107 refugees from Ukraine have applied for international protection in Iceland since Russia invaded the country, RÚV reports. Iceland’s Civil Protection and Emergency Response Department has increased its preparedness at the border to its alert phase, which enables authorities to open a dedicated response centre for refugees, if necessary. Iceland’s Minister of Justice has triggered an article of law to facilitate the reception of Ukrainian refugees, but the decision will limit their rights, one MP argues.
Government criticised for triggering temporary protection measure
Pirate Party MP Þórhildur Sunna Ævarsdóttir criticised the government for its reception of Ukrainian refugees yesterday, particularly the Minister of Justice’s decision to trigger an article in Icelandic law providing temporary international protection in the event of mass exodus, which she argues gives refugees fewer rights than if the article had not been triggered.
“The government has decided that they get a residence permit for humanitarian reasons which, as I say, provides inferior legal protection, does not include a work permit, and means that they will have to depend on financial aid from municipalities and will have to somehow find housing on their own once they’ve received this protection. This is a political decision and it does not show that our arms are particularly open, at least not for this year [that the residence permits are valid].”
Icelandic authorities expect between 1,000-1,500 refugees from Ukraine to arrive in the country in the coming weeks.