A Grapevine service announcement Be patient: That eruption is expected to last until 2015

Iceland Should Do More To Fight Racism, Says Report

Published February 21, 2012

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.



News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Police Guns Detained By Toll Authorities Until Proven Gifts

by

The 250 machine guns, recently acquired from the Norwegian army, have been sealed off by toll authorities, who will not deliver them to the Coast Guard until the latter can prove that the weapons were a gift, as its representatives have publicly claimed. According to RÚV, toll authorities locked up and sealed the warehouse in which the weapons are kept, until the Coast Guard can provide such evidence. Whereas the Coast Guard has not provided any proof, toll authorities have a copy of the Norwegian Army’s invoice for the guns, supporting Norway’s claim that the Coast Guard purchased them. If

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Adam Ibrahim Pasha Ends Hunger Strike

by

Adam Ibrahim Pasha has ended his hunger strike. He announced the end of the strike on Thursday evening, his tenth day striking. Pasha took the action to protest against the Directorate of Immigration’s decision not to process his application for asylum in Iceland. In his announcement, Pasha explains that he respects Icelandic authorities and the Directorate of Immigration in particular. He says that he does not want them to feel as if he meant to force their decision, but explains that he took the action out of fear for his own life, if deported. He says that he now considers

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

“To Write A Saga, You Must Kill A Cow”

by

Last night, as reported, director Benedikt Erlingsson and producer Friðrik Þór Friðriksson received the Nordic Council Film Prize for the 2013 comedy “Of Horses and Men”. In his acceptance speech, Benedikt criticized the government for cutting the budget of the Icelandic Film Fund by, he said, 42 percent, this year. Describing the situation as a “catastrophe”, Benedikt announced the presence of Icelandic politicians at the ceremony, and encouraged other members of the audience to pick up the topic in conversations, during the succeeding party. “Talk to them about the Icelandic sagas,” Benedikt said, and continued: “Tell them that we who

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Bishop Blames Immigration For People Leaving The Church

by

Bishop of Iceland Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir believes people leaving Iceland and foreigners coming in contribute to the high numbers of people deregistering from the National Church. Addressing attendees at an ecumenical council last Saturday, RÚV reports, the bishop offered a number of explanations for why more people are leaving than joining the National Church. “One explanation I mentioned earlier is that when people move out of the country, they are automatically de-registered from the church,” she said. “So one explanation [for the decrease] are the number of people leaving the country.” However, recent data from Statistics Iceland shows that only

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Most Consider Themselves Unsafe Downtown

by

Over half of those who responded to a poll done for the police said they feel unsafe downtown after dark or after midnight on weekends. MBL reports that, according to a poll conducted by the Social Sciences Department of the University of Iceland (at the behest of the police), 55% of respondents said they considered downtown a very or rather unsafe place to be either after midnight on weekends, or after dark on any day of the week. Only 8% said they believed they were very safe downtown during these hours. Women were 71% more likely than men to consider

News
<?php the_title(); ?>

Labour Leaders Prepare For Hard Road Ahead

by

Leaders of several trade unions say they are getting ready to take a harder stance against management this year, with the need for solidarity amongst workers especially emphasised. The temporary collective bargaining agreement that was agreed upon earlier this year is soon reaching a close, and many professions – such as music teachers and doctors – are already striking, or considering doing so. Vísir spoke with several trade union leaders about the negotiations to come, and what their position on the current labour situation is. Kristján Þórður Snæbjarnarson, chairperson of the Icelandic Electricians Union, said solidarity amongst workers is the

Show Me More!