From Iceland — New Bill On Law On Foreigners Contradicts Medical Ethical Guidelines, Doctors Say

New Bill On Law On Foreigners Contradicts Medical Ethical Guidelines, Doctors Say

Published February 21, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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A bill that proposes numerous changes to the Law on Foreigners directly contradicts medical ethical guidelines, a statement (.pdf) from the Icelandic Medical Association (LIS) says.

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As reported, the draft on the bill in question proposes a number of changes to the Law on Foreigners, in particular regarding people seeking international protection. These changes have already drawn criticism from numerous legal and humanitarian organisations in Iceland, as they contend these changes contradict both Icelandic law and internationally recognised human rights.

The LIS is amongst those criticising the bill. In particular, Article 19, which would give immigration authorities the power to order an applicant to submit to a series of physical examinations, including urine and blood samples and “other biological samples”. Failure to comply to these demands will result in the applicant’s treatment subject to the Law on Criminal Procedures.

Steinunn Þórðardóttir, the director of LIS, told RÚV that such compulsory medical procedures, as well as having to then hand over confidential medical information, “utterly contradicts medical ethics. If this becomes law, we’ll be placed in the position of having to choose between obeying Icelandic law or following internationally recognised medical ethics.”

The written statement from LIS puts forward the same argument, adding that much of the language of the bill is vague and unclear. As such, LIS implores the Minister of Justice to make significant changes to Article 19 before it is submitted to Parliament.

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