This summer, Iceland is putting foreign affairs and human rights on the forefront of their political agenda. Recently, the government has made strides in strengthening its relationship with Ecuador and its positions on the UN Human Rights Councils.
Iceland replaces the United States at UN Human Rights Council
Iceland was elected to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations General Assembly on July 13th, 2018, after receiving 172 out of 178 votes. They will fill the vacancy on the Council left by the United States and will serve until the end of 2019. Iceland plans to prioritize the protection of gender equality and the human rights of all, including the LGBTI+ community. “The role of the Human Rights Council is to promote and protect human rights and Iceland is ready to contribute to this work,” said Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. “The broad support Iceland has received in this election is encouraging and we are ready to take on the responsibility that comes with serving on the Council.”
EFTA States Sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Ecuador
On June 25th, the European Free Trade Association, comprised of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Ecuador. The Agreement was created to strengthen ties and business opportunities between Ecuador and EFTA countries, focusing on trade in goods, trade in services, intellectual property rights, government procurement, competition, trade and sustainable development and cooperation. Both parties acknowledged that signing the Agreement created a landmark for strengthening their economic relations. “We are convinced that this Agreement will create additional business opportunities for economic operators both in Ecuador and the EFTA States,” said Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Foreign Minister and Chair of the EFTA States.
Bragi Gudbrandsson Serves on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
Mr. Bragi Gudbrandsson of Iceland was elected on June 29, 2018 to serve as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Gudbrandsson was one of nine members elected that day, obtaining the second highest number of votes after the Samoan candidate. Currently, the committee is composed of 18 members of high moral standing and competence in the field covered by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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