The Icelandic authorities deported 180 Venezuelans earlier this week who had come to the country seeking asylum. They received a cold welcome when they landed in Venezuela, according to those interviewed by Heimildin. The fight was carried out by Iceland’s Directorate of Immigration and the European border agency Frontex.
One of the Venezuelans who was deported from Iceland stated that the group was stopped at the airport and their money was taken from them. The group was reportedly received by police and taken to a building where they were required to stay for the next two days. People from the group have been interrogated repeatedly and made to sign numerous documents without legal assistance, according to Heimildin’s sources.
Venezuelans no longer given additional protection
For several years, the Icelandic government provided additional protection to almost all Venezuelans who sought asylum here due to the poor conditions in Venezuela. Earlier this year, the Immigration Appeals Board upheld several negative rulings by the Directorate of Immigration involving Venezuelans.
Venezuelans have strongly protested this, as conditions in Venezuela are still very bad. Few people have access to health care and most ordinary citizens have difficulty meeting their basic needs. The crime rate in Venezuela is one of the highest in the world.
Stricter legislation passed
The number of asylum applications by Venezuelan citizens in this country has grown enormously in recent years – they went from 14 in 2018 to 1,209 in 2022. Between January and September of this year they numbered 1,318. After the Immigration Appeals Board confirmed the negative rulings of the Directorate of Immigration, the number of applications began to decrease.
Human rights organisations have criticised the Icelandic government for increasingly harsh legislation on asylum seekers. Legislation passed in Iceland’s Parliament last spring strips asylum seekers of essential services after their applications have received a final rejection, unless they consent to deportation. Iceland’s current Justice Minister Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir has proposed establishing detention centres for asylum seekers.