Annual Review on Iceland
Equality and non-discrimination
- Iceland was reviewed during the UN Universal Periodic Review process in 2011 and the final report of the review will be adopted in 2012. During the review, it stated that the Parliament had adopted unanimously in 2010 legislation providing for a gender-neutral definition of marriage. No further recommendations on LGBT issues were made.
- In March, a Constitutional Council was approved by Parliament to prepare a proposal for a revised Constitution. From April to July, the Constitutional Council worked on the draft proposal of a new Constitution, receiving a formal request in July from 15 NGOs and institutions to include both sexual orientation and gender identity in the equality article of the human rights chapter of the draft. The group of NGOs and institutions included organisations representing the full range of the LGBT community, as well as HIV-Iceland and the Human Rights Centre. The Constitutional Council agreed to include sexual orientation as a ground of discrimination in the equality article, but not gender identity. It did this in spite of its acknowledgment of the poor situation of trans people in Iceland. The Council stated that the words “[…] and position in other respects” in the article also included trans people. It added that this interpretation was supported by various human rights conventions which Iceland had signed, ratifi ed or implemented in national legislation. The Constitutional Council handed its proposal for a new Constitution to the President of the Parliament at the end of July, with Article 6 on Equal Rights reading as follows ‘We are all equal under the law and shall enjoy our human rights without discrimination, such as due to gender, age, genetic character, place of residence, economic status, disability, sexual orientation, race, colour, opinions, political affi liation, religion, language, origin, ancestry and position in other respects. Men and women shall enjoy equal rights in every respect’.
Freedom of assembly
The Pride festivities are organised every year around the second week of August in Reykjavík, and include a Pride Parade and an outdoor concert. In 2011, the Mayor Jón Gnarr, appeared as Ms. Reykjavík. The Parade was attended by more than 100,000 people.
Legal gender recongition
In March, the Minister of Welfare appointed a special five-member commission on trans issues, to which Trans Ísland and The Human Rights Centre each appointed a representative. The commission drew conclusions for a reform of the legal status of trans people, in accordance with earlier recommendations from the Parliament’s Ombudsman. Indeed, the commission’s role was to consider the Ombudsman’s recommendations and draft proposals for reforms. It was given a year to conclude its work and present the Minister with proposals for improved legislation and administrative procedures. Currently, administrative procedures regarding trans issues posed a range of problems for the individuals involved. Diagnosis and treatment are provided by the same people that decide on whether a person meets the criteria for gender reassignment surgery. Procedures relating to registration of gender and name also pose serious problems for trans people and they do not enjoy full protection against discrimination and bias motivated speech. The main aim of the commission’s work is to make the necessary reforms to the legislation in order to clarify the legal status of trans people. The commission will consider whether the reforms should be in the form of a new piece of comprehensive legislation or amendments to diff erent pieces of existing legislation such as (i) the Law on the Directorate of Health: (ii) the Name Law: and (iii) the Law on the Rights of Children which would all need to be amended in order to secure the legal recognition of trans people.