The 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent was held between 28 November and 1 December 2011 in Geneva. The conference convened under the banner "Our World. Your move". Haukur Ólafsson, the head of the Icelandic delegation and Director of Human Rights Affairs at the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), addressed the conference and placed particular emphasis on the strengthening of international humanitarian law on the basis of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its additional Protocols.
At the conference, the head of the Icelandic delegation and Anna Stefánsdóttir, the Chairman of the Icelandic Red Cross, signed a pledge between the Government and the Red Cross on planned cooperation for the period of 2011-2015. The pledge details plans for an agreement on cooperation between the parties, promotion of international humanitarian law and a mutual exchange of information on global humanitarian issues.
Furthermore, the Ministry of the Interior will review current legislation regarding foreign nationals, from a human rights perspective. This will involve improvement of the processing time for asylum seekers in Iceland and a renewed consideration of the situation of vulnerable groups of migrants and asylum seekers. Additionally, the Government will work towards the preparation of the ratifications of the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The pledge also aims to uncover possible impediments to the facilitation of international assistance to Iceland in the case of large-scale disasters and, if necessary, take action to remove such impediments.
Iceland also took part in a joint pledge of the Nordic Governments and Red Cross societies on the provision of neutral and independent humanitarian assistance internationally.
Further information about the 31st International Conference can be found on the website of the International Committee of the Red Cross at: http://rcrcconference.org/en