A new report from the Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission (ECRI) says that Iceland should be doing more to combat discrimination, in part by granting permission for Muslims to build a mosque and by filling in gaps in current immigration legislation. The report also believes that the law should include a “provision that expressly considers the racist motivation of an offence as a specific aggravating circumstance.” Some key elements from the report include:
Iceland has not established a specialised body to combat racism and discrimination based on “race”, colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin. The Multicultural and Information Centre, which is now responsible for providing assistance and services to immigrants, is located in the extreme north-west of the country; this means that most immigrants no longer have easy access to specialised support services. Changes to the Icelandic Nationality Act mean that the repeated commission of petty offences for which a fine is prescribed can definitively exclude a person from obtaining Icelandic citizenship. While the conditions for citizenship now also include passing Icelandic language tests, funding for language classes for foreigners has been cut. The media frequently disclose the citizenship or ethnic origin of persons suspected of criminal activity although it bears no relevance to the case. One television channel and some Internet sites engage in hate speech against Muslims. The Muslim communities in Iceland still do not have permission to build mosques in which to worship, despite one application pending for more than 12 years. Pupils of immigrant background have a significantly higher drop out rate from secondary school than Icelandic pupils. Asylum seekers still have no possibility to appeal to an independent and impartial judicial mechanism empowered to consider the merits of the case. Not all children in the asylum procedure have access to compulsory school education. There is still no mechanism for the investigation of allegations of police misconduct which is independent of the police and prosecution authorities.
ECRI publishes a report each year on the progress different European countries are making when it comes to fighting racism. Iceland’s full report can be read here.
Iceland’s representative at the United Nations, Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, condemned both Israel and Palestine in a speech at an open meeting of the Security Council last night, reports Vísir. “I want to start by expressing Iceland’s condemnation of the violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict,” said Gréta. “While the current situation in Gaza is beyond tragic I am not going to dwell on it. Because the core problem is not what is happening today. The core problem is the occupation.” In her speech Gréta said that the IDF’s air and ground assault raised concerns about respect for the
An incredibly large landslide struck the south-eastern side of Öskjuvatn lake just before midnight last night and all traffic to the area has subsequently been closed, report Vísir. The landslide was so large it caused a tsunami in the lake and made the surrounding area tremor for over 20 minutes. The landslide is attributed to good weather in recent days which lead to ice around the lake melting quickly, causing the ground to destabilise. The ridge surrounding the lake is still believed to be unstable and landslips are possible. All traffic in and around the area has therefore been banned until scientists and Iceland’s Emergency
When store manager Sara María Júlíusdóttir showed up for work at Kirsuberjatréð yesterday morning she stumbled upon an uncomfortable scene, namely an alleged tourist relieving himself on the sidewalk outside the storefront. “When I arrived Arndís [Jóhannsdóttir, the shop owner] was just in shock,” Sara María told Vísir. “The man had just pooped and peed in front of the store. Arndís lives above the shop so the man had literally tended to his needs one metre away from her home.” According to Sara María the man stood and walked away when he was done as though nothing had happened, stopping only to
Sláturfélag Suðurlands (SS) reports that there is a shortage of Icelandic beef, prompting the company to blend Danish beef into their hot dogs. Sold under the slogan “Icelanders Eat SS Hot Dogs”, SS hot dogs are arguably one of Iceland’s iconic foods. However, Viðskiptablaðið reports that they are no longer 100% Icelandic. “Unfortunately, due to the present shortage of Icelandic beef, we have been forced to use a little Danish beef that meets our quality standards,” SS product manager Guðmundur Svavarsson told reporters. While not specifying on the exact quantity of Danish beef in the hot dogs, Guðmundur provided assurances
Fraudsters pretending to be employees of Microsoft are contacting Icelanders by both letter and telephone. MBL reports that one of the most common tactics these fraudsters will use will be to call people on their home phones, purporting to be employees of Microsoft. These fraudsters tell the potential victim that Microsoft has detected a virus on their computer, and that in order to be rid of it, they must go to a specific website to download and install “virus removal software”. In reality, these are not people calling from Microsoft, who cannot see into your computer to look for viruses
July in Iceland has so far had one of the fewest sunny days in over a generation. MBL reports that July has only had three completely cloudy days so far – July 1, 10 and 18. However, a lack of completely cloudy days does not necessarily mean an abundance of sunny days. 50.6 hours of sunlight have been recorded for the month of July so far. This is 58.5 fewer hours than the sunlight average for July calculated from 1961 to 1990, and 85.3 fewer hours than the average over the past ten years. In fact, there has not been