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Statement of Iceland on racism

Harald Aspelund, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the international organisations in Geneva, delivered last Tuesday a statement in the Human Rights Council on racism and the importance of all states coming together to combat prejudice and persecution based on racial or ethnic origin. 




Iceland Statement under Item 8

24 September 2018



Mr. President,


Iceland is committed to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Icelandic Constitution prohibits discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and provisions in the General Penal Code specifically safeguard against such discrimination.


In addition, The Penal Code also makes it clear that any kind of attack or incitement against a person or a group of persons based on their nationality, ethnicity, race or religion is not tolerated.


We unfortunately see an increase in such incitement around the world. But this is not only true for racism and xenophobia but we also see increased intolerance and attacks being directed at those that fight for gender equality, as well as those that fight for the rights of LGBTI persons. Hate speech and incitement is never justified, for whatever reason. 


Mr. President,


Just yesterday our leaders came together in New York to celebrate the life and achievements of Nelson Mandela. There they committed to redouble efforts to build a just, peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and fair world, and revive the values for which Nelson Mandela stood by placing human dignity at the centre of their actions.


And relevant to the work of this Council, they recognised that the respect for the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights, as well as the fundamental freedoms, of all members of the human family is the foundation of inclusivity, justice and peace in the world. They declared that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance represent the very opposite of the noble purposes of the United Nations.


We must build on those commitments in our work to advance the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


Mr. President,


We all constitute one human family. We must never forget that it is our joint obligation to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We must work together to achieve this goal. Iceland is willing to its part.


I thank you Mr. President


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