European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fifth report on Iceland [en] - [fr] - [ice]

Press Release – 28.02.2017

Icelandic version


Council of Europe’s Anti-racism Commission concerned about increasing racist discourse in Iceland, but finds good progress in LGBT rights

Strasbourg, 28.02.2017 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today publishes its fifth report on Iceland in which it analyses recent developments and outstanding issues and makes recommendations to the authorities.

ECRI welcomes Iceland’s appointment of a police officer to investigate hate crime in Reykjavik and creation of a data base to monitor on-line hate speech, in particular the growing anti-Muslim sentiment. The respect of LGBT rights is overall good, with a positive climate of acceptance. An action plan is being developed to improve further the situation of “LGBTI” persons in the areas of education, including bullying in schools, health care, legal gender recognition and asylum.

ECRI points out, however, increasing racist public discourse in Iceland with few investigations and no prosecutions or convictions so far under hate speech legislation. There is still no comprehensive anti-discrimination law or specialised body to combat racism and racial discrimination. Immigrants encounter numerous problems, in learning Icelandic, access to information and fair employment conditions as well as early school drop-out. Their integration is hindered by the absence of a centre in the capital, providing assistance and services in various languages. There is no national policy on the integration of refugees and substantial differences in treatment between quota refugees and those coming from the asylum system.

The report makes a number of recommendations. The following two are to be implemented on a priority basis and will be the subject of interim follow-up by ECRI within two years:

- enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation to combat racism and racial discrimination;

- bring integration measures and services for refugees from the asylum system to similar levels as for quota refugees, especially concerning access to housing, employment and Icelandic language classes.

The report was prepared following ECRI’s visit to Iceland in April 2016 and takes account of developments up to 29 June 2016.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, intolerance and discrimination on grounds such as “race”, national/ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination); it prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI:

Päivi Suhonen, Communications Officer Tel +33 (0)3 90 21 53 70
Stefano Valenti, External Relations Officer, ECRI, Tel.: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28