Iceland Needs To Catch Up In Human Rights - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Needs To Catch Up In Human Rights

Published June 12, 2016

Photos by
OSCE/Micky Kroell

Iceland is behind many European countries when it comes to ratifying human rights agreements, says the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner.

RÚV reports that Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, paid a recent visit to Iceland for the first time, speaking at both the University of Iceland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the subject of Iceland and human rights.

Nils points out that while Iceland signed The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities nine years ago, Iceland still has yet to ratify it; something most western European countries have done. Further, Iceland lacks its own domestic human rights office, which is normally tasked with conducting research and raising awareness of human rights.

Most surprising, Iceland also has yet to ratify the Istanbul Convention, an international agreement against domestic violence and violence against women.

“You’re a little behind your neighbouring countries in shouldering responsibility with these international obligations,” Nils told reporters. “I consider Iceland a wealth country, compared to many of these countries that I’ve visited. It’s a democratic country with a long history, so I surprises me that you have not shown more willingness to take responsibility and move forward.”

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