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Advance questions and statement to Iceland

The second UPR of Iceland was held on 1 November 2016. Below are the advance questions and statement provided by Norway in connection with the review.         

Advance questions:

  1. As the economy of Iceland has improved significantly over the last couple of years, social welfare has improved, which also has had a positive effect on services available to society and particularly vulnerable groups. There are however new challenges related to a sharply increasing labour marked. How will Iceland meet the new challenges described in the National report, regarding increased labour trafficking?
  2. Which are the actual measures foreseen in the new Icelandic action plan to examine gender-based acts of violence and their prosecution and handling in the judicial system? Are further revisions of the provision of public services for victims of violence in intimate relationships foreseen? 
  3. The Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe has recommended that the Icelandic authorities implement a national Human Rights Action Plan in order to ensure that human rights and anti-discrimination policies are dealt with in a systematic and comprehensive manner. Does the authorities plan to follow up on this recommendation

 

Statement:

Norway welcomes the delegation from Iceland and thanks the delegation for the presentation of their national report.

There have been significant improvements in Iceland since the last UPR-hearing in 2011, when Icelandic society was suffering from the consequences of the global financial crisis. Representing a welfare state, Icelandic authorities have through a targeted policy been able to improve the conditions for vulnerable groups, and they show decisiveness in moving further in this direction.

A rapidly growing economy, however, also brings new challenges. It brings more immigration, more human trafficking and could easily result in a larger unregulated labor marked, where the rights of workers are not fully respected. Norway therefore recommends increased focus on supervisory and control mechanism in the labor market. We would also encourage Iceland to develop a wider scope of protection against discrimination and more tools to address the rights of persons who are subject to human trafficking.

A rapidly improving economy also brings with it a need for the authorities have a comprehensive approach to tackling corruption and tax evasion, which in turn would benefit society and the overall enjoyment of human rights. Iceland is comparatively speaking faring well, compared with international standards. Nonetheless, Norway would,  taking into account the rapidly expanding economy, recommend to improve  financial supervisory mechanisms to ensure better control and transparency in order to combat corruption and tax evasion.

Thank you.