Municipalities Insist State is Responsible for Asylum Seekers Skip to content

Municipalities Insist State is Responsible for Asylum Seekers

By Yelena

Reykjavík City Hall ráðhús
Photo: Golli. Reykjavík City Hall.

It is up to state authorities to find a solution for the group of asylum seekers who have been stripped of housing and all social services in Iceland, municipal authorities insist. On July 1, new legislation took effect in Iceland that strips asylum seekers of housing and all social services 30 days after their applications have been rejected. Before the legislation took effect, Iceland’s Social Affairs Minister asserted that these individuals could seek services from municipalities, but municipal authorities now assert they are neither permitted nor required by law to provide services to the group.

Representatives from the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities met with Iceland’s Justice Minister and Social Affairs Minister last Friday to discuss the situation of asylum seekers who have been evicted from state housing due to the new legislation. Over 10 individuals from this group have been living on the streets, some for up to three weeks. Since the legislation took effect, 53 asylum seekers have been stripped of services and housing.

At last week’s meeting, municipal representatives underlined to state authorities that they believe it is the state’s responsibility to provide services to the group, and not that of municipalities. According to a notice from the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, both state and municipal representatives “agreed that it is now urgent to find a solution to the people’s problem.”

A group of activists protested the government’s actions towards asylum seekers at the opening of Culture Night festival last Saturday.

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