New legislation being proposed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights would do more to protect children, women, and immigrants than existing legislation.
The ministry has already assembled a committee to craft a bill that would change Iceland’s current laws on sex crimes against children to be in full harmony with existing European laws. The proposed changes would make for stricter sentencing. The law also focuses on child pornography, taking a cue from Finnish law, wherein an adult who is made to depict themselves as a minor for the purposes of sexual titillation would be a punishable offence.
Changes to the Act On Foreigners are also being proposed. Among them, that children under 18 who arrive in Iceland as asylum seekers would receive special protections. In addition, if the Icelandic government discovers that someone who was awarded asylum had been convicted of committing a serious crime in the past, their right to seek asylum can be taken from them.
Most important of all, however, is a change that would grant a six-month residence permit to people who authorities suspect were brought to Iceland as a result of human trafficking. This permit would be renewable as well. The change is a significant one, as many European countries deport victims of human trafficking back to their home countries, which only exacerbates the cycle of abuse.
(Photo: Minister of Justice Ögmundur Jónasson)