Iceland, No More Expulsions, Well, Solaris, Eugene’s Home and The Rights of Children on the Run.
The protesters claimed that this year, Icelandic authorities had so far denied asylum to 75 children. On an average, 12 children have been denied protection every month. There are currently two impending deportation cases in Iceland involving two Afghan families – one of a single father, Asadullah Sarwary, who has two sons (10 and 9 years old) and another of a single mother, Shahnaz Safari, who has a son and a daughter (12 and 14 years old).
The Iceland Review reported that international organizations, including UNICEF, Red Cross and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, have intervened in support of the families.
In the wake of these protests, minister of justice Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir ordered that the processing time for refugee applications be shortened and assured additional funding to the office for this purpose. She has yet to make any comments over the government’s decision to deport the families.