Earlier this week the Immigration Appeals Board rescinded the deportation order to return three single mothers with eight children among them back to the streets of Greece. This case was brought to our attention by the organization, Samtök Réttur Barna á Flótta- an organization that aims to protect the interest of children seeking international protection in Iceland accompanied and unaccompanied minors.
The decision to deport the women was made this summer despite public statements by officials, including the Minister of Justice, Jón Gunnarsson, that no family would be sent back to Greece.
The Immigration Appeals Board has agreed to cancel their deportation on the basis that 12 months, in respect of the children 10 months had passed since they applied for international protection and that the delays in the process will not be attributed to the applicants.
“According to Article 36 paragraph 2 of the Act on Foreigners’ no 80/2016, If more than 12 months have passed since the application for international protection was first submitted to the Icelandic authorities and the delays in its process are not caused by the applicant, the application shall be processed.” A maximum of 10 months is required in the cases of minors, cf. Regulation on Foreigners’ no. 540/2017 as amended by Regulation. no. 638/2019.
The next phase of their cases is the procedural examination of their applications.
Although the outcome for these three families is positive, there is pending deportation for other families, which sparks deep concerns.
In a statement released on 28 September 2022 several local human rights organizations, including the Icelandic Red Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children and the Icelandic Women’s Rights Organization called upon the Icelandic government to cease deportation of children back to Greece to deplorable living conditions.