Did you know that…………

 

  • The Status of Refugees is the key document which is intended to determine who is a refugee, what their rights are and what are the legal obligations of states when it comes to dealing with refugees. It was finalized at the The Refugee Convention, held by the United Nations General Assembly in 1951. It was ratified by Iceland in 1955 and became effective in March 1956.
  • 1956 -The first refugees came to Iceland. 52 people from Hungary.
  • 1959 - 32 refugees came to Iceland from Yugoslavia. In 1979, 34 refugees came to Iceland from Vietnam, and in 1982, 26 people came from Poland. In 1990-1991, 60 more refugees came to Iceland from Vietnam
  • 1991 - Society of New Icelanders (SONI) was founded. The first chairman was Hope Knutsson. Their role was to give foreigners social support and education about Icelandic society.
  • 1993 (26th August) - Information and cultural centre for new arrivals was founded. It was run by the sports and leisure committee in the city of Reykjavík. Its role was to give service to parents and children from other countries, living in Iceland.
  • 1995- (8th February) The Icelandic Refugee Board was established.
  • 1996. Toshiki Toma from Japan starts serving as a pastor for immigrants and their families in Iceland at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland.
  • 1996, (4th November). First meeting of Multicultural Council.  Society of New Icelanders (SONI) had the initiative of establishing a council that would give the government and institutions in Iceland advice about development and implementation for foreigners.
  • 1998 – The first Multicultural Festival in Iceland was held in Ísafjörður on the United Nations International Day against Racism, 21st March. The initiative came from locals in Ísafjörður, mainly women who were interested in getting together the “human wealth” in the different people from abroad, that had come to the Westfjords to live. At that time immigrants numbered about 500, from 40 nations. Since then, festivals have been held in different parts of the country.
  • 2000- Roots  (Rætur)- association founded in the Westfjords: The goal was to make relations between residents and new citizens stronger and easier, and work towards more understanding and respect for different cultures. Also to increase tolerance and kind thoughts between people.
  • 2001 – Multicultural Centre (30th of July) was formally opened. Roots association was a proponent for the opening of a centre for immigrants in the Westfjords and were heard by the parliament. The result was the foundation of the Multicultural Centre. Its location is in Ísafjörður and the centre serves immigrants living all over Iceland. The Multicultural centre has been a project in the ministry of social affairs from the beginning.
  • 2001 – Intercultural Centre was opened. Intercultural Centre took over the service from the Information and cultural centre. Originally Intercultural centre was a private limited company owned by the city of Reykjavík, Hafnarfjördur, Kópavogur and Seltjarnarnes.  From February 1st 2003 the centre became a private limited company owned by the Reykjavik Red Cross, with service agreement with Hafnarfjörður, Reykjavík, Kópavogur and Seltjarnarnes.
  • 2003 – Women of Multicultural Ethnicity Network - W.O.M.E.N. in Iceland. Association founded on 24th October 2003. The goal of W.O.M.E.N. is to unite, to express and address the interests and issues of women of foreign origin living in Iceland in order to bring about equality for them as women and as foreigners in all areas of the society.
  • 2003 – Dorrit Moussaieff and the president of Iceland, Mr Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, got married. Dorrit was born in Israel, and so the first lady of Iceland is an immigrant.
  • 2005 – Society of anti racists founded in Iceland. The goal was to fight racism of every kind. The board was half Icelandic and half foreign people.
  • 2007 - Paul Fontaine Nikolov was the first immigrant in the Icelandic parliament. He entered Althingi as an alternate for the Left- Green Movement. He is from the United States of America.
  • 2008 – Amal Tamimi was the first immigrant to chair the immigration council. Amal is from Palestine. The same year she was also the first immigrant ever in the town council in Hafnarfjörður.
  • 2008-The first immigrant to work in the city Council of Reykjavík was Falasteen Abu Libdeh – daughter of Amal Tamimi. She talked about human rights in the city in her first speech. She was an alternate for the Social Democratic Alliance.
  • 2008 – Iceland National Handball team wins silver in the Olympic Games. In the team, Alexander Petersson from Latvia was the first immigrant to win a medal in the Olympics for Iceland.
  • 2010 – Alexander Petersson  from Latvia was the first immigrant to receive the title Athlete of the year, from the Icelandic Sport Press Association.
  • 2010 (June) a change was made in the immigration system and legal and municipal aid was moved from the Intercultural Centre to the city's social welfare office (Service Centre of Miðborg and Hlíðar). It changed the role of the Intercultural Centre and operating activities was refurbished and the Icelandic name was changed from Alþjóðahús to Alþjóðasetur.
  • 2010 (6th November) the Multicultural Council in Reykjavik was established. Seven people (all of foreign origin) were elected as members of the Council on Reykjavik's Multicultural Congress. They are an advisory board for the Human Rights Council and other city departments in matters affecting immigrants.
  • 2011 - Pavel Bartoszek was elected to the Constitutional Council and was the only immigrant on the Council. Pavel is from Poland.
  • 2010 - 1,815 Children in preschools in Iceland had a foreign mother language
  •  In the autumn of 2010, compulsory level students with foreign first language numbered 2,318, or 5.4% of students. Most of them were Polish speaking, or 768 students.
  • 1st January 2011 - there were 25,693 immigrants in Iceland, or 8.1 % of the population . This is a decrease from 2010, when immigrants were 8.2% of the population, 26,171 in total.
  •  In total, the first and second generation of immigrants made up 8.9% of the population on 1st January 2011, which is the same as it was in 2010.
  • As in past years, Polish immigrants were by far the largest group of immigrants in Iceland in 2011. A total of 9,463 individuals originating from Poland, or 36.8 % of all immigrants. The next-largest group of immigrants are born in Lithuania, 5.7%, and 5.2% of immigrants are born in the Philippines.
  • On 1st January 2011 there were 21,143 people from 137 countries of foreign nationals with legal domicile in Iceland.
  • Proportionally, most foreign nationals are living in the Southwest, or 9.1%.  8.7% live in the Westfjords. Only 3.6% of the population in the Northeast are foreign nationals, and 4.5% of the population in the Northwest.
  • 2011 - Amal Tamimi became the first woman of foreign origin to take a seat in the parliament in Iceland.