Hoppa yfir valmynd


Apr 12, 2024Nordic statement on the opening of the port of Ashdod and the Erez crossing 12 April 2024

<p><span>The Nordic countries welcome the Israeli government’s announcement that life-saving humanitarian assistance to Gaza can be received in the port of Ashdod, that the Erez crossing will be reopened to facilitate entry to north Gaza, and that humanitarian assistance from Jordan entering through Kerem Shalom crossing in the south will be increased.</span></p> <p><span>The positive announcement needs to be followed by tangible action. There is an urgent need to ensure that adequate volumes of aid reach civilians in all parts of Gaza in a predictable and continuous way. International humanitarian law requires both parties to conflict to ensure that affected populations receive the necessary humanitarian aid, as well as to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. Humanitarian actors have the capacity to move the minimum requirement of 500 trucks needed each day. It will be crucial to deliver humanitarian assistance at this level. The establishment of a Humanitarian Coordination and Deconfliction Cell within the IDF is positive and reflects the need to better protect humanitarians in Gaza.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Administrative procedures, including screening processes, must be swift so that the volume needed can enter as quickly as possible. This includes allowing humanitarian aid now languishing in Amman and at various crossings to enter both through Erez, Kerem Shalom and additional crossings.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Israeli authorities must engage with humanitarian actors to allow and facilitate neutral, impartial and independent UN-led humanitarian action by UN agencies, including UNRWA, as well as ICRC and other relevant organisations.</span></p> <p><span>Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Denmark<br /> Ville Tavio Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland<br /> Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland<br /> Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, Norway<br /> Johan Forssell, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Sweden</span></p>

Apr 05, 2024UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

<p><span>The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that addresses the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran put forward by a core group led by Iceland. The resolution renews the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to monitor and report regularly on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In addition, it extends for one year the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission (<a href="https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3a%2f%2fwww.ohchr.org%2fsites%2fdefault%2ffiles%2fdocuments%2fhrbodies%2fhrcouncil%2fsessions-regular%2fsession55%2fa-hrc-55-67-en.docx&%3bwdOrigin=BROWSELINK">FFM</a>) which collects, analyses and preserves evidence on serious human rights violations following the death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini and the subsequent nationwide protests in the autumn of 2022.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Since 2021, Iceland has led an annual resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following the 2022 protest, in which women and girls played a key role, Iceland and Germany called for a Special Session in the Council and put forward a resolution which led to the establishment of the aforementioned FFM.</span></p> <p><span>The 55th session of the Human Rights Council commenced with a high-level segment, in which H.E. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, <a href="https://www.stjornarradid.is/efst-a-baugi/frettir/stok-frett/2024/02/28/Utanrikisradherra-avarpadi-mannrettindarad-Sameinudu-thjodanna/">addressed</a>&nbsp;the Council. In the session, which is the longest in the history of the Council since its establishment in 2006, thirty-two resolutions and two decisions were adopted. Key mandates adopted this session, in addition to Iceland’s initiative, included the renewal of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine stemming from Russia’s aggression, mandate renewal of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus and the establishment of a group of three independent experts, and the renewal of three mandates concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Furthermore, the Council adopted a resolution that seeks to protect the rights of intersex persons.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland is running for a seat in the Human Rights Council for the period 2025-2027. As an observer state, Iceland continues to actively engage in the Council. In addition to leading the resolution on the situation on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iceland was party to over thirty <a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/permanent-mission-of-iceland-in-geneva/statements/statement/2024/04/05/National-and-Nordic-Baltic-Statements-during-the-55th-session-of-the-Human-Rights-Council/">statements</a>, either in national capacity or together with the Nordic Baltic countries.</span></p>

Mar 19, 2024Iceland disburses annual core contribution to UNRWA

<p><span>Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, has decided that the payment of Iceland's core contribution to the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) will be made by 1 April.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>This follows extensive consultations among donors and the swift action taken by the UN leadership in response to allegations of involvement of twelve UNRWA employees in the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, following which Iceland delayed the disbursement of annual core contribution to the Agency.</span></p> <h2><span>Extensive consultations and a credible response by UN</span></h2> <p><span>The UN leadership has responded swiftly and in a credible manner to these allegations. The UN Secretary General has launched an independent external review, led by Ms. Catherine Colonna, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, as well as an internal investigation led by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services. UNRWA has, in parallel, launched an internal working group to enhance the Agency’s neutrality, accountability and internal oversight procedures, and agreed to allow independent auditing to strengthen internal supervision and to enable additional staff controls.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>In recent weeks, extensive consultations have taken place among donors and with UNRWA and the UN leadership, in which Iceland has emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation of the allegations, and the implementation of necessary reform based on the outcomes of the independent external review, with a view to ensuring the Agency’s neutrality and financial transparency going forward.</span></p> <p><span>Upon Iceland’s payment of its core contribution, UNRWA has agreed to provide Iceland with information concerning the progress UNRWA makes on controls, independent auditing, enhanced supervision and external reviews of staff and to protect Iceland’s financial contribution in case of suspicion or confirmation of risk, along the lines of agreements between UNRWA and the European Commission, Denmark and Sweden.</span></p> <h2><span>Iceland’s additional contributions in response to the situation in Gaza</span></h2> <p><span>Iceland has in recent months made considerable additional contributions in response to the crisis in Gaza, to UNRWA, to a World Bank fund for reconstruction efforts in Palestine, the ICRC-Red Crescent, and the International Criminal Court. Iceland has also made additional contributions to the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), which in 2023 allocated 18 million US Dollars towards emergency relief in Palestine.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland’s annual core contribution to UNRWA is 110 million ISK, in line with a framework agreement for the period 2024-2028, signed in September 2023.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland's position on the situation in Gaza has been clear in calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, protection of civilians, urgent access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and the unconditional release of hostages held by Hamas.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Mar 08, 2024Iceland’s delegation in Cairo has concluded its work

<p><span>Today, 72 Palestinians from Gaza with residence permit in Iceland have arrived in Iceland to be reunited with their families. Their passage from Gaza across the Rafah border, which requires approval from the Egyptian and Israeli governments, was facilitated by a delegation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs that had been operating in Egypt since 10 February.</span></p> <p><span>Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson, further requested assistance on this issue from his Israeli counterpart, Israel Katz, in a telephone call on 28 February. Following their discussions, the group was allowed to leave Gaza on 4 March, when they were escorted across the border by the Icelandic delegation, before being flown to Iceland.</span></p> <p><span>Under Icelandic law, consular services are not generally extended to residence permit holders but in view of the situation in the region a decision was made on 6 February to launch a one-off operation, which does not set a precedent or excess pressure on the Icelandic system.&nbsp;In line with this decision, a request was made to Egyptian and Israeli authorities to allow for the passage of Palestinians in Gaza who had been granted a residency permit in Iceland by 1 February.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The work of the delegation is now concluded in the region, but the situation continues to be monitored.</span></p>

Feb 28, 2024Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for collective action at the Human Rights Council

<p><span>Iceland’s Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson stressed the importance of collective action to address the regression of human rights as he delivered <a href="https://www.stjornarradid.is/raduneyti/utanrikisraduneytid/utanrikisradherra/stok-raeda-utanrikisradherra/2024/02/27/Avarp-radherra-i-mannrettindaradi-Sameinudu-thjodanna/">Iceland’s speech</a>&nbsp;at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The Minister’s speech, which was delivered through a video statement, constitutes a part of the High-Level Segment of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council that commenced at the start of the week with opening speeches from prominent UN leaders, including the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The universal protection of human rights and the importance of promoting unity around democracy and freedom were among the key areas of the Minister’s address.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>In his speech, the Minister highlighted the serious threats facing the international community due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as well as the horrific conflict in the Middle East.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">The Minister also expressed grave concern about rising polarization and the rapid decline of the human rights situation in numerous regions across the globe. " We must work together to reverse the serious backsliding of human rights we have witnessed lately, and secure the universal human rights of all people," said the Minister.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Furthermore, the Minister reiterated Iceland's priorities for its candidature for the Human Rights Council 2025 to 2027 as elections take place at the UN General Assembly in New York this fall.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"If elected, Iceland will actively contribute to the Council’s core mandate of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people and addressing human rights violations and abuses," said the Minister, who emphasized other priority areas of Iceland’s candidacy to the Council - the rights of women and girls, LGBTI persons, children and youth, and the environment.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Anna Jóhannsdóttir, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, participated on behalf of Iceland in the opening session of the Ministerial Segment of the Human Rights Council.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The Deputy Secretary General attended several other events during the Ministerial Segment, including a special event hosted by Ukraine commemorating that two years have passed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an event hosted by Palestine addressing the impact of the conflict in Gaza on the current human rights situation in the country.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p>

Jan 30, 2024Financial support for UNRWA delayed

<p><span>Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, decided on Friday to delay the disbursement of Iceland’s annual core contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following reports of allegations of the involvement of twelve UNRWA employees in the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7. The decision to delay the disbursement was made to enable necessary consultations with key partners and to seek further clarifications from UNRWA.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>According to a framework agreement signed with UNRWA in September 2023 for the period 2024-2028, Iceland's annual core contribution to UNRWA is ISK 110 million per year. The agreement stipulates that the contribution should be paid in the first quarter of each calendar year. It is not excluded that the disbursement will be made within this timeframe, despite the delay.</span></p>

Jan 26, 2024Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the International Court of Justice's Order

<p><span>The Icelandic government has repeatedly called for a humanitarian ceasefire in order to ease the suffering of the people of Gaza. Today's Order of the International Court of Justice on provisional measures is a testament to the dire situation in Gaza and the obligations of the parties to the conflict to protect civilians. The Icelandic government respects the Court's Order and calls for its full and effective implementation.</span></p> <p><span>Most urgently, a lasting political solution to the conflict must be established. Civilians in Gaza must be protected, sufficient humanitarian aid must be provided and all hostages must be released.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Nov 17, 2023Iceland increases support to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza

<p>The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland has decided to provide an additional contribution of 100 million ISK in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The contribution will be divided between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). This was announced at a cabinet meeting today.</p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate and the need for humanitarian assistance is critical. Iceland will continue to do its part under these dire circumstances. UNRWA is mandated to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees and plays a key role in the UN emergency response on the ground. The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction to investigate suspected violations of international criminal law," says Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.</span></p> <p>With the contribution announced today, Iceland has contributed a total of 240 million ISK in response to the crisis. The contribution to UNRWA is Iceland’s third since the start of the hostilities, placing Iceland among the Agency’s highest contributing countries per capita this year.</p> <p>UNRWA plays a key role in transporting and distributing essentials such as food and water in Gaza. About 830,000 people, or half of all the internally displaced people in Gaza, have sought refuge in the Agency's emergency shelters, which previously housed UNRWA schools, health care and other services.</p> <p>On 9 November, a parliamentary resolution was approved by all parties in Alþingi, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, unimpeded access to basic necessities and respect for international law. It reiterates condemnation of the terrorist acts of Hamas, which claimed the lives of more than 1200 people in Israel, and calls for the immediate release of more than 240 hostages held by Hamas, of which around 30 are children. This message has been consistently repeated in Iceland’s statements on this topic, including at the United Nations. </p>

Nov 03, 2023Iceland doubles contributions to the United Nations emergency response in Gaza and calls for an immediate humanitarian pause

<p>The Government of Iceland has decided to double its financial contribution to the United Nations emergency appeal for Gaza. The decision was announced on 2 November during the 10th Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the situation in the Middle East, where Iceland also reiterated the call for an immediate humanitarian pause.</p> <p>“A humanitarian pause is required so that humanitarian partners can get critical relief items into Gaza and provide life-saving assistance to those in need. Iceland will be channeling this additional contribution through UNRWA, an organization that plays an essential role in alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable people in Gaza,” says Mr. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.</p> <p>In his<a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/permanent-mission-of-iceland-to-the-united-nations/statements/statement/2023/11/02/Statement-at-the-Emergency-Special-Session-of-the-UN-General-Assembly/" target="_blank"> speech to the General Assembly</a>, the Permanent Representative of Iceland expressed serious concerns about the unacceptable loss of civilian life and suffering since the start of the hostilities, and alarm over the impact of mass evacuations of civilians in Gaza. He furthermore stated that this grave situation warranted an immediate humanitarian pause and humanitarian corridors to facilitate the safe delivery of aid throughout Gaza.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Permanent Representative of Iceland also conveyed Iceland’s grave concern over reports of possible violations of international humanitarian law that must be investigated. He also stressed the need to prevent further escalation of the conflict, and the crucial importance of creating conditions for a long-term political solution and peace based on a two-state solution.</p> <p>Iceland’s additional contribution of 70 million ISK (approximately 500,000 USD) to the UN emergency response in Gaza will be channeled through UNRWA, one of Iceland’s longstanding humanitarian partners and the lead UN agency mandated with supporting Palestine Refugees in the Near and Middle East. Out of the 1,4 million people currently internally displaced in Gaza, UNRWA is sheltering over 690,000 people in 149 UNRWA installations.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland’s contribution to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza since the outbreak of hostilities to date is 140 million ISK (or just over 1 million USD).</p>

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