Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 12th Session

Universal Period Review of Iceland

Statement by Australia

10 October 2011

Australia welcomes the delegation from the Republic of Iceland and appreciates its constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.

We commend the Government of Iceland for passing important amendments to the Act on Foreigners in June 2008, improving the status of foreigners and decedents of immigrants in Iceland.

We commend the Government of Iceland for the establishment of the Multicultural and Information Centre (MCI) as a positive step to ensure that immigrants in Iceland know their rights and can participate actively in Icelandic society. However, we are concerned that there is no definition of racial discrimination in Icelandic legislation.

We are concerned at reports of the incarceration of juveniles and adults and of pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners in the same cell.

We are also concerned about the lenient sentences being handed down by the courts in cases of domestic violence. These light sentences act as a disincentive to women to report these violent crimes to the authorities.

Australia recommends to Iceland:
1. A definition of racial discrimination be included in Icelandic legislation;

2. Authorities ensure separate incarceration of juveniles and adults and of pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners; and

3. A community education program be established to raise awareness of domestic violence against women and options open to them to bring an end to this crime.