Christina Milcher, vice-chair W.O.M.E.N., wrote about the current state of Icelandic law on asylum seekers and women victims of sex trafficking who are now on the streets in Iceland:
“As Iceland is often described as a feminist paradise one might be excused to think that these kind of (https://www.visir.is/g/20232448665d, https://www.visir.is/g/20232449068d/tholendur-mansals-sviptar-ollum-rettindum-og-visad-a-gotuna) news stories are exceptions.
Unfortunately, this is not true. Both these stories are examples of the new Law on Foreigners working as intended, as the Minister of Justice said herself (https://www.visir.is/g/20232449413d/-login-eru-ad-virka-sem-skyldi- ). The goal of this law was exactly to remove the irritating hurdles of having to consider the human rights of the most vulnerable members of this society. The cruelty was the point. Among others UNICEF, UN Women, the Red Cross, the Icelandic Human Rights Centre and the Icelandic Women’s rights association all protested this law for exactly this reason.
Now victims of human trafficking are routinely pushed back into the hands of their traffickers’, while the politicians who put this law into action attend feminist conferences and take pictures with organizations like us to further their brand. Iceland might call itself a feminist country, but it is also a country of „white feminism“. And we can be blamed, too. For not having protested strongly enough. For still being willing to sit in government committees and attend conferences, where in order to have a seat at the table we have to allow ourselves to be instrumentalised. We can certainly be criticized for being an organization where the voices of more privileged women of foreign origin have been the loudest. Of course there are also those who would argue that being too antagonistic would hurt our chances to lobby for the interests of our fellow women of foreign origin. In response I can only point to the list of organizations who in vain lobbied against this law.
Our human rights are up for discussion, this much is clear now. Even those who claimed to be feminist are willing to vote for and sign into law a removal of our basic rights. Some antagonism might be called for. Let us stand in solidarity with each other.”