European Action Week against Racism:
Mars 21 is the International Day against Racism and each year the UNITED association launches European Action Week against Racism around the date. ICEHR coordinates the week in Iceland.
ICEHR launched a design competition within the Academy of Arts for a logo matching the slogan for the Action Week of 2011, The racist is the other. The assistance of graphic designers and members of the board of ICEHR representing Samtökin '78 (the National Queer Association) and the Centre for Gender Equality was solicited to evaluate the entries. The winning logo (shown here on the right) was printed on postcards, leaflets and buttons, and distributed to crowds during a show organised by and for youth to promote equality. The participating youth were given t-shirts with the same logo.
Participating associations, coordinated by the ICEHR were youth groups from the Icelandic Red Cross, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland and the Multicultural Youth Square. Campaign events were held in three locations, Reykjavík, Akranes and Akureyri. Each location organized awareness-raising events, involving activities such as youth theatre, musical numbers, art work, games and much more. The scope of the Action Week has been widened by stretching the actual educational part out for a longer period of time within each organisation.
The participants in Reykjavík met on the 12th of March for educational workshops, where activities ranged from making posters and playing in anti-racism themed sketches, to openly discuss their feelings and attitude towards "the other". Various youth organisations as well as the Icelandic Red Cross were involved in the workshops.
The ICEHR ran a campaign on various radio stations, all of which broadcast throughout the country. Advertisements were made promoting equality and anti-discrimination by representing race, religion, disability, age, sexuality and gender. The campaign attracted a lot of attention and gave rise to public discussion and debate.
Training seminars for the media:
The ICEHR held training seminars for the media regarding anti-discrimination on grounds of five main themes – race, religion, disability, age and sexuality plus gender. The seminars received mixed interest, the National Broadcasting Corporation showed great interest, whereas some of the other media did not see the need for such education. The Union of Icelandic Journalists was also very cooperative.
Research to examine active participation of immigrants in Icelandic society:
Migration to Iceland has increased dramatically in the recent years and both statistics and research are lacking. Therefor ICEHR conducted a research on the participation of immigrants in civil society and labour market in the economic recession. The research focused on different immigrant groups in Iceland, particularly on youth (15-24 years) on the one hand and on the other hand on adults (older than 24 years). Both immigrants and people providing different services for immigrants were interviewed. The research results were presented at an international conference in October and care was taken to invite the national authorities so that the results would be of assistance in the adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination action plan in Iceland modelled from the EU equality directives.
Tear Down the Walls:
Under the name of Tear Down the Walls seminars were held on discrimination, multiculturalism, its implications, challenges and benefits, working and living with immigrants, the psychological effects of moving between cultures, intercultural relations and other subjects. The seminars were held for Red Cross volunteers and staff, staff in local community institutions, local media people and others forming a support group put together for speaking out for diversity and undertaking various social activities.
The Tear down the walls - on tools to manage cultural diversity in smaller municipalities conference was organized in cooperation with the Icelandic Red Cross and the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland. During the conference various social activities for mixed groups of locals and immigrants were carried out. An example is Fun Together for children in grades 5 – 7, Cooking Diversity for immigrants and local families, Women first! - Network for vulnerable women and a Festival of Nations. Special focus was put on unemployed immigrants and effort made to motivate them to participate in social projects, actively search for job opportunities and use all means generally available to unemployed people in Akranes.
Peer education program:
An educational program was developed where young representatives for the LGBTQ community, immingrants and disabled individuals formed an educational team that visited all 13-14 year old secondary-school children in Reykjavík. Representatives were from the National Association for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Samtökin '78 (the National Queer Organisation) and the Multicultural Youth Square.
Municipalities against Stereotypes, Prejudices and Negative Attitudes towards Ethnic Minorities:
Various activities were held over the period from December 15, 2010 to December 31, 2011 with the goal to better implement the national legislation on non-discrimination and to implement a policy to combat discrimination and promote equality beyond legislation. Activities included publishing and distributing newsletters in different languages, containing information from the government, Municipal agencies and institutions, NGO's and others to improve access to services. A survey was conducted to measure attitudes regarding discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic origin and reveal the barriers that young people are facing in their day to day life. A programme that was held on cooperative learning in multicultural groups was well attended by secondary school teachers and the highlight of the whole project was the Multicultural Day and Festival.