European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)


Council of Europe Anti-Racism Commission to prepare a report on Iceland

Strasbourg, 12.04.2011 - A delegation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) visited Iceland from 4 to 7 April 2011, as the first step in the preparation of a monitoring report. During its visit, ECRI´s delegation gathered information on the implementation of the recommendations it made to the authorities in its 2007 report and discussed new issues that have emerged since.

The delegation held meetings in Reykjavik and Ölfus with representatives of all relevant ministries and other competent authorities, national human rights structures and NGOs, as well as with immigrant workers.

Following this visit, ECRI will adopt a report in which it will make a fresh set of recommendations on measures to be taken by the authorities to address racism, racial discrimination (i.e. discrimination on grounds of “race”, colour, citizenship, national/ethnic origin, religion and language), xenophobia and intolerance in the country. Among these, three will be revisited in two years’ time as part of an interim follow-up procedure.

In its 2007 report, ECRI highlighted the following concerns: the lack of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and the absence of a specialised body to combat racism and racial discrimination; the fact that immigrants’ work permits were granted directly to their employers which, along with very limited opportunities for them to learn the Icelandic language, exposed them to higher risks of exploitation; the failure to respond positively to an application by the Muslim community to build a mosque, pending since 1999; the low rate of recognition of refugee status and the poor quality of first-instance decision-making in asylum procedures; and the high drop-out rates of pupils of immigrant background.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member states. For more information on ECRI:

Link to the 2007 ECRI’s report on Iceland

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28,

Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11