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Asylum Seeker Hunger Strikes for Family

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Asylum Seeker Hunger Strikes for Family

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Lirary picture, not directly related to story. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

An asylum seeker who has gone on hunger strike in Iceland says he does not know what else he can do to prevent him and his young family being deported.

Stephen Oyewole Ajemiare decided to go on hunger strike following an appeals committee decision to endorse a Directorate of Immigration decision to not give him and his family Icelandic residency permits.

Stephen and his wife, Salome Esteves Garcia Buabonah, have a three-year-old son and a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter; both of whom attend preschool in Reykjanesbær. They came to Iceland in 2014 and their daughter was born in the country in December of the same year, Vísir reports.

Stephen is from Nigeria and Salome is from Equatorial Guinea. Stephen is Christian and Salome is Muslim. Their different religions and national backgrounds are the reason the couple decided to seek asylum in Europe.

“The future for my children and my wife is in danger. It is horrible to experience such helplessness against it. They want to send us to Africa. We don’t know to which country, but it makes no difference. Our children have no future in Africa. They were born in Europe and our daughter here in Iceland,” Stephen said during day two of his hunger strike.

Salome suffers from diabetes and needs to inject herself four times a day. “If we are sent to Equatorial Guinea or Nigeria, she probably won’t be able to afford the medication,” Stephen adds.

Salome says their life in Iceland has been going well: “My son has adjusted well to preschool and this is a good community. I don’t understand why the authorities here don’t understand our situation, though we have tried to explain it well and anybody should be able to appreciate how difficult it is to move destitute to another country with small children,” Salome explains.

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