Says National Registry Breaking The Law Over Girl's Name

Says National Registry Breaking The Law Over Girl’s Name

Published August 8, 2014

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A lawyer for the family of Harriet Cardew argues that denying the girl an Icelandic passport is in violation of the Icelandic Constitution.

Ragnar Aðalsteinsson, the Cardew family’s lawyer, told Vísir that the National Registry’s decision to deny 10-year-old Harriet a passport for having a foreign name actually breaks two laws.

First, there is the Law On Passports which, amongst other things, states that all Icelandic citizens have a right to a passport. Harriet is an Icelandic citizen, and as such, has a right to a passport.

Second, Ragnar argues that the National Registry’s decision violates the basic human right to go by the name a person chooses, which he says is backed up by the Icelandic Constitution as well as international laws on human rights of which Iceland is a signatory.

As reported, Harriet Cardew is the daughter of an Icelandic mother and a British father. She and her eleven-year-old brother Duncan are currently listed as Stúlka and Drengur Cardew — Girl and Boy Cardew — in the National Registry because their names have not been approved by the Name Committee. Last June, the UK granted Harriet an emergency British passport.

The committee approves new names based on two primary factors: whether the name has some historical precedent and whether it can be declined in accordance with Icelandic grammar.

The committee has faced increasing criticism and challenges. In February 2013, Blær Bjarkardóttir Rúnarsdóttir finally won a long legal battle to have her first name officially accepted into the lexicon. Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr has also gone on record as saying the Name Committee represents an “unfair, stupid law against creativity.”

The Ministry of the Interior is reportedly reviewing Harriet’s case, although they have yet to reach a ruling.

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