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United States Observations at the UPR Working Group on Iceland
October 11, 2011

12th Session of the UPR Working Group


As delivered by John Mariz,
Delegation of the United States of America

Geneva, October 10, 2011


The United States welcomes His Excellency Minister Jonasson and the Icelandic delegation to the UPR Working Group and congratulates Iceland on the completion of its national report and presentation today.  We have carefully reviewed the report and presentation, and would like to make the following observations.


The United States commends Iceland for launching its first national anti-trafficking action plan in 2009, and, on the basis of the action plan, establishing an interagency team to tackle the trafficking problem in Iceland and assist survivors.  We are pleased that in June 2011 the Icelandic parliament unanimously passed legislation increasing the maximum penalty for human trafficking to 12 years.  We encourage the government to continue its positive momentum by prosecuting trafficking cases when victims have been identified.  In addition, we welcome the Government’s announcement to construct a new reception and custody prison. Regarding asylum policy, we are pleased that Iceland has made constructive changes to its asylum laws.

The United States shares Iceland’s concern over the challenges to eliminate the gender pay gap and gender-based violence, and appreciate the further information the Minister has provided today regarding these issues.  We also encourage Iceland to continue its efforts to guarantee the rights of people of foreign origin.

In light of these concerns, the United States recommends the following:

  1. That Iceland take measures to reduce the gender pay gap and eliminate gender-based violence.
  2. That Iceland enact legal and societal reforms in order to ensure that non-native citizens and legal residents are able to fully enjoy their constitutionally and internationally protected human rights.
  3. And finally, that Iceland prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking.