More than 16,000 people have signed a petition in protest of the deportation of a couple and their two young daughters, both of whom were born in Iceland. The couple has been fighting to be granted asylum in Iceland for almost seven years. The most recent ruling in their case came from the Court of Appeal last Friday when the court ruled against their application. They are set to be deported barring any other developments in their case.
Bassirou Ndiaye and Mahe Diouf, originally from Senegal, have lived and worked in Iceland for almost seven years. Throughout that time, they have applied for residency and asylum in Iceland, without success. Bassirou is Christian and Mahe is Muslim, and they assert their relationship endangers them in their home country.
The couple’s daughters Regine Marta (6 years) and Elodie Marie (3 years) were born in Iceland and attend primary school and preschool. Mahe says that women’s rights are not protected in Senegal and if they were forced to return to the country, the girls face a risk of genital mutilation.
Asylum Seekers in their Country of Birth
“It’s difficult for me as a mom to see my children being asylum seekers where they were born, in their home country,” Mahe told Vísir reporters. She said the case negatively impacted the couple’s health and life. “I am so sad that my children do not get to live here just because their parents are from Senegal.” Bassirou agreed with his wife, adding that the couple simply wanted to give their children a better life than they would have in Senegal.
The couple’s lawyer Elín Árnadóttir says she has appealed the ruling to the Immigration Appeals Court once more. “We consider this ruling to be incorrect. The children and overall interests are not taken into account. We cannot accept that.”
“I don’t know of any case here in Iceland that has taken such a long time (to process), especially concerning children. It is absurd that it should go on like this any longer,” Elín continued. “In the Court of Appeal we pointed to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s rights. We also pointed out the danger of genital mutilation if the girls were sent to Senegal, but none of this was taken into account. The children’s rights are being trampled on in this unprecedented case.”