The City of Reykjavík’s Human Rights Policy
Passed by City Council on May 16th, 2006
Revision passed by City Council on May 7th, 2013
Revision passed by City Council on October 18th, 2016
- Basis for the City of Reykjavík's Human Rights Policy
- Gender equality
- Health and physical ability
- Body build and type
- Sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sexual characteristics
- Religion, atheism, non-religous convictions and political opinions
- Origin and nationality
- The enviroment
- The City of Reykjavik as a partner and purchaser
- Gathering and dissemination of information
- Responsibility and procedures
The City of Reykjavík's Human Rights Policy is based on the human rights provisions of the Icelandic Constitution and international conventions, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons. The policy is founded on the principle of equal treatment, aiming to enable all persons to enjoy basic human rights regardless of their origin, nationality, class, language, skin colour, religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, political opinions, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sexual characteristics, age, disability, body build or type, health, ability or other status.In all its work the City of Reykjavík shall be guided by considerations of human rights and it is committed to leading the way in human rights issues with a special emphasis on the equal status of all genders. A comprehensive human rights policy also counters multiple discrimination, and the City emphasises the importance of an overall vision to benefit residents, many of whom belong to more than one of the groups it covers.
The Human Rights Policy is based on, among other things, the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights for Males and Females, hereafter referred to as the Equal Rights Act. The emphasis on equal rights for women and men must be visible in all city operations and the gender situation should be examined specifically in all groups covered by the policy. That said, it must be borne in mind that traditional definitions of male and female do not always apply and not everyone defines themselves as either male or female.City authorities commit themselves to promoting human rights in four main areas, each of which reflects the multi-faceted role and responsibilities of the municipality as a public authority, an employer, a service provider and a partner of parties working to advance human rights and parties with whom the city interacts and does business.
The City of Reykjavík as a public authority
As a public authority, the City of Reykjavík emphasises equal treatment, human rights and co-operation with residents, and has determined to lead the way in this respect. Decisions taken by the City should be transparent and guided by the interests of its residents. As a public authority, the City of Reykjavík shall endeavour to consult with residents and encourage their democratic involvement in matters concerning them in one way or another, creating a forum and channels for such participation.
The City of Reykjavík promotes equality among its employees, for instance, as provided for in the Equal Rights Act, and ensures that its personnel reflect the diversity of the community. As an employer, the City of Reykjavík wishes to set an example in this regard and to utilise for this purpose its employee policy, employment policy, cultural policy, purchasing guidelines, information policy and preventive strategy, as well as other policies adopted.
The City of Reykjavík respects its employees' freedom of expression and encourages them to point out possible improvements at their workplace to benefit service users and their colleagues. All employees are obliged to show courtesy and tolerance in their work with vulnerable service users, avoiding any actions contrary to the City's human rights policy or which could discredit their work. No deviations will be made from the protection and respect provided for by international conventions and the human rights provisions of the Icelandic Constitution with regard to freedom of expression.The City of Reykjavík as a service provider
The City of Reykjavík plays a key role in its residents' welfare. All of the City's policies should work effectively and systematically at shaping and developing services, cultural activities, education and information dissemination to benefit equal rights and diversity in the community, so that everyone will have equal access and can participate on their own premises. Service users are encouraged to express their views on the supply of and arrangements for activities with the City of Reykjavík.
The City of Reykjavík as a partner and purchaser
The City of Reykjavík emphasises collaboration with other public bodies, academia, the private sector and NGOs working to promote initiative, innovation and generation of knowledge in the field of equal rights and human rights. Furthermore, the City of Reykjavík emphasises that parties with whom it does business respect human rights.
2.2 The City of Reykjavík as employer
2.3 The City of Reykjavík as a service provider
Discrimination based on age is prohibited and the contribution of each individual, regardless of age, shall be assessed on its merit.
Measures taken by social services or public authorities shall always be aimed at optimally benefiting children and youth. Children and youth shall enjoy care and protection and public authorities shall see that this is enforced. The City of Reykjavík applies the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in all its work with children. This implies, among other things, the obligation to ensure children's rights to form their own opinions and to express them in matters of concern to them.
The City of Reykjavík shall safeguard the situation of persons facing difficulties with advancing age. Seniors, children and youth shall be consulted when decisions are taken affecting their interests. Care should be taken to avoid stereotyping people despite their belonging to a specific age group and special care given to examining gender status in the city at different ages.
3.1.1 Regard must be given to residents' views and needs regardless of age.
The City of Reykjavík is conscious that the concept of disability is subject to change and that disability can result from the interaction between individuals with limitations and attitudes regarding them which prevail in society and prevent their active participation in the community.The City of Reykjavík regards the contribution of disabled persons to the prosperity and diversity of the urban community as valuable. Active participation of disabled persons in society is a basic human right and benefits everyone.
Disabled persons are at high risk of encountering abuse and neglect, with disabled children and women at greatest risk. The City commits itself to direct special efforts to combat the danger they face.
4.2.1 The City of Reykjavík shall encourage the greater recognition of the talents and abilities of disabled persons and their contribution to their workplace and the labour market as a whole. Disabled applicants for jobs with the City shall be given priority if they are equally or more qualified than other applicants, cf. Art. 32 of Act No. 59/1992, on the Affairs of Disabled Persons. Disabled Persons shall enjoy the same terms of employment as others, cf. Art. 1 of Act No. 59/1992, on the Affairs of Disabled Persons. The City of Reykjavík is committed to hiring the same proportion of employees with restricted work capacity as exists in the community at large. Furthermore, the City is committed to offering part-time work.
4.2.2 When disabled persons are hired they must be ensured suitable introduction to their new work and enjoy continuing education and professional development equally with other employees.
4.2.3 Employees shall make every effort to create a working environment free of prejudice.
4.3.3 All childcare and leisure activities, education, information and cultural activities operated by the City shall take the needs of disabled persons of all genders into consideration and provide special support to enable them to enjoy these equally with others. Disability should not be a sensitive subject and instructional materials shall always portray the diversity of the human condition. The variety and diversity of the community shall be reflected in activities for children and youth at all educational levels. Efforts shall be directed at eliminating prejudice towards disabled persons.
5.2.2 A person's health or medical history may not, without due cause, affect his/her hiring, terms of employment or dismissal. If reference is made to objective causes they must be incontrovertibly related to the nature of the work.
5.2.3 If changes must be made to an employee's work duties, the employee and City authorities shall consult fully regarding such.
5.2.4 Illness alone is not sufficient cause for dismissal unless this has a lasting and substantial impact preventing the person concerned from performing his/her duties. The City of Reykjavík will make an effort to ensure that employees who have been ill shall have the possibility of returning to work, provide for adaptation as necessary and determine their working arrangements in consultation with the employees.
5.2.5 Employees shall be ensured the option of continuing education and professional development regardless of their health or physical ability.
5.2.6 Every employee is entitled to a work environment free of prejudice and discrimination. Employees shall endeavour to create a working environment free of prejudice in all respects and work determinedly at eliminating prejudice based on a person's health or physical ability.
Access to services irrespective of a person's health or physical ability shall be ensured.
The City of Reykjavík regards prejudice and discrimination in connection with body build to be a social injustice which should be combated. Teasing, hostility and mobbing in connection with body build among children and youth comprises such injustice and school should take effective action against such. This applies also to recreational and cultural activities organised by the City.
6.1.1 NGOs concerned with body respect shall be consulted when decisions are taken which could affect persons due to their body build, appearance or body type.
6.1.2 Care shall be taken to prevent the City's activities from encouraging negative attitudes, stereotypes, prejudices or discrimination in connection with build, appearance or body type.
6.2 The City of Reykjavík as employer
6.2.1 Persons may not be dismissed or refused work, career advancement, wage increases or rewards in their work due to their body build, appearance or body type.
6.2.2. The City of Reykjavík shall make an effort to create a constructive atmosphere in City workplaces, free of stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination in connection with body build, appearance and body type.
6.2.3 Employees shall endeavour to create a good working environment in every respect, showing respect for colleagues regardless of their build, height, appearance or body type, both within and outside the workplace.
6.2.4 City efforts in health promotion should not focus directly on employees' body build but rather on creating better opportunities for healthy lifestyles and encouraging social inclusion.
6.3 The City of Reykjavík as service provider
6.3.1 All childcare and recreational activities, education and cultural events shall take into consideration that participants differ in their physical size and type. Different body types and appearances should be discussed in a positive and unprejudiced manner. Teachers and personnel in schools, recreational centres and other activities involving children and youth shall make human diversity visible in their work, e.g. in the selection of instructional and leisure materials. Instructional or leisure materials presenting negative stereotypes with regard to body build, height or appearance shall be avoided.
6.3.2 School administrators and other persons responsible for school and recreational activities under the City's auspices shall see to it that health promotion efforts are free of negative messages regarding build, appearance or body type, as it is important for children and youth to feel they are welcome and respected on their own premises.
7.1.2 Decisions concerning LGBTQI persons must be taken with active consultations with their respective NGOs.
7.2.1 The right of persons to discuss or not to discuss their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sexual characteristics shall be respected.
7.2.2 Employees shall create an atmosphere free of prejudice towards LGBTQI colleagues, both in work and recreational workplace activities.
8.1.1 In preparing decisions affecting religious organisations or organisations with non-religious convictions these groups shall be consulted.
8.2.1 The City of Reykjavík shall not discriminate between the terms of employment of its employees based on religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, political opinions or other irrelevant reasons.
8.2.2 All employees shall enjoy the same opportunities for professional development and continuing education regardless of their religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, or political opinions.
8.2.3 All City employees shall be responsible for creating a working environment free of prejudice.
8.2.4 The right of persons to discuss or not to discuss their religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, or political opinions shall be respected. Religious observance or expression of political views may not disrupt workplace activities.
8.3 The City of Reykjavík as a services provider
8.3.1 Everyone shall have equal access to the City's services regardless of religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, or political opinions.
8.3.2 All childcare and leisure activities, education, information and cultural activities operated by the City shall take into consideration diverse customs in connection with religion or non-religious convictions. It is important to avoid the assumption that everyone is of the same religion or is religious even though the religious holidays of the Evangelical Lutheran church are celebrated in accordance with Icelandic law. Religion, atheism or non-religious convictions shall be presented in connection with pupil's studies and human diversity described. No one religion or non-religious conviction shall be favoured above others and care shall be taken to show impartiality in children's study materials and instruction.
8.3.3 The City's services shall be characterised by constructive communications and mutual respect, regardless of a person's religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, or political opinions. Efforts shall be made to eliminate prejudice towards religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, or political opinions.
9.2.2 Persons of foreign origin shall enjoy equal treatment in all aspects of the recruitment process and in all terms of employment and rights. They shall benefit from their capabilities and be assigned duties in accordance with them. Persons of foreign origin applying to work for or already employed by the City shall benefit from guidance for recognition of the educational qualifications which they possess.
9.2.4 In the City's workplaces efforts shall be directed to counter prejudice based on origin, skin colour, nationality or cultural background. They shall also offer instruction on diversity as necessary or as requested.
9.3.1 All childcare, educational, recreational and cultural activities under the City's auspices shall show consideration for the needs of children of foreign origin. They shall be provided with special support and instruction in Icelandic in order to enjoy the same opportunities as other children. Care shall also be taken to ensure Icelandic children receive instruction on other cultures to encourage mutual adaptation. It is also important to ensure participation by parents of foreign origin in the school and recreational activities of their children and their access to information. Variety and diversity in the community is reflected in daily activities with children and youth. They shall be given opportunities to maintain their mother tongue and present their cultural heritage.
9.3.2 City institutions shall prepare accessible and easy-to-understand information on the City's services in the languages of those groups which are most numerous in Reykjavík. This includes online information, pamphlets and advertisements as appropriate, cf. the City's information policy.
9.3.3 Employees shall create an environment which is free of prejudice towards individuals based on their origin, skin colour, nationality or cultural background. Employees shall strive to have friendly relations in spite of the obstacles presented by different language abilities. Employees need to be ensured the knowledge they need to work in a multicultural and diverse urban community.
10.2 The City of Reykjavík as an employer
10.3 The City of Reykjavík as a service provider
10.2.3 The City of Reykjavík is committed to providing its residents with a healthy environment which is not detrimental to their health. This entails the obligation to ensure a high level of environmental protection and environment quality, including a special policy regarding waste, noise, air quality and biological diversity, to counteract the impact of climate change.
The City of Reykjavík recognises the right of every person to live in peace and security. A peaceful environment is one in which people live in security, free from war, restriction of liberty, threats or harassment of any kind. All residents should be able to travel throughout the City without any threat to their security.
11.1 The City of Reykjavík as a public authority
11.1.1 The City of Reykjavík wishes to do its part in ensuring the peace and security of residents through positive co-operation with the parties concerned in each case.
11.1.2 The City of Reykjavík safeguards peace and security in its dealings with local authorities and international exchanges. The City emphasises in every respect its role in preventing violence and encouraging peaceful and constructive relations, whether between individuals, states or international institutions.
11.1.3 The City of Reykjavík works to ensure that the urban environment is as safe as possible, bearing in mind especially groups which are more vulnerable than others to systematic abuse.
11.2 The City of Reykjavík as an employer
11.2.1 The City of Reykjavík recognises the right of employees to a safe working environment which does not endanger their health. The City of Reykjavík promotes safety and well-being in the workplace and adopts measures to ensure that City employees are not subject to mobbing, harassment, sexual harassment, or any other form of abuse. This entails, among other things, that the City of Reykjavík will not tolerate abusive or provocative material in the work environment, such as sexually offensive material or material expressing prejudice towards a certain group, as this can have a negative impact on well-being in the workplace.
11.2.2. The City of Reykjavík shall instruct employees on mobbing, harassment, sexual harassment and violence in the workplace, including towards users of the City's services. Response plans must be available. Special attention shall be given to mobbing which can appear in the form of racism, prejudice against disabled persons, age prejudice and prejudice towards LGBTQI persons. The differing situations of various genders and multiple discrimination must also be given attention.
11.3 The City of Reykjavík as a service provider
The City of Reykjavík is committed to providing a safe and peaceful environment for its residents. This entails actions to reduce or eliminate risks in the environment, for instance by ensuring the safety of buildings and proper lighting. Special attention needs to be given to the different difficulties faced by people with regard to security. Consideration needs to be given to differing situations with regard to gender, age, origin, disability and other aspects covered by the human rights policy. Special attention needs to be given to the impact of multiple discrimination.
The City of Reykjavík co-operates with various parties in its human rights efforts. The purchasing policy of the City of Reykjavík states that in its procurement consideration must be given to quality, the environment and human rights.
12.1 The City of Reykjavík collaborates with state authorities, other local authorities, grassroots organisations, NGOs and educational institutions to promote initiative, innovation, generation of knowledge, advice, instruction and voluntary efforts to promote human rights.
12.2 All the City's committees and councils which award grants are to follow its human rights policy and be guided by human rights considerations.
12.3 Grants awarded by the City of Reykjavík are subject to the condition that the work counteracts discrimination and supports equal rights. The City's Human Rights Council can request a report on the use of a grant in order to monitor that it is used on an equal rights basis, if applicable.
12.4 The City of Reykjavík reserves the right to request that partners receiving grants from the City compile a human rights plan with measurable targets.
12.5 The City of Reykjavík requires those private companies from which it purchases services to respect the human rights of those persons to whom they provide services on the City's behalf and avoid discrimination among their employees.
12.6 The City of Reykjavík encourages private companies from whom it purchases services to adopt a human rights plan with measurable targets.
The City of Reykjavík will gather and disseminate information on the situation and circumstances of all groups covered by this policy. The City of Reykjavík has an information policy which states that the City will disseminate accessible and easily understandable information material in the languages of those foreign residents who are most numerous in the City.
13.1 Attitudes towards the City's services are examined, both through opinion surveys and other routes, to determine whether residents are discriminated against with regard to services.
13.2 The City of Reykjavík shall follow up on its policy and examine the situation of City employees with a gender analysis.
13.3 All gathering and analysis of data by the City of Reykjavík shall include a gender breakdown, cf. Art. 16 of the Equal Rights Act, and furthermore with a breakdown by those groups covered by the policy wherever practicable.
13.4 All knowledge gathered by the City of Reykjavík shall be disseminated systematically within the City and used to improve services, counter prejudice, promote human rights in City workplaces and inform residents.
13.5 All of the City's information material shall reflect and show consideration for the diversity of the urban community to the utmost extent possible.
14.1 The City's managers and employees are responsible for ensuring human rights and respect for them in the City's administration, in its workplaces and in its services, and provided with the funding and instruction to enable them to do so.
Management is responsible for:
a) working in accordance with the policy;
b) appointing human rights representatives in all divisions of City operations;
c) presenting the policy.
14.2 School and recreational centre administrators are responsible for ensuring:
a) information and discussion of human rights as part of school and recreational activities, cf. the National Curriculum Guide for Preschools and Compulsory Schools and Operational Guide for Recreation Centres;
b) that study materials and activities do not discriminate between genders, counteract prejudice and gender stereotypes and are based on principles of human rights;
c) instruction and working practices show consideration for the diverse community in which we live;
d) study and work counselling place emphasis on presenting to all pupils work which has previously been regarded as traditional male or female work.
14.3 Directors of sport, leisure, youth and cultural activities are especially responsible for:
a) organising social, cultural and recreational activities based on principles of equal rights;
b) ensuring that NGOs benefiting from premises, grants or other assistance provided by the City of Reykjavík, for instance, for sports, promote equal rights in all respects.
14.4 Directors of service institutions are especially responsible for:
a) ensuring the utmost equal treatment in provision of City services;
b) working effectively against prejudice in the service institutions and towards service users.
14.5 The Human Rights Council shall:
a) ensure that this policy is implemented;
b) present the policy and encourage gathering of knowledge and dissemination of information in consultation with residents and the parties involved.
14.6 The Human Rights Office shall:
a) prepare, in collaboration with the Human Rights Council, an operating plan and budget for human rights issues;
b) follow up on decisions of the Human Rights Council;
c) draft a Human Rights action plan in co-operation with the relevant parties;
d) encourage consultation within the City in those areas covered by the policy;
e) encourage discussion in those areas covered by the policy;
f) collaborate with NGOs and other local authorities in matters covered by the policy;
g) consult with those human rights representatives appointed by various divisions;
h) take the initiative for projects;
i) endeavour to ensure that residents are not discriminated against on the basis of their origin, nationality, language, skin colour, religion, atheism or non-religious convictions, political opinions, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sexual characteristics, age, disability, body build or type, health, ability or other status.