Controversy Over Asylum Seekers’ Shelter Skip to content

Controversy Over Asylum Seekers’ Shelter

By Iceland Review

Residents of Grundarhverfi, on the small Kjalarnes peninsula, are upset with the Directorate of Immigration for housing 43 asylum seekers in their neighborhood. A heated public meeting took place this week.

43 adult men from ten countries are currently residing on Arnarholt street and many local residents are critical of the lack of communication received from the Directorate, the composition of the group of asylum seekers (all men), and that there is little or no recreation/entertainment for them. RÚV reports that these themes came up again and again at the residents’ meeting, where director of the Directorate of Immigration, Kristín Völundardóttir, and city councilor S. Björn Blöndal answered questions.

Local resident Sigþór Magnússon told reporters: “We received no information about what was going on. All of a sudden there were just all these men here and it alarmed some people, which led all sorts of stories to start circulating.”

The head of the Directorate reassured people at the meeting that the men pose no threat and that they are living in emergency back-up housing.

Sigþór says there have already been incidents. “There have been men taking photos of girls and they have felt like they are being followed and there have been men in the changing rooms just sitting and chatting and smoking cigarettes, when they should have been out in the public area, not sitting watching people get undressed. When there is no information forthcoming, all this sort of stuff is disturbing.”

Although Grundarhverfi is a village to all intents and purposes, on an isolated peninsula north of Mosfellsbær and not far south of the Hvalfjörður road tunnel, it is actually a small enclave of the City of Reykjavík. Questions are also, therefore, being raised as to why the Directorate of Immigration didn’t choose any other part of the city where there would be more for the men to do and better transportation.

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