Constitution Society Appeals To UN Human Rights Committee - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Constitution Society Appeals To UN Human Rights Committee

Published May 11, 2015

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TommyBee/Wikimedia Commons

The Constitution Society has sent an appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee to change a ruling that was based on their anticipation of a new constitution.

Vísir reports that in 2007, the UN Human Rights Committee released a binding ruling on Iceland’s fishing quota system, calling upon the government to change the system in a way that would better prevent discrepancies and discrimination in terms of who receives how much of the annual quota. This ruling was based on a case lodged against the government by two Icelandic seamen, Erlingur Sveinn Haraldsson and Ernir Snævar Sveinsson.

However, the committee dropped the case in 2012 on the grounds that the Icelandic government was already taking steps to change the fishing quota system, thanks to an impending new constitution. While Iceland’s process to create a new constitution received international attention, the new constitution never materialised.

It is for this reason, argues the Constitution Society of Iceland, that the UN Human Rights Committee should change its ruling.

“The Constitution Committee points out that a new constitution was approved by 67% of those who took part in a national referendum,” their statement to the committee reads. “An article [in the new constitution] on natural resources being in public ownership was approved by 83%. In light of parliament’s failure regarding the new constitution, the Constitution Society encourages the UN Human Rights Committee to take the matter up again, and emphasise the binding ruling they made on the Icelandic government to change the fishing quota system.”

As reported, an online petition – which has already garnered close to 31,000 signatures – is already underway which demands the President of Iceland put certain kinds of fishing quota legislation up for public referendum.


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