Deportation threat cancelled, Egyptian family to stay

25.09.2020 - 09:54
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 Mynd: RÚV
The immigration appeals committee has decided to grant the Khedr family residence permits in Iceland. The case of the family has been widely discussed, as the four children and their parents were supposed to face deportation on 16th September and have been in hiding ever since. They will now receive residence permits on humanitarian grounds, after the appeals committee reversed the previous decision.

"They can come out of hiding. The case is won. The kids can go back to school. This is extremely good news and now their lives can carry on,” their lawyer, Magnús Davíð Norðdahl, said.

“This is a big victory for the family, but no less so for Icelandic society, in my opinion, and the powerful cooperation that often forms here. The family wishes to convey to everyone who supported them through this time huge, huge thanks,” Magnús adds. 

The appeals committee concluded that the family can stay based on the fact that their case took too long to process.  Despite new evidence provided, the committee did not change its mind on the claim that the family would face persecution if returned to Egypt. There is no evidence they would face persecution, the committe maintains.

Does Magnús believe people-power helped push the case? “We live in a democracy and it is to be expected that when the public unites and shows solidarity in this way that it will have an effect. I believe that pressure made a difference, yes.” 

"For every high-profile case like this, many others go unreported and are deported. Often even more heartbreaking cases," Reykjavík social cohesion project manager and prominent political campaigner Nichole Leigh Mosty told RÚV English, adding: "This case only highlights the importance of making children and families a precedent when it comes to how we deal with refugees. Iceland has ratified the Human Rights Convention of the Rights of the Child into Law and that should be a priority here when working with people seeking asylum."

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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