The Judicial Affairs and Education Committee has suggested a number of changes to the Constitutional draft, including the protection of the Icelandic language and the ability to strip someone of their citizenship. As the draft of Iceland’s new Constitution leaves committee for another round of debates on the parliamentary floor, the committee in charge of the draft – the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee – has offered some input on changes they think should be made to the Constitution, RÚV reports. Among these changes is a clause that would state “Icelandic is the national language and the state shall support and defend it.” The committee says that as Icelandic is dear to the people, it deserves official protection. There is currently no law defining Icelandic as the official language of the country. The committee also believes that a proposed clause for the Constitution that would protect media sources and whistle-blowers is not precise enough. They recommend that the clause provides greater protections for whistle-blowers, because their jobs, positions and possibly lives could be at greater risk for the information they provide than a media source might experience. Foreigners also featured significantly in the committee’s recommendations. They asked that a clause be included that could strip someone of their citizenship if they had obtained it through falsified papers or providing the wrong information. They pointed out that there is no clause in the new Constitution limiting foreign ownership of Icelandic property, and recommended this be included as well. The constitutional draft will go through another round of debates on the floor of parliament before going back to committee one last time. When it is brought before parliament again, a final vote will be taken.
Former Prime Minister of Iceland Geir H. Haarde will, effective January 1, 2015, serve as “an ambassador in foreign service” to an as-yet unspecified appointment. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that Geir H. Haarde has been appointed as “an ambassador in foreign service”, along Left-Green MP and former Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Árni Þór Sigurðsson. Their appointments go into effect on January 1, 2015. In 2010, parliament narrowly voted in favour of Geir standing trial for negligence and mismanagement while in office. The vote came in the wake of the 2010 Special Investigative Commission Report on the contributing
The Parliamentary Ombudsman, after having spoken with both former Commissioner of the Capital Area Police Stefán Eiríksson and State Prosecutor Sigríður Friðjónsdóttir, is now demanding that Minister of the Interior Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir answer to allegations that she may have tried to influence the course of the ongoing police investigation of her ministry. RÚV reports that Parliamentary Ombudsman Tryggvi Gunnarsson sent a formal request to the minister which poses two main questions. Firstly, the ombudsman has asked the minister if she did, on at least one occasion, call Stefán into her office and express displeasure with the course of police
A group of Icelanders hope to provide men and women everywhere with a trove of examples of women achievers, and spoke to Grapevine about why this project matters. The website, Reconesse Database, will not only provide a world map marking women achievers past and present – the site is also asking the general public to send in their own examples, with the hope to “share stories that might otherwise have gone unnoticed”. Grapevine spoke to four of the women behind the project – Berglind Sunna Stefánsdóttir, Anna Gyða Sigurgísladóttir, Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir and Andrea Björk Andrésdóttir – who shared their insight
Organisers of this weekend’s Merchants’ Holiday festival in the Westman Islands have been challenged to ensure there will be no rapes nor assaults this year. Vísir reports that last year, 16 sexual assaults at the festival were reported to police. This figure actually marks a decline in assaults at the event. By contrast, the Eistnaflug music festival has, for ten years running now, never had a reported sexual assault or major fight. Stefán Magnússon, Eistnaflug’s organiser, says the reason is simple: they have made it emphatically clear that violence will not be tolerated. “I have gotten up on the stage
Sexual assaults in central Reykjavík have increased drastically over the past few years, reports Vísir. According to police statistics 22 sexual assaults were reported in 2010, 17 in 2011 and 36 in 2012, so an average of 25 cases a year. In 2013 however, a record 60 sexual assaults were reported in Reykjavík, roughly 140% more than the average between 2010 -2012. Guðrún Jónsdóttir, spokeswoman for Stígamót, the Education and Counseling Centre for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence says the numbers fit with the developments she’s seen at the centre in recent years. “The number of cases we saw increased
In the first 6 months of 2014, 402.000 tourists came through Keflavík airport, 90.000 more than in the same period last year. While this is good news, the Director General of the Icelandic Tourist Board, Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, told RÚV yesterday that it there were reasons for cautious optimism. “I think that there has been too rapid an increase in tourists,” said Ólöf Ýrr. “I don’t think we’ve been able to meet the demands of this increase. I think it would be better for us to avoid our future guests being put off from visiting us and in order to avoid that and