It is an honour and pleasure for me to get the opportunity to address you all here at this International Festival on the East Fjords.
I specially wish to thank for the important work that has been done by the Municipalities here on the East Fjords concerning immigrants. I look forward to studying this report.
This study concerns people that have moved to Iceland, often from far away, mainly to participate in one of the largest construction work in the world, Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project, and also in other construction projects here on the East Fjords.
We are indeed grateful for your participation. Because of your participation we now experience an economic growth in our society rather then inflationary pressure.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about a new policy that was recently passed by the Icelandic Government concerning integration of immigrants.
With this new policy our aim is to ensure that all citizens experience equal rights in our society and have the same possibilities of participation in our day to day life.
Goals are set forth in the policy that concern for example:
- Icelandic language studies for foreigners
- The delivery of information
- Employment and educational matters and
- Matters concerning health- and social services
In the new policy there is also a discussion on the role of non-governmental organisation and welfare institutions in protecting the quality of life for all citizens.
The policy deals with how these goals should be met ? or should I say how our journey to equal opportunities for all in our society should be.
Here I can also mention that this year Iceland will participate in the European Year 2007 ? Equal Opportunities for All.
We have planned activities that we hope will raise awareness among the general public and among groups at risk of discrimination on resolving acts of discrimination in every-day situations. My hope is that participation in the European Year will have a positive impact in promoting equal rights for all in Iceland.
I thank you for your kind attention and wish all of you a joyful Festival.