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.
The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry. “We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.” Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly. “There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who
The beleagured Faroese fishing vessel that ordinary Icelanders assisted despite the cold shoulder from government has bid our fair shores farewell. MBL reports that Næraberg departed from Reykjavík harbour at about 6:00 this morning. At the time of this writing, the ship is about halfway to Greenland, presumably to resume fishing mackerel. As reported, the ship was sailing from Greenland when it encountered engine trouble and radioed Iceland for permission to dock in Reykjavík harbour to conduct repairs. However, citing an obscure law about fishing rights, Icelandic authorities initially only allowed permission for the ship to dock – the crew
The high winds and rain Iceland has been experiencing over the past 36 hours or so are the remains of what was Hurricane Cristobal. Iceland’s mercurial weather caught the attention of science buffs overseas, as Discover Magazine reported late last night that the storm formerly known as Hurrican Cristobal was taking “dead aim” at Iceland. Hurricanes are not common to more northern latitudes. In fact, Cristobal had changed into what is known as a “warm seclusion cyclone” by the time it reached Iceland. This kind of cyclone is characterised by a center of warm, wet air surrounded by cooler air.
Björk’s Biophilia tour went on for almost two years, scoring a huge hit with critics and audiences around the world due to it’s innovative, immersive production. After a long process of trying to fund a definitive concert film of the project, it came right down to the wire, with the final show at London’s cavernous Alexandria Palace becoming the subject of Biophilia Live. BAFTA-award winning editor and filmmaker Nick Fenton, speaking of his experience as co-director, said: “We felt like security guards, in a little booth surrounded by screens and talking to sixteen cameramen and women. You couldn’t feel further
Holuhraun is the best possible location for an eruption, geophysicist Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson has told RÚV. Although the magma flow from Holuhraun is considerable and steady, Magnús Tumi does not feel it qualifies as a large eruption. New data indicates that approximately 250 cubic metres of magma is spewing out of the fissure each second. According to Magnús Tumi, the current Holuhraun eruption is completely different to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption of 2010. Given that the Holuhraun eruption is entirely above ground and a mainly basalt eruption it is producing no disruptive ash. The Eyjafjalljökull eruption on the other hand was
The Holuhraun eruption, which began again yesterday with magma plumes as high as 60 metres, is going strong and might see out the year, reports RÚV. “The eruption is comparable to the one we saw from Krafla [in 1975],” said volcanologist Ármann Höskuldsson. “At first there was just a tiny eruption then the eruptions got gradually larger as time passed. It’s possible that this event will last until the end of the year, possibly into some of next year as well.” Seismic activity continues at Vatnajökull though none topped 4.9 on the Richter scale yesterday, presumably because the eruption has alleviated some