Iceland, as a member of the European Economic Area (the EEA), aligned itself with the statement made yesterday by our colleague form the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union. Let me, however, make a few comments on Agenda Item 89(b).
I would like to begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his thorough report on the World Survey on the Role of Women in Development. It is true that the human rights of migrant women and trafficking of women and girls are issues of great concern.
International migration can contribute in a positive manner to development and economic growth, if appropriately regulated and controlled. But if we are to reduce the negative effects on the migrants themselves we must recognize the need to promote and to protect their human rights.
The gender equality perspectives are highly important in migration because gender inequality can both be the cause and the consequence of international migration. Promotion of gender equality will, therefore, contribute to the reduction of the negative impact of migration.
Another challenge that is closely linked to migration is the rapid growth of human trafficking and smuggling. The fight against trafficking in human beings should be a priority to us all as most states are affected either as countries of origin, countries of transit or countries of destination. There is a reason to believe that attempts are made to use Iceland as a country of transit and the Icelandic authorities have taken steps accordingly.
Trafficking in human beings is a global problem and as such it needs to be dealt with by the international community as well as at the national level. Iceland has signed the UN convention against transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and work to ratify the convention is ongoing. Further the Icelandic Parliament has now passed a new act amending the Penal Code under which trafficking in persons will be punishable as such.
Efforts have also been put into raising public awareness on what trafficking in women involves. With this aim in mind, three conferences have been held within the last two years on various aspects of trafficking in persons.
The fight against human trafficking remains one of Iceland?s priorities. We have actively participated in the international fight against this serious crime through the Nordic Ministerial Council by participating in a Nordic-Baltic Task Forces against Trafficking in Human Beings. The fight against human trafficking is also one of our main priorities in our work with the OSCE. Iceland finances a female anti-trafficking officer within the OSCE Mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.