Together with the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration, UNHCR organized an open seminar, highlighting Iceland’s accession to the Statelessness Conventions and the progress of the #IBelong-campaign, as well as a technical workshop for legal practitioners.
On 9 December, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration co-organized two events in Reykjavík, following Iceland’s accession to the Statelessness Conventions in January 2021. earlier this year.
The first was a public Seminar, welcoming Iceland’s important accession to both Conventions on Statelessness as well as the legislative steps, already taken in Iceland, to align national legislation with the conventions.
The most important results achieved in the seven years since UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign on eradicating statelessness was launched in 2014 were presented to the audience. UNHCR highlighted that with only 52 known stateless persons residing in the country, Iceland is well-positioned to be the first European state to eradicate statelessness by 2024.
The Directorate of Immigration explained the developments in Iceland since UNHCR’s statelessness mapping, published in 2014, as well as the plans for the future.
The second event was a technical workshop on ‘Operationalizing the Statelessness Determination Procedure’. The objective was to support the relevant stakeholders, including civil servants and legal practitioners, in the implementation of this key instrument for the identification and protection of stateless persons, to ensure that they enjoy the rights to which they are entitled.
As part of the legal improvements that Iceland has adopted in recent years in the area of statelessness, the country has become one of the only 14 states in Europe that have a Stateless Determination Procedure – the others being Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo (UNSCR 1244/99), Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Throughout the workshop, statelessness experts from UNHCR as well as from France and Georgia presented and highlighted experiences, challenges, good practices and international standards present in the implementation of the procedure.
In addition, the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration provided a comprehensive presentation of the Standard Operation Procedure, developed with the support of UNHCR, which explains the policy, process and procedure to be followed when considering applications of stateless persons for international protection in Iceland (under the Act on Foreigners, No. 80 of 16 June 2016).