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Iceland

A. UN Convention status

A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention

Iceland signed both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol on 30 March 2007. In September 2016, Iceland's Parliament unanimously adopted the Foreign Minister's proposal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Ministry of Welfare appointed a committee for the ratification process of the CRPD into Icelandic legislation in February 2008. The committee completed a comprehensive report entitled Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Tillögur nefndar um fullgildingu samnings Sameinuðu þjóðanna um réttindi fatlaðs folks) in January 2010 about necessary steps that need to be taken for the implementation of the CRPD. Iceland's first disability strategy, known as the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons' Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, was passed on 11 June 2012. Section F.1 of this Resolution states the aim regarding the ratification of the CRPD. The Ministry of the Interior released a brief report on the state of ratification on 23 April 2013, among other things reiterating the government’s intention to ratify, and indicating that the legal analysis in its final phases but more work needs to be done in regard the compatibility of the CRPD with the Icelandic legal context and assessing the financial implications of ratification. The Plan of Action has also been extended until 2016, while a committee was formed in the spring of 2015 to look into drafting a new plan of action. In response to the slow pace of development in this area, the national disabled people's organisation in Iceland, (ÖBÍ), placed a petition on their home page in 2014 urging people to sign in order to pressure the Icelandic government to ratify the CRPD. In June of 2015, the Ministry of the Interior published a chart which outlines the work that has been done and is still outstanding in order for the ratification process to proceed. Much of this work concerns adjusting various Icelandic laws to be in accordance with the CRPD. In September of 2016, the proposal to ratify the CRPD was adopted by the Parliament.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol

Iceland signed the Optional Protocol on 30 March 2007. While the recently amended Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 makes reference to a plan to ratify the CRPD, no explicit mention is made regarding the Optional Protocol. The comprehensive report from the Ministry of Welfare on suggestions for revisions for the 1992 Law in anticipation of ratification includes the Optional Protocol as well as the CRPD. No mention is made regarding the Optional Protocol in Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40 nor in the 2013 report on the state of ratification issued by the Ministry of the Interior. At the time of ratification of the CRPD in September 2016, the Parliament agreed that the Optional Protocol to the Convention should also be ratified by the end of 2017.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections

Iceland has not made any formal declarations or reservations regarding the CRPD.

Update date: Fri, 2012-04-06

A4. Comprehensive review

An initial review of the existing legislation was concluded in 2010, resulting in three amendments to the Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 that took effect on 1 January 2011. The steps taken to amend the existing Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 met some of the suggestions found within the comprehensive report from the Ministry of Welfare regarding the ratification and implementation of the CRPD. However, a number of key suggestions were not included in the 2010 revision of the legislation. No focal point, coordination mechanism or independent mechanism has been established. Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, stipulates the creation of a collaborative committee of various ministries to review legislation that needs to be brought into accordance with the CRPD. On 23 April 2013, the Ministry of the Interior released a report on the state of ratification which includes a detailed table of the laws and regulations affected by ratification that will require modification, as well as the further legal review work that is required.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2015-02-27

A5. Focal point

Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016. Despite ratification, a focal point has not been established. The Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið) plays a dominant role in the governance of disability issues, yet a number of other Ministries, in particular the Ministry of the Interior (Innanríkisráðuneytið) are responsible for issues that concern disabled people as well as local authorities. At this point in time it is not clear as to what agency will be responsible for co-coordinating the efforts to implement the CRPD within the relevant offices and institutions.

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

A6. Coordination mechanism

While Article 33.1 of the CRPD specifies that State Parties shall establish a coordination mechanism, Iceland has not taken steps to do so. There has been some discussion of this matter and governmental committee has been at work on a review of the legislation, at this point in time it is not clear as to what agency will be responsible for co-coordinating the efforts to implement the CRPD.

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

A7. Independent mechanism

Currently no independent mechanism or monitoring framework has been established. However, in July 2016 the Ministry of Interior (Innanríkisráðuneytið) posted news on its website concerning a bill for an independent human rights institution in Iceland that would serve as the independent mechanism, as well as a call for comments.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

A8. Official reporting

Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016. An initial report is due two years after the date of ratification. No information has been published regarding Iceland‘s official reporting to the CRPD Committee.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-11

A9. Shadow reporting

Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016. Some DPOs in Iceland and individuals from the academic community have begun informal discussions on collaborating on shadow reporting.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-11

B. General legal framework

B1. Anti-discrimination legislation

Article 65 of the Icelandic constitution, the equality clause, refers to a number of factors but disability is not explicitly mentioned. The key piece of legislation in Iceland concerning disability, the Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities 59/1992, makes references to equality and living conditions, but makes no specific reference to anti-discrimination clauses or measures. The only explicit anti-discrimination legislation, definitions of discrimination, monitoring and administrative complaints mechanisms in Iceland are found within the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men 10/2008 which pertains specifically to issues of gender.

However, the emphasis on anti-discrimination on the basis of disability is an increasingly prominent feature in recent disability legislation. For example, Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, makes an explicit reference to anti-discrimination within the preamble which states: “Emphasis should be placed on human rights and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability,” as well as within Article C: “Disabled persons are to have the same right as other citizens to maintain their human dignity and enjoy autonomy, equality and solidarity, and shall not be subjected to discrimination.” Further, the new building regulations (Byggingarreglugerð) which were issued in 2012 (revised 2014, 2016) denote inaccessibility to the built environment as a form of discrimination. In March of 2013, a draft of a bill was presented for initial review concerning equal treatment in the labour market and submitted to the autumn session of the Parliament in October of 2013 (Frumvarp til laga um jafna meðferð á vinnumarkaði). This bill references the EC Directives 2000/78 and 2000/43 and makes an explicit reference to bans on discrimination in the labour market against disabled people and those with reduced work capacities. However, this bill was never introduced to the Parliament. The bill is still referenced as of January 2017 to be included into the 146th parliamentary session.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

B2. Recognition of legal capacity

Legal capacity in Iceland is governed by the Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 (Lögræðislög 1997/71). The age of majority is set at 18 years of age, and is determined on the basis of having attained this age as well as the competency to manage one’s finances (fjárráða) or having legally wed or entered into a common-law partnership. However, the operative terms of autonomy competence are not clearly defined. Instead, one needs to deduce their meaning from the articles within this Act based on the conditions under which legal capacity may be legally deprived. Legal capacity and competency in financial matters may be deemed to be compromised due to ‘mental retardation’ (andlegur vanþroski), infirmity due to advanced age (ellisljóleika), mental health issues or due to other serious health problems. Included as well as issues of incapacity are related to drug or alcohol abuse and other serious personal circumstances.

A bill before the Icelandic Parliament on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people was passed into law on 11 June 2011 as the Act on the Protection of the Rights of Disabled Persons, No. 88/2011. This law concerns a number of issues and touches on legal capacity. For example, Article 7 states that disabled individuals who are legally competent but find it difficult to manage their affairs as the result of their impairments are entitled to a spokesperson or advocate. Such an individual, chosen in consultation with the person with disability, his or her family and the local disabled people’s representative (trúnaðarmaður), is tasked to safeguard the rights of the disabled person, assist with making informed decisions, and assist in managing personal, medical and financial affairs. The law on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people was further amended on 25 June 2012 (59/2012) which placed a number of restrictions on the use of force and coercion, such as with regard to physical restraint, confinement, denial of access to property, forced usage of drugs or treatments, and other areas which may threaten self-determination and personal autonomy.

In 2015 the Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 was amended in order to fulfil the requirements set forth in the CRPD, which Iceland ratified in 2016. Deprivation of legal capacity requires a court order. Before the amendment this could be either temporary or indefinite depending upon the circumstances. Now the deprivation of legal capacity can only be temporary, and only if other means have been exhausted. Another amendment was made to reiterate that the judge shall summon the respondent to appear in court, not only for the respondent but also so the judge can form his or her own opinion about the applicant’s mental capacity.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

B3. Accessibility of voting and elections

The right to vote is covered under the Act on elections to Parliament 24/2000 (Lög um kosningar til Alþingis 24/2000). The right to vote in parliamentary elections is restricted to Icelandic citizens 18 years of age and older. The Act is predicated upon presumed capacity. In regard to issues of accessibility, Article 58 of the Act states that individuals who are hospitalised, or live in residential institutions for seniors or disabled people may vote at their respective institutions. Those who live in private residences but are not able to travel to the electoral station due to reasons of illness, disability or pregnancy may be able to vote from home. The application for such an arrangement must be submitted in writing 16 days prior to the election. Article 81 states that ballots must be provided with embossed lettering and in Braille for blind or visually impaired people. Articles 63 and 86 state that an electoral officer may assist a voter with visual or physical impairments in the act of voting, providing that the voter can articulate his or her voting intention. The assistance must come from the electoral officer. Primarily as the result of pressure from disabled people’s organization, the Act on Elections to Parliament was amended on 16 October 2012 (111/2012) so the voter may now choose the person who renders assistance in the act of voting. This amendment applies to both national as well as municipal elections.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2015-02-27

B4. Official recognition of sign language

A bill was passed into law on 27 May 2011 which recognises Icelandic Sign Language as an official language and the first language of deaf people in Iceland. The Law on the Status of the Icelandic Language and Icelandic Sign Language states (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls 61/2011) in Article 3 that Icelandic Sign Language is the first language of deaf, hearing impaired and deaf-blind people. Those who need to use Icelandic Sign Language should have the opportunity to learn and use Sign immediately, whether pertaining to the process of initial language acquisition or from the point of the evaluation of hearing impairment. These same rights apply to immediate relatives. The Law 61/2011 was referred to in a recent judgment (30 June 2015) by the Reykjavík District Court (E-327/2015) against the Icelandic state and the Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired (Samskiptamiðstöð heyrnarlausra og heyrnarskertra) for failing to provide adequate sign language interpretation for a young women with visual and hearing impairments. The court agreed that this violated her right to interpretation which was necessary for her to participate fully in society as others.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2016-04-14

B5. National disability strategy and action plan

The Iceland’s first disability strategy, known as the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, was passed on 11 June 2012. The Action Plan arose as the result of 2010 amendments to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People No. 59/1992. The Plan is mandated to take into consideration the CRPD, which Iceland ratified in 2016. The Plan is divided into eight categories concerning specific priorities. Each category is further sub-divided into between three to eight further aims. The major priorities include: Accessibility, Employment, Social Protection/Independent Life, Health, Image and Awareness Raising, Human Rights, Education, and Participation. Section F.1 of this Resolution states the aim regarding the ratification of the CRPD.

The Ministry of Welfare extended the implementation time of the Action Plan until 2016. The officially stated reason was the time required to implement a project concerning section C.5 on prosthetics on technical solutions.

Recently, the Ministry of Welfare has established a working group to draft a new Disability Strategy 2017-2021. A draft of this new action plan was sent out for comments and the working group has been reviewing the comments and polishing the draft of the new action plan that will be sent to the Parliament as a Proposal for a Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs 2017-2021.

Part of the preparation for the new Disability Strategy included a report entitled Framkvæmdaáætlun í málefnum fatlaðs fólks 2012-2014. Stöðu og árangursmat (October 2016) that contained a review of the progress made under the original Action Plan. In short, despite some positive steps made in some areas of the Action Plan, this progress report showed lack of implementation in many areas of the Action Plan.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

C. Accessibility

C1. Transport accessibility

Under the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs folks), accessibility issues and transportation matters are designated as municipal concerns. Article 35 states that municipalities are responsible for providing transport services for disabled people as well as establishing their rules of operation. The stated goal of this legislation is to ensure that disabled people are able to access transportation for the purposes of employment, study and leisure, although specific entitlements are restricted to travel needs to specialised service centres and programmes. Article A.2 of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 states the goal of making the public transit system accessible for all. However, it is also stated that this is limited to major transit routes and not the entire system.

Transportation options and services can and do vary across the country and priority is often given to transport for the purposes of employment, education and medical/rehabilitative needs. Using the capital area of the greater Reykjavík region as an example, there are two key public transportation options available for disabled people. One is the bus system, operated by Strætó, the municipal transportation service (Iceland has no train, subway or LRT system). The public bus system offers reduced fares for disability pensioners. However, while some of the newer buses are adapted to accommodate wheelchairs and computerised voice recordings announce each stop, there are older buses in service that remain less accessible and as such the service is unpredictable. The parallel transport service for disabled people is referred to as the Transportation service for the disabled (Ferðaþjónusta fatlaðra) and consists of small, specially equipped buses that are also visually distinct from the buses used in general service. Another option for those with visual impairments is an agreement between the Icelandic association of the blind and visually impaired with a local taxi company.

In May 2014, a new agreement was made between a number of municipalities in the greater Reykjavík area to consolidate the parallel transit system. The bus company, Strætó, is now employed by the municipalities to provide these services. An application for the use of this system must be approved beforehand by local municipal social services and priority is given to people with mobility issues. According to regulations issued by the city of Reykjavík in December 2014, the number of trips per month for work, school, medical and social reasons should not exceed 60. Users are required for pay for any additional trips. The service must be ordered online or via phone 2 hours in advance. A report was published in December 2015 which reviewed the status of this new arrangement between the municipalities and Strætó bs. Numerous criticisms were articulated by disabled people and their organizations. Among others cited in the report, the bus company lacked knowledge concerning the diverse and varied needs of the users of the service. About 20% of the users are wheelchair users and numerous technical issues were reported with the vehicles. Furthermore, there was little understanding of the needs of users with diverse and/or multiple disabilities, as well as people with intellectual disabilities and autism. One of the key issues identified in the report is a basic lack of consultation with disabled people about their needs, and that the knowledgeable staff members of the older parallel transit services had been replaced with newer and less knowledgeable drivers and dispatchers, often with a high staff turnover and little consistency or quality control.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2016-04-14

C2. Built environment accessibility

According to the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs fólks), accessibility issues are designated as municipal concerns, and as such there is no definition of accessible housing pertaining to national disability law. Article 34 of the Act states that municipal councils are responsible for plans to improve access to buildings.

In regard to new construction, the building regulations issued in 2012 (amended in 2016) cite ‘accessibility for all’ as one of the primary purposes of these regulations as well as promoting the concept of universal design. This pertains to newly constructed public buildings, as well as newly built private and social housing. The Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun), which was formed on 1 January 2011, is tasked, among other things, with the responsibility for issuing guidelines on how accessibility matters are implemented. There are some quite detailed accessibility guidelines, such as the 2005 handbook 'Accessibility for all' (Aðgengi fyrir alla), with similar levels of detail to be found in the 2012 building regulations. Chapter 6 of the building regulations is particularly relevant. The opening of the chapter reaffirms the regulation’s commitments to making the exteriors, entrances and internal access routes and rooms for newly constructed buildings usable for all. Section 6.1.2 contains significant language in that it reaffirms the commitment to universal design and importantly articulates lack of accessibility to buildings on the grounds of disability, impairment or illness (fötlunar, skerðinga eða veikinda) as constituting discrimination (mismunun). The needs of specific impairment groups are articulated within this section, referring to various types of physical and sensory impairments, as well as intellectual disabilities with the reference to the need to consider markings and signs in terms of visibility and legibility. While the building regulations govern all new constructions, section 6.1.3 stresses that there are particular demands that the principles of universal design must be applied toward the design and construction of all new public buildings, housing intended for disabled people, student dorms, and the internal traffic routes and rooms of ground floor apartments. Section 6.2 of the building regulations contains the technical details of the demands of universal design pertaining to exteriors, entrance ways and interiors of newly constructed buildings, often with references to specific needs pertaining to people with disabilities.

The building regulations governing new constructions are quite progressive and strong concerning accessibility. However, accessibility matters concerning existing and older buildings is less clear. For example, Section A.1 of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 seeks to ensure accessibility for all for the built environment, though it is clear from the text that this is in reference to public buildings and infrastructure and not private homes. Each municipality is envisioned as conducting a self-assessment of public buildings and infrastructure and to make plans for improvement. The responsibility is to lie with the individual municipalities in partnership with the National Planning Agency (Skipulagsstofnun) and the Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun). A 2016 report, which detailed the outcome of the Action Plan in regard to accessibility measures, was not encouraging. A number of municipalities around the country were consulted and their answers ranged from audits of accessibility being done, or analysed, or in process, or not done at all. However, it is clear that the emphasis is on publicly owned institutions, such as schools, pools, and some attention is on parking spaces.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

C3. ICT and Web accessibility

ICT and web accessibility in Iceland is voluntary and no legislation requires institutions or companies to make their websites accessible. The Icelandic government appears to have adopted the position of encouraging accessibility rather than legislating accessibility. Very little content of the 2011 media law (Lög um fjölmiðla 38/2011) makes reference to disability issues. For example, Article 30 suggests that efforts should be undertaken to make services accessible to people with vision and hearing impairments, such as through sign language, text and audio descriptions, but this is not a legally enforceable requirement. However, the regular assessment of governmental websites appears to be a priority. The most recent report was published in 2015 and conducted by Sjá, a net accessibility consultancy firm ('Hvað er spunnið í opinbera vefi 2015?'). These reports appear to be published on two-year intervals. The webpage maintained by the Icelandic government, Ut vefurinn, is a detailed repository of information concerning web accessibility issues. However, little new information concerning accessibility matters relating to disability were recorded in recent years. In 2013, the Law on State Broadcasting was passed (Lög um Ríkisútvarpið 23/2013). Article 6 of this law concerns accessibility to television broadcasts for deaf and hearing impaired people with the enhancement of state television broadcasts with sign language interpretation, text, or other suitable methods according to the available technology of the time. Iceland, as of the time of writing, has neither signed nor ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

D. Independent living

D1. Choice of living arrangements

According to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010, Article 5 now states that disabled individuals shall be entitled to have services where they choose to live. This is echoed in Regulation 1054/2010 on services to disabled people in their homes which places an emphasis on taking into consideration the preferences of service users with individualized service options. However, there still remains a clause in the Act 59/1992 whereby the municipalities (that are responsible for disability services as of 1 January 2011) retain the authority to decide on the nature and level of the services offered and thereby, in essence, govern where disabled individuals are able to reside. Regulation 1054/2010 clearly envisions the continued existence of group homes as a significant service option as well.

On 10 February 2012 a Handbook on user-led personal assistance (Handbók um NPA) was published. This guidebook is intended to be the first step toward the full implementation of NPA as a service option at the end of 2014, as stated in the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 as well as in provision IV of the amended Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992. However, this action plan has been extended until 2016 (recently, the Ministry of Welfare has established a working group to draft a new Disability Strategy 2017-2021) and new regulations governing state to municipal equalization payments concerning services for disabled people that were issued in 2014 (Reglugerð 242/2014) appear to have placed financial pressures upon the municipalities offering these services. In June 2012, guidelines for implementing of user-led services, were prepared for the municipalities in order to assist them in implementing this service provision (Leiðbeinandi reglur um innleiðingu NPA). Within the preamble of the guidelines it is stated that NPA in the future will be a major form of service provision for disabled people in Iceland. However, it also states that municipalities are not legally obligated to offer such services until a law on user-led personal assistance has been passed.

A collaborative pilot project on User-led Personal-Assistance (NPA) was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Welfare and the municipalities in Iceland. This pilot project was intended to run out in 2014 when law on NPA was introduced. However, this Pilot Project is still in operation as of the time of writing (2017). A large scale evaluation of the Pilot Project was carried out in 2015-2016 by the Social Science Institute and the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. In all, eight reports based on this evaluation were published in April 2016 and can be found on the web of the Ministry of Welfare (Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA - Icelandic only).

In developments in 2014 which may indicate the direction of governmental thinking, the municipal government of Reykjavík approved plans in April 2014 to build five new apartment complexes with shared support staff for 28 individuals with special support needs, including five spaces reserved for disabled children. In 2015, a High Court case decision (15 October 2015) 116/2015 Bjarnason vs. the City of Reykjavík raised questions concerning choice of living arrangements. The case concerned a young man with multiple disabilities who lived on his own with support, but did not receive the required around the clock assistance he needed. The court argued that the plaintiff chose direct payments and within the existing regulations which govern direct payments, the municipality did not violate the law. The court argued the plaintiff chose a ‘more expensive’ housing option, implying that a group home would be more appropriate and thus illustrates that disabled people in Iceland do not have the same ability to choose housing options as others.

Another case was presented to the High Court again the City of Reykjavik (80/2016 Salbjörg Ósk Atladóttir v/Reykjavík). In this case a young disabled woman who lived one week in her own apartment and another week in a respite home operated by the City of Reykjavík. The argument was that the City of Reykjavík's denial of a direct payment contract allowing her to live in her own apartment full time, instead of every other week, violated her rights. The interesting issue in this case was that this would not increase the cost of services provided to her. Despite this, Reykjavík was acquitted of the young woman's demands on a number of grounds. The ruling argued that (at the time) the CRPD was not ratified and that the housing arrangement, as it existed, did not violate the Icelandic constitution.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

D2. De-institutionalisation

In Iceland, the mid-1970s saw the emergence of the first small-scale group homes and which, by the 1980s, slowly began to develop as the preferred alternative to large state-run facilities. The ideology of normalisation and integration was reflected in legislation of the era, for example in the Law on support for the intellectually disabled 47/1979, which later incorporated all disabled people in the Act on the affairs of disabled people 41/1983. The contemporary form of this legislation is the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 and which contains some important amendments that were enacted into law in 2010 (Lög um breytingu á lögum nr. 59/1992, um málefni fatlaðra no. 152/2010). While the larger institutions have dwindled, what has emerged is a collection of group homes and service apartments, some of which replicate institutional patterns in their practices. New service apartments continue to be built, as evident in the plan approved in 2014 in Reykjavík to build 5 such apartments which will include 5 spaces for children.
The legislation regarding these matters has played a significant role in this regard in limiting choices on the part of disabled people, even though some of the legislation clearly envisions a deinstitutionalised and independent living scenario as the norm. Article 13 of the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended in 2010, states that disabled people should have access to social services that enable them to live in their own homes in accordance with their needs and wishes as much as possible. According to Article 42, a joint project between the state, municipalities and disabled people’s organisations has been working on establishing user-led personal assistance. Article 42 also states that no later than 2014 a bill shall be introduced that will enact user-led personal assistance into law, as echoed in the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140. However, this action plan has since been extended to 2016. Recently the Icelandic government has begun consultations for a new action plan that will span 2017-2021. Although these developments should be welcomed, it is important to point out that today user-led personal assistance continues to have the status of experimental even though the first experiments with so-called service contracts for personal assistance were tried as early as 1995. These services, however, are limited to a small number of people. The Regulation on services for disabled people in their homes 1054/2010 assumes both individualized services in private homes as well as group homes as co-existing service options.

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-06-07

D3. Quality of social services

After the transfer of the services for disabled people from the state run Regional Offices to the local municipalities on 1 January 2011, there is no independent regulatory body tasked to evaluate or regulate quality of community based services and no quality criteria have been defined. Following from the amendments made in 2010 to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, Article 4 states that the municipalities are responsible for the planning and implementation of services, including service quality. Article 3 states that the Minister of Welfare bears ultimate responsibility for the affairs of disabled people, public policy and quality standards, in consultation with the Association of Icelandic Local Municipal Authorities (Samband íslenskra sveitarfélaga) and disabled people’s umbrella organisations. Work to enforce this, however, has not been carried out systematically, despite the fact that Article 1 of Act on the Affairs of Disabled People states that the authorities must take into account the international obligations the Icelandic government have taken on, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A bill before the Icelandic parliament on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people (Réttindagæsla fyrir fatlað fólk) was passed into law on 11 June 2011. This law contains provisions about the role of the disabled people’s representative (trúnaðarmaður). According to this law, one of their roles is to monitor the situations of disabled people and work alongside them in enacting their rights. The role of the disabled people’s representative is bound to involve, in some regards, the monitoring of compliance with quality standards for services to disabled people. According to Article 7 of this act, a new form of appointed personal spokespersons will be developed whereby persons with disabilities can ask for a personal spokesperson to assist in decision making, guarding their rights, personal affairs and in matters regarding finances. According to article 3 of the aforementioned Act, the Ministry of Welfare has established a Human Rights Watch to monitor the human rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the latest developments in services in order to make best practice suggestions to the relevant agencies.
In the autumn of 2010, the National Audit Office (Ríkisendurskoðun) published a report entitled Þjónusta við fatlaða (Services for the Disabled). The report found that the organisation and management of services was in many ways lacking. The report also concluded that the monitoring of services previsions was unsatisfactory and that it is therefore not possible to ensure equality among services users. An important point raised was that the services offered by providers did not follow coordinated procedures, and due to that it was not possible to ensure equity of service quality. The report of the National Audit Office suggests that this state of affairs is reprehensible because, as the result of these circumstances, it is not possible to assess the benefits of transferring the services from the state Regional Offices to the local municipalities.

Links

Update date: Tue, 2015-06-09

D4. Provision of assistive devices at home

The provision of assistive devices at home in Iceland is the responsibility of an agency known as Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, which is governed by Sjukratryggingar Islands (Icelandic Health Insurance) and which, in turn, is regulated by the Ministry of Welfare. The legislation which governs the provisions of these devices is Reglugerð um styrki vegna hjálpartækja nr. 1115/2013. (Regulation on the supports for assistive devices). Under this regulation, funding is provided for assistive devices that are required for more than three months. The Regulation also contains detailed lists of the specific devices that are covered and the extent to which such devices are funded. The level of support for these devices range from 50% to 70% to 100% in regard to the extent to which the State will cover the costs of their purchase and installation. The 2013 revision included a number of cost cutting measures, such as increasing the cost users pay for things such as diapers. This regulation is governed by Article 26 of the Health Insurance Act (Lög um sjúkratryggingar 112/2008).
The devices that are eligible for such support are those which are deemed to limit the disabling impacts of impairments as well as facilitate the activities of daily living. Medical/rehabilitative certification is required prior to the authorisation for funding of such devices. Such funding is also limited to those who have legally resided in Iceland for six months and are already eligible for health care coverage. Those who live in group homes have the same rights to assistive devices as those who reside within private residences, but if a device may serve more than one individual and can be shared in the group home, funding is only provided for one such device. Similarly, difficulties arise whereby the home is one’s legal and primary residence and as such an additional device will not be provided for a second home, such as in the case of disabled children whose parents have dual custody arrangements. Funding for assistive devices is not provided for those who reside in healthcare facilities, retirement homes, temporary/short-term residential institutions, children’s homes and such. In these cases, the institution is considered to be responsible for providing the necessary devices with the exception that the device is needed in order to make the transition from the institution to a private residence.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes

Currently, only a small number of people in Iceland have negotiated a personal assistance scheme, but the situation is changing rapidly. While such schemes have existed for some time in Iceland on a trial basis, most municipalities have begun expanding the process of offering personal assistance since 2012, with the expectation that this would become a fully functioning service option in 2014 when a law on user-led personal assistance would be introduced. When in 2015 no such law had been introduced, the Action Plan was extended until 2016. Currently, the Icelandic government has been drafting and sending out for consultation a new action plan for 2017-2021. The national government which formed in 2017 has expressed its intent to introduce a bill which will make personal assistance schemes a service option choice. Currently there is no law which guarantees the right to user-led personal assistance and existing provisions are on an experimental basis. However, the legislation that supports this policy shift is Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010; Regulation 1054/2010 on services to disabled people in their homes; and the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140, which has since expired with a new plan (2017-2021) being developed. On a national level, the Ministry of Welfare has produced a Handbook on user-led personal assistance (Handbók um NPA) as well as guidelines for the municipalities. Most municipalities which are implementing such schemes have also produced their own guidebooks. Such schemes are open to those between the ages of 18 to 66, have a legal residence in Iceland, do not reside within a nursing home and need assistance with daily life. The schemes are typically valid for 12 to 24 months after which they can be re-negotiated. The schemes are only available for a limited number of disabled people due to financial restraints and many are on a waiting list to receive personal assistance services. It is also important to note that according to the guidelines provided to the municipalities (Leiðbeinandi reglur um innleiðingu NPA), that municipalities are not legally required to offer personal assistance schemes while there is no law governing this type of services. Further, a perusal of the guidelines that have already been issued by various municipalities reveals some differences in terms of how personal schemes are designed and implemented. Personal assistance schemes, in the municipalities where they exist, are often described as pilot projects and remain in that status for years. A collaborative pilot project on User-led Personal-Assistance (NPA) was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Welfare and the municipalities in Iceland. This pilot project was intended to run out in 2014 when law on NPA would be introduced. However, this Pilot Project is still in operation as of the time of writing (2017). A large scale evaluation of the Pilot Project was carried out in 2015-2016 by the Social Science Institute and the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. In all, eight reports based on this evaluation were published in April 2016 and can be found on the web of the Ministry of Welfare (Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA - Icelandic only).

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

D6. Income maintenance

For those not working, or not working full-time, a disability pension is the key form of income maintenance for disabled people in Iceland. The disability pension system is administered by the Social Insurance Administration of Iceland (Tryggingastofnun ríkisins), which is also responsible for senior pensions, health insurance, and occupational injury insurance. Tryggingastofnun is governed by the Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið). The pension levels for January 2017 are available to consult from the Social Insurance Administration website. The sums detail the maximum, and thus optimal, amount available to pensioners. Disability pensioners are translated in English as 'invalidity pensioners'. The core piece of the legislation which governs the disability pension system is the Social Security Act 100/2007 (Lög um almannatryggingar 100/2007). The basic set of criteria for eligibility for a disability pension is based upon age (from 18 to 67 years old); residency (resident of Iceland for three years prior to the submission of an application); and a medically assessed permanent impairment. It is important to note that the disability pension is comprised of the basic pension which all eligible pensioners receive (grunnlífeyrir), and also of the age-related disability supplement (aldurstengd örorkuuppbót), the levels of which are calculated based upon the age at which one is first legally determined to be disabled; the income security supplement (tekjutrygging), the full payment of which is linked to income and additional residency requirements; and the household supplement (heimilisuppbót), which is dependent upon the age (18+) and the living status. All of these components are governed by specific pieces of legislation and are determined by various criteria and payment reduction scales. There are essentially two classifications of recipients: those who receive a full pension (a rating of 75%), who are referred to as disability pensioners (Is. örorkulífeyrisþegar), and those whose impairments are not considered as severe and receive a rating of 50 to 74%. The latter receive a much less generous disability allowance (örorkustyrkur), therefore alternative sources of income from waged labour or social assistance from municipal social services are required for those who are only eligible for this allowance. Those who receive a disability rating below 50% (often referred to as a rating of 10 to 49%), typically in result of an injury, are usually paid in a one-time lump settlement either from the State Social Insurance Administration or from insurance companies.

Recent changes to the pension system are made in 2017. One significant change affected the senior's pension system which collapsed the parallel categories found in the disability pension system (such as basic pension, income security supplement) into one category known.

The disability pension system has long been a contentious issue in Icelandic disability politics. Prior the economic crisis of 2008 it was common to encounter heated debates in the Icelandic media pertaining to disability pension eligibility criteria and accusations of benefit fraud. The disability benefit reform issue re-emerged in 2017 after the election of a new government. On the agenda of the new government in the new parliamentary session is an amendment to the Social Security Act which may have a dramatic impact on the pension system (Þingmál félags- og jafnréttismálaráðherra á 146. löggjafarþingi). In March 2017, the government announced that the new bill introducing changes to the disability pension system would be postponed and would not be introduced in the spring 2017 parliamentary session.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

D7. Additional costs

There are a number of additional benefits and entitlements for disabled people, but very few direct cash benefits aside from the pension system. Grants, subsidies, tax concessions and discounts are far more common than direct cash benefits in order to offset the additional living costs of disabled people. The restriction of these benefits and entitlements is often limited to those who are evaluated as fully disabled (75%). This 75% designation governs eligibility to a wide range of discounts and services. Therefore, people, not evaluated as fully disabled in the 50-74% designation, do not only receive a much less generous disability allowance, but also are excluded from receiving numerous discounts for themselves and their families, such as reduced pre-school fees, for example. People in the lower disability category may indeed need access to regular medical treatment and medication, but many of the discounted costs and fees are reserved for the fully disabled category. Some discounts, such as free swimming at municipal pools in Reykjavík for disability pensioners, are widely known about and often cited by disability pensioners as an example of such discounts. Other discounts, however, are not well advertised and are only discovered through research on the part of the individual, word of mouth, on-line forums and blogs, or pure chance. Some disabled people’s organizations include information on their websites about such benefits and entitlements, an example of which is Sjálfsbjörg’s Þekkingarmiðstöð, (Knowledge Centre). The evaluation procedures for such entitlements range from the cursory to the extensive depending upon the nature of the grant or discount. Discounted public transit tickets only require the display of a disability ID card at the point of purchase, whereas grants for the purchase or modification of a vehicle, for example, require a rather extensive application process.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

D8. Retirement income

The general entitlement to income for disabled people in Iceland over the age of 67 is the seniors’ pension system (ellilífeyrir). The age limitation for disability pension in Iceland’s is 67, after which pensioners are mainstreamed into the seniors’ pension system that serves the general population. The seniors’ pension system in certain ways mirrors the disability pension. They are both governed by the same legislation (Social Security Act 100/2007 (Lög um almannatryggingar 100/2007); the same state agency Tryggingastofnun (Social Security Institute) and the pensions are comprised of a number of components that are built on top of a basic pension level (grunnlífeyrir). Many benefits and discounts, such as discounts on public transportation or free swimming at municipal pools and so forth, are often bundled together as available for disability pensioners and seniors. The basic pension level for both the disability and senior pension systems are identical in terms of the base amount and the income ceiling at which reductions are initiated. The household supplement (heimilisuppbót) and income security supplement (tekjutrygging) are quite similar as well. However, a significant component of the disability pension is the age-related supplement (aldurstengd örorkuuppbót) which is paid according to the age at which an individual becomes evaluated as disabled. There is no comparable pension component for seniors. The questions also remain regarding the rights for a number of disability specific entitlements issues for disabled individuals who reach the age of 67, such as housing arrangements that specifically cater to disabled people. Furthermore, as the discussion around the implementation of personalised, user-led services in Iceland gathers steam, questions are being asked whether these arrangements are to cease at the age of 67 or will be extended. Currently this remains unclear.

In 2017, a number of categories that comprised the senior's pension, detailed earlier, were collapsed into one basic category known as the senior's pension. It is not yet known what the implications of these changes will be.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

E. Education

E1. Special schools

A comprehensive overview of the legal and policy context relevant for the educational context has been compiled by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Mennta- og Menningarmálaráðuneytið) on behalf of the EADSNE, the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. The most recent report on special education issued by EADSNE was issued in 2017, which includes links to recent studies, both in English and Icelandic (EADSNE 2017). The national education system in Iceland operates under the principle of what it refers to as ‘Inclusive education – Education for All.’ This, in essence, means that children and youth have the ‘equal opportunity’ to attend inclusive education, but the needs of specific students are addressed on a case by case basis, often at the local level. While the School Acts are state level policies enacted by the Ministry, the responsibility for the implementation of compulsory education occurs at the municipal level with the state being responsible for higher level education. As such, at least according to the legal statutes and regulations, it is often not clear as to what exactly disabled students have the right to in terms of services and support. Upon a close inspection of the legislation, it would appear that disabled children and their parents have the right not to attend special schools in favour of mainstream schools, but in practice this is not always the case depending upon a number of factors. A common theme within the various School Acts is the right for individual institutions to refuse certain requests for support if they are considered to be too costly or logistically infeasible for specific institutions, while simultaneously asserting that students have the right to have their needs met. Under the rubric of inclusion, specific references to disability are replaced by the generalizing language of ‘special needs.’ Legislation concerning all levels of education was updated in 2008 and reflects this approach. At the preschool level, the local authorities are responsible for administration and general operations, as well as 'special solutions' and 'specialist services', from which it may be inferred to refer to disabled students. The local municipal social services are also to be consulted to address these needs if warranted.

The Compulsory School Act governs grammar school education in Iceland, which is generally inclusive between the ages of 6 to 16. This Act asserts the rights of students with special needs, and based on this law there is a Regulation on students with special needs (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla); this regulation was updated and modified in 2015 (485/2015). Article 17 of the Compulsory School Act stipulates that 'pupils have the right to have their special needs met regarding studies in compulsory school, without discrimination and regardless of their physical or mental attainment.' A parallel regulation exists for students at the upper secondary school level (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012). If the parent(s) believe their child is not receiving adequate instruction at a particular school, they have the right to request further specialised instruction within the school or transfer to a specialised school. Disputes regarding these matters are governed by the 1993 Administrative Procedures Act, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office (Forsætisráðuneytið). Some evidence suggests that investments are still being made in Iceland with regard to segregated learning institutions. Two such segregated ‘special schools’ (Öskjuhíðarskóli and Safamýrarskóli) were merged into one larger segregated school called Klettaskóli in 2011. These schools are compulsory level schools from grades 1 through to 10. While the school is located in Reykjavík, it serves disabled children from across Iceland. The new Klettaskóli focuses on two groups of children between the ages of 6 to 16: students with moderate to ‘profound’ intellectual disabilities with or without additional impairments, and students with mild intellectual disabilities with additional impairments such as autism, deaf/blindness (daufblindir) or multiple and complex disabilities. An additional segregated school, Brúarskóli, is operated in Reykjavík. It serves children 6 – 16 with significant mental health, social or behavioural problems, and students who have difficulties due to drug use and/or have broken the law.

Statistics regarding mainstream or segregated education in Iceland pertaining to disabled students are problematic for a number of reasons. The first relates to the definition of segregated education. While some students receive education wholly within specialised schools or units, others receive in-class support within mainstream schools or else spend a portion of the day in a specialised unit while other classes are mixed. An EASPD report (European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities) about Iceland from 2016 noted: "37% of students who required additional learning support received that support within mainstream classes, 45% received support both within and outside mainstream classes. 17% were educated exclusively outside of mainstream classes in a special needs department." The other issue is that disabled students who do not need specific assistance or support, beyond having basic accessibility needs met, would not appear in the above mentioned statistics and would be included in general educational statistics as any other student.

An EADSNE report from Iceland issued in 2017 suggests that a number of problems persist in special education, ranging from municipal and regional disparities in terms of quality of education and services available, to resistance from parents and teachers toward inclusive education, or the belief that the educational needs of special needs children will not be met within mainstream schools. This is exacerbated by the rising number of students needing additional support needs in recent years. The author of the report concludes that "currently the policy is nothing but an ideology, there is no true implementation leaving children with special needs without the assistance and adjustments they need" (EADSNE 2017).

Links

Update date: Wed, 2017-09-13

E2. Mainstream schools

The legislation that governs the three levels of education in Iceland that focus on children and youth all contain references to supporting disabled students in mainstream schools, but with clauses that allow individual schools to refuse the enrolment of certain students on the grounds that it is not logistically feasible to meet their needs. Non-discrimination is specifically mentioned in Article 17 of the Compulsory School Act. Neither the Preschool nor the Upper-Secondary School Act refers explicitly to issues of discrimination. However, the 2010 Regulation on students with special needs in grammar schools (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla; updated in 2015 by regulation 148/2015) makes it clear that the preference by the Ministry on the part of schooling for disabled students is for them to receive support within the context of mainstream schools wherever possible and makes references to the educational context as based upon the ideals of ‘human values, democracy and social justice’ (Article 2). The 2012 Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012) refers to the CRPD and makes reference to the principles of inclusion and equality of opportunity.

The emphasis upon mainstream inclusive schooling of children regardless of disability status, illness, or other psychological or social issues was also echoed in an update to the compulsory school national curriculum that was produced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in April of 2011 (Aðalnámskrá grunnskóla). This was updated in 2014 and makes numerous references to equality and disability, including the suggested use of new forms of critical knowledge in the curriculum, such as work from queer theory and disability studies.

At the preschool level, the local authorities are responsible for administration and general operations, as well as 'special solutions' and 'specialist services', from which it may be inferred to refer to disabled students. In practice, this is to be worked out between the school administration, the teacher and the parents with support from the municipalities if needed. The local municipal social services are also to be consulted to address these needs if warranted. The preschools are also eligible for additional funding depending upon the number of disabled students who are enrolled. The Compulsory School Act governs grammar school education in Iceland, which is generally inclusive between the ages of 6 to 16. This Act asserts the rights of students with special needs, and is complemented by the 2010 Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla). In terms of ‘specialised services,’ Article 40 of the Compulsory School Act stipulates that the allocations of space and facilities is governed and organised by the local municipalities. The individual schools are required to ‘screen and survey’ all pupils at the beginning of their enrolment to ensure that 'they get adequate instruction and study support'. There appears to be a greater emphasis upon the role of school administrators, special education teachers and therapists who decide on the level of support the individual student receives. At the compulsory school level, students again are able to receive one-to-one support within the classroom and school, one-to-one tutoring as well as instruction within specialised units within the school. The school principal, assistant principal, director of special education and/or a social pedagogue (þroskaþjálfi) are generally involved in the assessment of practical assistance, whereas special education teachers and therapists tend to be more involved with the parents regarding academic matters, such as individual learning plans, education materials and testing conditions. Education at both the preschool and compulsory school levels is funded by the municipalities. Individual schools are required to apply for additional funding, if needed, to cover the costs associated with supporting disabled students. Applications can also be made to an equalisation fund if a particular school or municipality has to support a higher than average number of disabled students. Disabled students take classes either on their own or with the assistance of a support worker within mainstream schools. However, depending upon the individual’s learning needs, the students may follow the general curriculum or a special segregated study programme but this can also be taught within the general student population, within a mix of mainstream and special groups, or within a special unit within a mainstream school.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

E3. Sign language and Braille in school

The first school for the blind and visually impaired (Blindraskóli) opened in 1933 and was located in various forms as sub-units within mainstream schools. The school closed in 2004, partly as the result of the growing emphasis on mainstream, inclusive education and a decreasing enrolment of blind and visually impaired students within the school in favour of mainstream education. A report from 2004 from the Ministry of Education (Bætt aðgengi blindra og sjónskertra að menntakerfinu) on improving access to education for blind and visually impaired students recommended, among other things, the creation of a knowledge and service centre that would provide support for blind, visually impaired and deaf/blind students, and teachers within mainstream education. The Centre was established in 2009 (Þjónustu- og þekkingarmiðstöð fyrir blinda, sjónskerta og daufblinda einstaklinga) and provides such supports as evaluating students needs and equipment, learning materials, assessing schools, helping with curricula, and assisting with teaching methods. In terms of the legal context, the Education Acts from 2008, which govern pre-school and compulsory school and upper-secondary school (The Preschool Act; Compulsory School Act; and the Upper Secondary School Act) all make varying general references to inclusion and mainstream education, but nothing specific with regard to learning Braille. A bill that passed into law in June 2011 on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011), also includes an article (Article 4) on the status of Braille in Icelandic (Íslenskt punktaletur). This Article recognises Braille as the first written language of blind and visually impaired people and stated that they should have the opportunity as early as possible to learn Braille. While this Law does not explicitly provide that blind and visually impaired students have the right to learn Braille in mainstream schools, it could possibly serve as the legal precedence for such an argument. Article 4 of the Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla) specifically entitles students with special needs to the use of 'sign language, Braille and appropriate equipment, adapted materials, facilities and training to promote the best possible education, empowerment and social development.' Although nothing specific to deaf or hearing impaired children appears in either The Preschool Act or the Compulsory School Act, the Upper Secondary School Act contains a reference in Article 34 of this Act which states that the regulations shall provide provisions on the right of hearing impaired and deaf students to receive special instruction in Icelandic Sign Language. This was recently reinforced with the passing of the law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011). Within this law, Article 3 holds that Icelandic Sign Language (Íslenskt táknmál) is the first language of deaf and hearing impaired people in Iceland and their children, and that the government should support and encourage its use. Anyone who needs to learn and use Sign Language should have the earliest possible opportunity to do so and that this same right also applies to their closest relatives. Article 13 also states that Icelandic Sign Language has the equal status as Icelandic as a form of communication between people and that it is ‘not permissible’ (óheimilt) to discriminate against people on the basis of their use of this language. The right to use Sign Language, at least at the compulsory school level, is also stated within the above-mentioned Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla). The revised Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012) refers explicitly to the 2011 Language Law. Article 6 of Regulation 230/2012 states that students have the right to education in Icelandic Sign Language as their first language, in accordance with Law 61/2011, as well as the right to use Icelandic Braille as their written language. However, a recent court decision (394/2015) ruled against the plaintiff, in the case of a hearing impaired boy entering the seventh grade. The complaint concerned the lack of translation of study materials into Icelandic sign language, the boy's native language. The agency responsible cited budgetary limitations whereas the court cited legal technicalities for the dismissal of the case.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2016-04-18

E4. Vocational training

Vocational training providers are not subject to non-discrimination laws in relation to disability as they would be in regard to gender issues, for example. There is a regulation that concerns vocational training (Reglugerð um vinnustaðanám og starfsþjálfun á vinnustað). However, this regulation mentions nothing concerning disability, but it does include a remark that the training contract may be severed if the student is unable to pursue his or her training due to health-related reasons. A law from March 2010 concerning continuing education (Lög um framhaldsfræðslu) may also be relevant. One educational and training option for disabled people is to take short-term courses in subjects such as computer skills and accounting, often through disabled people’s organisations. However, such training was not generally recognised as accredited education. With this new law, such training, as well as work within institutions, can now be valued as upper-secondary school credits. The lack of any particular legislation on support for disabled students in vocational training is quite noticeable. To the best of our knowledge there is no specific governmental or legal policy framework that concerns the rights and needs of young disabled people pursuing technical or vocational training. Most regular upper-secondary schools offer special units, vocational units, for disabled students who have been in special education classes during grammar school. This is a four year education for students aged 16-20 and the special units aim to prepare students for independent life after school, including work. These units operated according to the curricula for these special units (Námsskrá fyrir starfsbrautir framhaldsskóla: sérdeildir, 2005). The Icelandic National Curriculum Guide for Upper Secondary Schools: general Section 2011 is available in English. While there seems to be a focus on supporting disabled students in the early years, there seems to be a distinct weakness in this support after the age of 16 and before the years when students pursue upper-secondary education. In terms of practical supports for vocational training, Sjúkratryggingar Islands (SÍ) (Icelandic Health Insurance) governs Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, a centre which allocates a wide range of disability related equipment based upon the assessment of individuals by specialists. This equipment is intended to reduce the disabling impact of impairments and to assist with the necessities of daily life for all disabled people. The equipment remains the property of SÍ and the choices of particular pieces of equipment are generally limited to a pre-approved list put forth by SÍ. However, it is important to note that SÍ will not provide equipment for educational purposes for those 16 years and older, or for work for those 18 years and older. The cut-off age of 16 is significant in that this is the age at which students make the transition from compulsory education to upper-secondary education. In other words, SÍ will provide equipment deemed necessary for daily living, but will not do so for anything beyond basic, compulsory education.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

E5. Higher education

There is no state level legal framework that ensures the rights and needs of disabled students are met with regard to higher education. One exception in terms of anti-discrimination may be the recent law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011). The anti-discriminatory clause in Article 13 states that Icelandic Sign has the equal status as Icelandic as a form of communication between people and that it is ‘not permissible’ (óheimilt) to discriminate against people on the basis of their use of this language. Some higher education institutions, such as the University of Iceland, have internally developed regulations, committees and counseling services that address the needs of disabled students. The University of Iceland is the largest and oldest higher education institution in the country that implements a specific set of regulations concerning disabled students and those with special needs, last amended in 2010 (Reglur um sértæk úrræði í námi við Háskóla Íslands, nr. 481/2010). The University of Iceland has an Office of educational and vocational counseling (Náms- og starfsráðgjöf Háskóla Íslands) which offers various supports to students with special needs. In 2005, the University of Iceland’s General Forum accepted a Policy against discrimination (Stefna gegn mismunun). The University also has a Committee on Disability (Ráð um málefni fatlaðs fólks) that meets to address issues concerning access, resources, technical matters and any issues that arise concerning the needs of disabled students. The University of Iceland has also developed a policy that specifically concerns disabled students and aims to make participation in the university community accessible to all (Stefna í málefnum fatlaðra). Section 1 of this policy states that the university and its environment is to be rendered accessible and secure for disabled people, with due consideration to legislation that governs the preservation of historic buildings. The University bears the costs of any adaptations that are deemed necessary. A booklet has also been produced–Háskóli fyrir alla: Aðgengi og úrræði við Háskóla Íslands (University for All: Accessibility and Resources at the University of Iceland)–which informs the enrolling students about the services and resources offered at the university and what they might expect during the course of their studies. While this support is paid for by the University, it is important to note that the University reserves the right to refuse specific supports if they are deemed to be too expensive or impractical. In terms of practical assistance, students can be provided with a wide range of support such as sign language interpreters, counselling, note-takers, longer test times, in-class assistance and so forth. The financial support for disabled students offered by the University of Iceland in the form of a tuition discount is discretionary on the part of each institution as opposed to state policy and is not necessarily representative of other higher education institutions in the country. There are also a number of disabled people’s organisations that offer some financial support for education and training. One example is Blindrafélagið (the Icelandic Organization of Blind and Partially Sighted) which offers support through the organisation’s study fund (Námssjóður Blindrafélagsins). Iceland is also a member of HEAG (Higher Education Accessibility Guide), a 2009 European initiative that provides practical information to students with disabilities who wish to study abroad and which includes some information on upper secondary education in Iceland.

Links

Update date: Fri, 2017-08-18

F. Employment

F1. Non-discrimination in employment

There is very weak anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland, particularly pertaining to disabled people and ethnic minorities, and as such there is no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland that covers employment issues in regard to disability. There is some anti-discrimination protection in the Administrative Procedures Act, no. 37/1993. However, this Act only applies to state and municipal employees and again there is no explicit mention of disability. The only anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland pertaining to employment is the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men 10/2008, which pertains to issues concerning gender.

In March of 2013, a draft of a bill was presented for initial review concerning equal treatment in the labour market (Frumvarp til laga um jafna meðferð á vinnumarkaði). This bill references the EC Directive 2000/78 and 2000/43 and makes an explicit reference to bans on discrimination in the labour market against disabled people and those with reduced work capacities. This bill has not yet been submitted to the Icelandic parliament at time of writing.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

F2. Public employment services

As of 1 January 2011–according to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010–the responsibility for employment services, advice, and support for disabled people was transferred from the Regional Offices for the Affairs of Disabled People to Vinnumálastofnun, the Icelandic Directorate of Labour, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið). Vinnumálastofnun operates local offices across the country and, in addition to managing the unemployment benefit system, also offers job search and counselling services. The relevant legislation in this regard is Lög um vinnumarkaðsaðgerðir 55/2006 (Labour Market Measures Act, No. 55/2006). While there is no clear reference to disability within this legislation, Article 2 clarifies the goal of Vinnumálastofnun as supporting individuals to become active in the labour market. Article12 outlines the responsibility of Vinnumálastofnun for employment training, experience, counselling and occupational rehabilitation. The other relevant legislation is the regulation Reglugerð um atvinnumál fatlaðra 376/1996 (Regulation on the employment of people with disabilities 376/1996). This Regulation governs career counselling, job search and employment, assistance to disabled persons in employment in the private sector, rehabilitation and sheltered workshops. Overall, the regulation’s intent is to support disabled people in training and enhancing work capacity. However, a good deal of this Regulation is now out of date and its status unclear, as the Regional Offices no longer govern employment matters, and the focus of this regulation is on the provision and funding for sheltered workshops and not the open labour market. As such, Vinnumálastofnun (the Icelandic Directorate of Labour) does not refer to or list this Regulation on their website. There are individual agents within Vinnumálastofnun who are responsible for assisting individuals with various impairments or other issues, although in recent years these services have been gradually mainstreamed into the general employment counselling services. Individuals with more extensive support needs are offered the programme Atvinna með stuðningi (AMS–Supported Employment). AMS focuses on supporting people with intellectual and/or physical impairments with reduced work capacities or more significant support needs in order to foster their participation in the mainstream labour market. This includes, among other things, assistance findings jobs, counselling, building relationships with employers, and continued contact with job placements. One option is a 5-week course that generally caters to people with intellectual disabilities and focuses on developing preparatory work experience, interpersonal and communication skills, education on workers’ rights and labour laws, as well as visits to worksites. However, such job placements more or less tend to be for those have a measure of independence or self-sufficiency. Disabled people with more intensive or complex support needs tend to be streamed towards employment in a number of sheltered workshops, some of which cater to people with specific kinds of impairments. Municipalities, such as the City of Reykjavík, also offer the services of employment activation counselors (Virkniráðgjafar) for people with psycho-social difficulties and who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. These counselors operate according the 2003 Regulation on social assistance from the City of Reykjavík (Reglur um fjárhagsaðstoð frá Reykjavíkurborg 2003).

Links

Update date: Mon, 2012-12-03

F3. Workplace adaptations

According to the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs folks), accessibility issues are designated as municipal concerns. The Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun), which was formed on 1 January 2011, is tasked, among other things, with the responsibility for issuing guidelines on how accessibility matters are implemented. The relevant legislation is the 2012 Building Regulations (Byggingarreglugerð 2012). However, these regulations cover public buildings and infrastructure. To the best of our knowledge, the adaptation of private workplaces is not mandated by law.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2012-12-03

F4. Financial incentives

The key financial incentive for the employment of disabled workers in the labour market in Iceland is known as the Vinnusamningur öryrkjar, or work contract for disabled workers. This agreement is governed by Tryggingastofnun ríkisins (TR–the state Social Security Institute). The legislation that govern this work agreement is the Reglugerð um öryrkjavinnu 159/1995. Under this agreement, TR is authorised to enter into work agreements with employers in the general labour market to hire disability pensioners (öryrkjar), people with a disability allowance or people receiving rehabilitation benefits. TR manages the agreements with employers and acts as a liaison between employers and workers. Contacts are made with individuals and can be for full-time or part-time positions not exceeding ‘100%’, meaning work that entails a standard shift and not overtime. The contracts specify the workplace and job description and follow the standard wage contracts for that position. TR will reimburse the employer for a maximum of 75% of the wages and never lower than 25%, and which is dependent upon TR receiving duplicate wage slips.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2012-12-03

G. Statistics and data collection

G1. Official research

There is no official research institute or department responsible for research on disability equality and the collection of relevant data and statistics in Iceland on disability in specific. The Regional Offices for the Affairs of Disabled People were tasked to produce regular reports on their activities. However, not all Offices did so, or did so on a regular basis. What was produced and made available to the public was of an uneven quality. The Regional Offices were closed down on 1 January 2011 when the responsibility for most disability services was transferred to the municipal level. Statistics Iceland, the government statistics agency, does not produce much statistics in regards to disability indicators. The most consistently reliable source of statistical information regarding disability is produced by Tryggingastofnun, the state Social Security Institute. However, much of this information concerns the disability pension system that they govern.

In June 2012, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Welfare and Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland is now responsible for the updating and publishing of the social indicators (félagsvísar) that have previously been collected and published by the Ministry. The most recent publication of the social indicators was in 2014, and it contains very few disability indicators.

However, the Icelandic Welfare Ministry has funded a number of disability related research projects for a number of years. One recent example is an audit conducted in the latter half of 2015 of the accessibility of public buildings within ten municipalities and service areas. Another is a 5 million ISK project in collaboration with the Directorate of Health, local health services and the Social Science Research Institute of the University of Iceland to assess the health status and accessibility of health care services for disabled people. The findings from both projects are expected in 2016.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2016-04-18

G2. Census data

There is no national census conducted in Iceland.

Update date: Fri, 2012-03-23

G3. Labour Force Survey

The Labour Force Survey has been conducted in Iceland since 2003. However, Statistics Iceland rarely makes such LFS figures concerning employment and disability public. The main employment statistics they publish focus on the employment rate concerning region, gender, age and occupation. Iceland was not included in the 2002 ad-hoc module Employment of disabled people. Iceland was included in the EU-LFS 2011 ad hoc module Employment of Disabled People, however the results were still not available as of the time of writing. Some reference had been made to disability in the Statistical Series Wages, Income and Labour Market reports that are released periodically by Statistics Iceland, which mainly focused on disability and inactivity rate. However, for reasons that are not clear, the reference to disability was removed from Table 6 concerning inactivity in 2013.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

G4. Disability equality indicators

There is no set of disability equality indicators based on public data sources available in Iceland. While Statistics Iceland is officially tasked to gather, analyse and publish statistical information regarding numerous indicators about the nation, there is no mandate to do so either with regard to disability in general or disability equality indicators in specific.

The Ministry of Welfare has developed and published social indicators (félagsvísar) to indicate the social situation of diverse groups of the population, particularly vulnerable groups. Issues of disability are addressed on disability pensioners only, not on disabled people in general. These social indicators are available on the Ministry’s website.

In June 2012, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Welfare and Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland is now to be responsible for the updating and publication of the social indicators (félagsvísar) that have previously been collected and published by the Ministry. The most recent publication of the social indicators was 2013 and which contains some disability related indicators.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

H. Awareness and external action

H1. Awareness raising programs

There is no ‘official’ (that is, state) responsibility or programme for promoting and raising public awareness of the equality and rights of disabled women and men but disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and academics have played this role to some extent. However, Article E of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 explicitly concerns awareness raising. The Ministry of Welfare, jointly with other government agencies, DPOs and academics, held a number of public conferences on issues concerning disability in 2013, such as the 2014 Action Plan and violence against disabled people. The Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland has over the past few years offered courses to raise disability awareness, including courses on the CRPD, that have been for the general public and anyone interested. The Centre has also offered courses for municipalities, intended for professionals, administrators and other municipal employees. These courses have been offered in relation to the transfer of services from the state to the municipalities and intended to educate municipal employees about issues of disability. DPOs have also organised awareness raising projects. For example, following the transfer of disability services to municipalities on 1 January 2011, the Organisation of Disabled in Iceland (Öryrkjabandalag Íslands) organised a series of meetings across the country aimed at raising awareness about disability issues, disability rights, and the CRPD. The state-owned Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (Ríkisútvarpið) launched a TV programme series called With our Eyes (Með okkar augum) on 4 July 2011, which was continued in the autumn of 2013 and a further grant of 2.5 million ISK was provided in late 2015 for the continuation of the show. This series, which is operated by people with intellectual disabilities, views everyday life and events in Iceland from their perspective. The programme has been effective in raising awareness about issues of disability and the contributions of disabled people, combating stereotypes and prejudice, presenting a positive view of disability and encouraging a discussion on disability issues. The programme was initiated by the Iceland Association on Intellectual Disability (Landssamtökin Þroskahjálp). Awareness raising has also become a factor within some employment related projects. An example is a funded employment project between the Icelandic Directorate of Labour and the City of Hafnarfjöður. One goal is to increase employment opportunities for disabled people, but another stated goal is to change societal attitudes concerning disabled people. This signals a shift toward mainstreaming awareness raising into other disability related programmes and projects.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2016-05-02

H2. Training for teachers

In Iceland there are two institutes that offer comprehensive teacher training in education: The University of Iceland and the University of Akureyri. According to the law on preschool, compulsory school and upper-secondary school (Lög um menntun og ráðningu kennara og skólastjórnenda við leikskóla, grunnskóla og framhaldsskóla 87/2008), teachers in compulsory and upper-secondary education are supposed to have completed an MA or M.Ed. This is a new requirement and the first students to be trained under this requirement started their programme in the fall of 2010. Thus, in practice, the majority of teachers have a BA or B.Ed. degrees, but are employed at lower wages and with fewer options for career development. In regard to the extent to which disability issues are included in the general curriculum of university training for school teachers, there are some courses or units within courses but not extensive training. The School of Education at the University of Iceland, which trains the majority of preschool, compulsory school and upper secondary school teachers, offers some courses on disability related issues such as inclusive education, disability studies, individualised curricula, teaching methods for a diverse group of students, and inclusive teaching practices. Some of these courses are required while others are elective courses. However, inclusive education is not among the areas B.Ed students can specialise in. On the master’s level students can select among five concentration areas. Among them is a MEd programme (120 ECT) in Education in inclusive schools in a multicultural society (Nám og kennsla í skóla án aðgreiningar í fjölmenningarsamfélagi). The MA/M.Ed is a two-year theoretical and professional graduate degree. Admission requirements are a bachelor's degree in the field of education and pedagogy. At the University of Akureyri, very little appears to be offered at the BA or B.Ed. levels focusing specifically on disability. There are, however, courses on inclusive education, special education policies, individualised curricula and teaching methods that include issues of disability. At the Masters level there is a course entitled ‘Disability and Society’, which is an elective course, and another which focuses on special education.

While not focused on teachers directly, in 2015 the Ministry of Welfare entered into an agreement with the School of Education at the University of Iceland to develop online courses on disability issues for municipal service providers and staff. This concerns practical issues but also issues regarding human rights and attitudes.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2016-04-18

H3. Training for lawyers

In Iceland, the training of lawyers takes place at four different universities. A review of the curricula for the initial training programme in these universities reveals that no courses focusing on disability awareness issues are provided. Some of the courses address human rights in general and equality issues (mostly gender equality). There are some elective courses available, such as a course entitled Equality and non-discrimination in European context (which includes disability) at the University of Iceland. To our knowledge there is no training available for legal professionals on issues of disability and disabled people’s organizations have not been involved in training legal professionals.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2012-12-03

H4. Training for doctors

According to information from the Faculty Office in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland (the only place for training doctors in Iceland) there are no disability awareness issues as a part of the training programs for doctors.

Links

Update date: Mon, 2012-12-03

H5. Training for engineers

According to information provided by the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland, there is no disability awareness as a part of their programme for engineers and designers.

However, in October of 2013, the national disabled people’s umbrella organization (ÖBÍ) signed an agreement of co-operation with the Iceland Construction Authority. Among other things, this includes the sharing of information, public awareness campaigns, the support for student projects and the promotion of universal design knowledge in the education of disciplines linked to the building industry.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

H6. International development aid

The Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) (Þróunarsamvinnustofnun Íslands) is the agency which, by law, has the responsibility to execute and administer bi-lateral development assistance provided by the Government of Iceland. It is an autonomous agency under the Iceland Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ICEIDA’s work is governed by Act on International Development Collaboration from 2008 (Lög nr. 121/2008 um alþjóðlega þróunarsamvinnu Íslands) and Regulation on Implementing International Development Aid from 2009 (Reglugerð nr. 894/2009 um framkvæmd alþjóðlegrar þróunarsamvinnu Íslands). Neither these nor any of the other ICEIDA’s policies and strategies identify disability as an issue that should be addressed. ICEIDA has a published policy and guidance document published in 2001 (Stefna og verklag ÞSSÍ) which makes no mention of disability. ICEIDA has an Equality Policy accepted in 2004 (Stefna ÞSSÍ í jafnréttismálum) which solely focuses on gender equality. There have, however, been a small number of ICEIDA projects that have focused on issues of disability such as a sign language project aimed at teaching sign to deaf adults and supporting a teacher’s training college to teach sign language to student teachers. Recently the ICEIDA and the Icelandic Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing collaborated with Ministry of Education in Namibia to launch Sign Wiki which allows Namibians to communicate with hearing impaired people through an internet site. Sign Wiki internet sites have also been initiated in Tanzania.

Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, the Centre which governs assistive devices in Iceland, and which operates under the state agency Sjúkratryggingar Islands (Icelandic Health Insurance), has for a number of years provided used assistive devices to developing countries. According to the information we received, some equipment was recently sent to Latvia in conjunction with the Icelandic Motor-Neuron Disease Society (MND-Félagið), and in previous years used assistive devices were donated to Mongolia, Russia, Brazil and Albania, among others.

Links

Update date: Thu, 2014-05-01

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                    [slug] => germany
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                    [alias] => 
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 15
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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                    [children] => 0
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            [13] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => greece
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 16
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                )

            [14] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 18
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                    [lft] => 28
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => hungary
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 17
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                )

            [15] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 19
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 18
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                )

            [16] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 20
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 19
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            [17] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [path] => 
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            [18] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 21
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [children] => 0
                )

            [19] => stdClass Object
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                    [rgt] => 39
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => luxembourg
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 22
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [20] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 24
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
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            [21] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 25
                    [parent_id] => 3
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                    [rgt] => 43
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => netherlands
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 24
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [children] => 0
                )

            [22] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 26
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 25
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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                )

            [23] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 27
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => portugal
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 26
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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                )

            [24] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 28
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 27
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                )

            [25] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 29
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 28
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            [26] => stdClass Object
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 29
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            [27] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
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            [28] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 32
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                    [level] => 2
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            [29] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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            [30] => stdClass Object
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                    [access] => 0
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            [31] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
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            [32] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 1
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                    [access] => 0
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                    [level] => 2
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            [37] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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        )

    [themes] => Array
        (
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                    [level] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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            [1] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 2
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 3
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [3] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 4
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [4] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => a4-comprehensive-review
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 5
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [5] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 6
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [6] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => a6-coordination-mechanism
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 7
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [7] => stdClass Object
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                    [level] => 2
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 8
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [8] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 10
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                    [rgt] => 17
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => a8-official-reporting
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 9
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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            [9] => stdClass Object
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                    [lft] => 18
                    [rgt] => 19
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => a9-shadow-reporting
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                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 10
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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            [10] => stdClass Object
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                    [parent_id] => 1
                    [lft] => 21
                    [rgt] => 32
                    [level] => 1
                    [slug] => b-general-legal-framework
                    [title] => B. General legal framework
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 11
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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            [11] => stdClass Object
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                    [rgt] => 23
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => b1-anti-discrimination-legislation
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 12
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [12] => stdClass Object
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                    [parent_id] => 12
                    [lft] => 24
                    [rgt] => 25
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => b2-recognition-of-legal-capacity
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 13
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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            [13] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 15
                    [parent_id] => 12
                    [lft] => 26
                    [rgt] => 27
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => b3-accessibility-of-voting-and-elections
                    [title] => B3. Accessibility of voting and elections
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 14
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
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            [14] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 16
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                    [lft] => 28
                    [rgt] => 29
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => b4-official-recognition-of-sign-language
                    [title] => B4. Official recognition of sign language
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 15
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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            [15] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 17
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                    [lft] => 30
                    [rgt] => 31
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => b5-national-disability-strategy-and-action-plan
                    [title] => B5. National disability strategy and action plan
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 16
                    [state] => 1
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                    [path] => 
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                    [path] => 
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                    [state] => 1
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 22
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 23
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                    [alias] => 
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 24
                    [state] => 1
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                    [alias] => 
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 25
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 26
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                    [slug] => e1-special-schools
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                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 31
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 32
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                    [slug] => e3-sign-language-and-braille-in-school
                    [title] => E3. Sign language and Braille in school
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 33
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                )

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                    [slug] => e4-vocational-training
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 34
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                    [slug] => e5-higher-education
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 35
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [slug] => f-employment
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [slug] => f1-non-discrimination-in-employment
                    [title] => F1. Non-discrimination in employment
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 37
                    [state] => 1
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                    [slug] => f2-public-employment-services
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                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 38
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [lft] => 76
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => f3-workplace-adaptations
                    [title] => F3. Workplace adaptations
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 39
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [parent_id] => 37
                    [lft] => 78
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => f4-financial-incentives
                    [title] => F4. Financial incentives
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 40
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                    [parent_id] => 1
                    [lft] => 81
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                    [slug] => g-statistics-and-data-collection
                    [title] => G. Statistics and data collection
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 41
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                    [id] => 43
                    [parent_id] => 42
                    [lft] => 82
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => g1-official-research
                    [title] => G1. Official research
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 42
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                    [id] => 44
                    [parent_id] => 42
                    [lft] => 84
                    [rgt] => 85
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => g2-census-data
                    [title] => G2. Census data
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 43
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                    [id] => 45
                    [parent_id] => 42
                    [lft] => 86
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => g3-labour-force-survey
                    [title] => G3. Labour Force Survey
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 44
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
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                    [id] => 46
                    [parent_id] => 42
                    [lft] => 88
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                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => g4-disability-equality-indicators
                    [title] => G4. Disability equality indicators
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 45
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                    [parent_id] => 1
                    [lft] => 91
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                    [level] => 1
                    [slug] => h-awareness-and-external-action
                    [title] => H. Awareness and external action
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 46
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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            [46] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 48
                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 92
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                    [slug] => h1-awareness-raising-programs
                    [title] => H1. Awareness raising programs
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 47
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 94
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                    [slug] => h2-training-for-teachers
                    [title] => H2. Training for teachers
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 48
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

            [48] => stdClass Object
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                    [id] => 50
                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 96
                    [rgt] => 97
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => h3-training-for-lawyers
                    [title] => H3. Training for lawyers
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 49
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                    [id] => 51
                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 98
                    [rgt] => 99
                    [level] => 2
                    [slug] => h4-training-for-doctors
                    [title] => H4. Training for doctors
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 50
                    [state] => 1
                    [published] => 1
                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                (
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                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 100
                    [rgt] => 101
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                    [slug] => h5-training-for-engineers
                    [title] => H5. Training for engineers
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 51
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out] => 0
                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

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                (
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                    [parent_id] => 47
                    [lft] => 102
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                    [slug] => h6-international-development-aid
                    [title] => H6. International development aid
                    [alias] => 
                    [access] => 0
                    [path] => 
                    [ordering] => 52
                    [state] => 1
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                    [checked_out_time] => 2016-07-01 12:00:00
                    [created_by] => 548
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                )

        )

    [results] => Array
        (
            [35] => stdClass Object
                (
                    [parent] => Other European countries
                    [location] => Iceland
                    [location_id] => 35
                    [location_slug] => iceland
                    [themes] => Array
                        (
                            [3] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A1. Ratification or conclusion of the UN Convention
                                    [theme_slug] => a1-ratification-or-conclusion-of-the-un-convention
                                    [theme_id] => 3
                                    [contents] => Iceland signed both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol on 30 March 2007. In September 2016, Iceland's Parliament unanimously adopted the Foreign Minister's proposal to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Ministry of Welfare appointed a committee for the ratification process of the CRPD into Icelandic legislation in February 2008. The committee completed a comprehensive report entitled Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Tillögur nefndar um fullgildingu samnings Sameinuðu þjóðanna um réttindi fatlaðs folks) in January 2010 about necessary steps that need to be taken for the implementation of the CRPD. Iceland's first disability strategy, known as the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons' Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, was passed on 11 June 2012. Section F.1 of this Resolution states the aim regarding the ratification of the CRPD. The Ministry of the Interior released a brief report on the state of ratification on 23 April 2013, among other things reiterating the government’s intention to ratify, and indicating that the legal analysis in its final phases but more work needs to be done in regard the compatibility of the CRPD with the Icelandic legal context and assessing the financial implications of ratification. The Plan of Action has also been extended until 2016, while a committee was formed in the spring of 2015 to look into drafting a new plan of action. In response to the slow pace of development in this area, the national disabled people's organisation in Iceland, (ÖBÍ), placed a petition on their home page in 2014 urging people to sign in order to pressure the Icelandic government to ratify the CRPD. In June of 2015, the Ministry of the Interior published a chart which outlines the work that has been done and is still outstanding in order for the ratification process to proceed. Much of this work concerns adjusting various Icelandic laws to be in accordance with the CRPD. In September of 2016, the proposal to ratify the CRPD was adopted by the Parliament.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:12:48
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704
                                                )

                                            [1] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf
                                                )

                                            [2] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of the UN CRPD (Icelandic)
                                                    [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/utgafa/nr/4910
                                                )

                                            [3] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Report (2013) of ratification of the UN CRPD (Icelandic)
                                                    [url] => http://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/frettir/nr/28535
                                                )

                                            [4] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Tafla yfir lög og reglugerðir sem varða samning SÞ um réttindi fatlaðs fólks (Icelandic - 22 June 2015) 
                                                    [url] => https://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/media/frettir-2015/Uppfaerd-tafla-yfir-log-og-reglugerdir-sem-varda-samning-STh-um-rettindi-fatlads-folks.pdf
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [4] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A2. Ratification or accession to the Optional Protocol
                                    [theme_slug] => a2-ratification-or-accession-to-the-optional-protocol
                                    [theme_id] => 4
                                    [contents] => Iceland signed the Optional Protocol on 30 March 2007. While the recently amended Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 makes reference to a plan to ratify the CRPD, no explicit mention is made regarding the Optional Protocol. The comprehensive report from the Ministry of Welfare on suggestions for revisions for the 1992 Law in anticipation of ratification includes the Optional Protocol as well as the CRPD. No mention is made regarding the Optional Protocol in Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40 nor in the 2013 report on the state of ratification issued by the Ministry of the Interior. At the time of ratification of the CRPD in September 2016, the Parliament agreed that the Optional Protocol to the Convention should also be ratified by the end of 2017.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:15:06
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704
                                                )

                                            [1] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf
                                                )

                                            [2] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of UN CRPD (Icelandic) 
                                                    [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/utgafa/nr/4910
                                                )

                                            [3] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Report (2013) of ratification of the UN CRPD (Icelandic) 
                                                    [url] => http://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/frettir/nr/28535
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [5] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A3. Declarations, Reservations and Objections
                                    [theme_slug] => a3-declarations-reservations-and-objections
                                    [theme_id] => 5
                                    [contents] => Iceland has not made any formal declarations or reservations regarding the CRPD.
                                    [update_date] => 2012-04-06 16:19:31
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                        )

                                )

                            [6] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A4. Comprehensive review
                                    [theme_slug] => a4-comprehensive-review
                                    [theme_id] => 6
                                    [contents] => An initial review of the existing legislation was concluded in 2010, resulting in three amendments to the Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 that took effect on 1 January 2011. The steps taken to amend the existing Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 met some of the suggestions found within the comprehensive report from the Ministry of Welfare regarding the ratification and implementation of the CRPD. However, a number of key suggestions were not included in the 2010 revision of the legislation. No focal point, coordination mechanism or independent mechanism has been established. Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, stipulates the creation of a collaborative committee of various ministries to review legislation that needs to be brought into accordance with the CRPD. On 23 April 2013, the Ministry of the Interior released a report on the state of ratification which includes a detailed table of the laws and regulations affected by ratification that will require modification, as well as the further legal review work that is required.
                                    [update_date] => 2015-02-27 11:23:20
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Icelandic)
                                                    [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/utgafa/nr/4910
                                                )

                                            [1] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704
                                                )

                                            [2] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 (English text)
                                                    [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf
                                                )

                                            [3] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Report of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
                                                    [url] => http://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/frettir/nr/28535
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [7] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A5. Focal point
                                    [theme_slug] => a5-focal-point
                                    [theme_id] => 7
                                    [contents] => Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016. Despite ratification, a focal point has not been established. The Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið) plays a dominant role in the governance of disability issues, yet a number of other Ministries, in particular the Ministry of the Interior (Innanríkisráðuneytið) are responsible for issues that concern disabled people as well as local authorities. At this point in time it is not clear as to what agency will be responsible for co-coordinating the efforts to implement the CRPD within the relevant offices and institutions.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:18:44
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                        )

                                )

                            [8] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A6. Coordination mechanism
                                    [theme_slug] => a6-coordination-mechanism
                                    [theme_id] => 8
                                    [contents] => While Article 33.1 of the CRPD specifies that State Parties shall establish a coordination mechanism, Iceland has not taken steps to do so. There has been some discussion of this matter and governmental committee has been at work on a review of the legislation, at this point in time it is not clear as to what agency will be responsible for co-coordinating the efforts to implement the CRPD.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:19:23
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                        )

                                )

                            [9] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A7. Independent mechanism
                                    [theme_slug] => a7-independent-mechanism
                                    [theme_id] => 9
                                    [contents] => Currently no independent mechanism or monitoring framework has been established. However, in July 2016 the Ministry of Interior (Innanríkisráðuneytið) posted news on its website concerning a bill for an independent human rights institution in Iceland that would serve as the independent mechanism, as well as a call for comments.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:21:05
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Recommendations of the Committee for ratification of the UN CRPD (2010) (Icelandic)
                                                    [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/utgafa/nr/4910
                                                )

                                            [1] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Ministry of Interior - call for independent mechanism
                                                    [url] => https://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/frettir/frumvarp-um-sjalfstaeda-mannrettindastofnun
                                                )

                                            [2] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Ministry of Interior - bill for independent mechanism
                                                    [url] => https://www.innanrikisraduneyti.is/media/frettir-2016/Drog-ad-frumvarpi-til-laga-um-sjalfstaeda-mannrettindastofnun-Islands.pdf
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [10] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A8. Official reporting
                                    [theme_slug] => a8-official-reporting
                                    [theme_id] => 10
                                    [contents] => Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016.  An initial report is due two years after the date of ratification. No information has been published regarding Iceland‘s official reporting to the CRPD Committee.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-08-11 10:06:45
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => State reports to the UN Committee
                                                    [url] => http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=4&CountryID=78&DocTypeID=29
                                                )

                                            [1] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => All UN reporting cycle documentation
                                                    [url] => http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=4&CountryID=78
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [11] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => A. UN Convention status
                                    [theme_title] => A9. Shadow reporting
                                    [theme_slug] => a9-shadow-reporting
                                    [theme_id] => 11
                                    [contents] => Iceland ratified the CRPD in September 2016.  Some DPOs in Iceland and individuals from the academic community have begun informal discussions on collaborating on shadow reporting.
                                    [update_date] => 2017-08-11 10:07:07
                                    [links] => Array
                                        (
                                            [0] => stdClass Object
                                                (
                                                    [title] => Civil society reports to the UN Committee
                                                    [url] => http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/TBSearch.aspx?Lang=en&TreatyID=4&CountryID=78&DocTypeID=14
                                                )

                                        )

                                )

                            [13] => stdClass Object
                                (
                                    [parent] => B. General legal framework
                                    [theme_title] => B1. Anti-discrimination legislation
                                    [theme_slug] => b1-anti-discrimination-legislation
                                    [theme_id] => 13
                                    [contents] => Article 65 of the Icelandic constitution, the equality clause, refers to a number of factors but disability is not explicitly mentioned. The key piece of legislation in Iceland concerning disability, the Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities 59/1992, makes references to equality and living conditions, but makes no specific reference to anti-discrimination clauses or measures. The only explicit anti-discrimination legislation, definitions of discrimination, monitoring and administrative complaints mechanisms in Iceland are found within the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men 10/2008 which pertains specifically to issues of gender.

However, the emphasis on anti-discrimination on the basis of disability is an increasingly prominent feature in recent disability legislation. For example, Iceland’s first disability strategy, Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, makes an explicit reference to anti-discrimination within the preamble which states: “Emphasis should be placed on human rights and the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability,” as well as within Article C: “Disabled persons are to have the same right as other citizens to maintain their human dignity and enjoy autonomy, equality and solidarity, and shall not be subjected to discrimination.” Further, the new building regulations (Byggingarreglugerð) which were issued in 2012 (revised 2014, 2016) denote inaccessibility to the built environment as a form of discrimination. In March of 2013, a draft of a bill was presented for initial review concerning equal treatment in the labour market and submitted to the autumn session of the Parliament in October of 2013 (Frumvarp til laga um jafna meðferð á vinnumarkaði). This bill references the EC Directives 2000/78 and 2000/43 and makes an explicit reference to bans on discrimination in the labour market against disabled people and those with reduced work capacities. However, this bill was never introduced to the Parliament. The bill is still referenced as of January 2017 to be included into the 146th parliamentary session. [update_date] => 2017-06-07 17:27:40 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Constitution of the Republic of Iceland [url] => http://www.government.is/constitution/ ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Building Regulations 2012 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/reglugerdir/allar/nr/112-2012 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men 10/2008 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/4203 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => 146th parliamentary session - parliamentary issues for the Minister of Social Affairs and Equality [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/s-d-ssf-a ) ) ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => B. General legal framework [theme_title] => B2. Recognition of legal capacity [theme_slug] => b2-recognition-of-legal-capacity [theme_id] => 14 [contents] => Legal capacity in Iceland is governed by the Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 (Lögræðislög 1997/71). The age of majority is set at 18 years of age, and is determined on the basis of having attained this age as well as the competency to manage one’s finances (fjárráða) or having legally wed or entered into a common-law partnership. However, the operative terms of autonomy competence are not clearly defined. Instead, one needs to deduce their meaning from the articles within this Act based on the conditions under which legal capacity may be legally deprived. Legal capacity and competency in financial matters may be deemed to be compromised due to ‘mental retardation’ (andlegur vanþroski), infirmity due to advanced age (ellisljóleika), mental health issues or due to other serious health problems. Included as well as issues of incapacity are related to drug or alcohol abuse and other serious personal circumstances.

A bill before the Icelandic Parliament on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people was passed into law on 11 June 2011 as the Act on the Protection of the Rights of Disabled Persons, No. 88/2011. This law concerns a number of issues and touches on legal capacity. For example, Article 7 states that disabled individuals who are legally competent but find it difficult to manage their affairs as the result of their impairments are entitled to a spokesperson or advocate. Such an individual, chosen in consultation with the person with disability, his or her family and the local disabled people’s representative (trúnaðarmaður), is tasked to safeguard the rights of the disabled person, assist with making informed decisions, and assist in managing personal, medical and financial affairs. The law on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people was further amended on 25 June 2012 (59/2012) which placed a number of restrictions on the use of force and coercion, such as with regard to physical restraint, confinement, denial of access to property, forced usage of drugs or treatments, and other areas which may threaten self-determination and personal autonomy.

In 2015 the Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 was amended in order to fulfil the requirements set forth in the CRPD, which Iceland ratified in 2016. Deprivation of legal capacity requires a court order. Before the amendment this could be either temporary or indefinite depending upon the circumstances. Now the deprivation of legal capacity can only be temporary, and only if other means have been exhausted. Another amendment was made to reiterate that the judge shall summon the respondent to appear in court, not only for the respondent but also so the judge can form his or her own opinion about the applicant’s mental capacity. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 10:48:17 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 (English text) [url] => http://eng.innanrikisraduneyti.is/laws-and-regulations/english/legal-competence/ ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Protection of the Rights of Disabled Persons, No. 88/2011 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Act-on-the-protection-of-the-rights-of-disabled-persons-No-88-2011.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Lög (Nr. 59/2012) um breytingu á lögum um réttindagæslu fyrir fatlað fólk, nr. 88/2011 [url] => http://www.stjornartidindi.is/Advert.aspx?ID=bf057116-edfc-4e16-9259-f4c13886d53c ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law 84/2015 on changes to the Act on Legal Majority 1997/71 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2015.084.html ) ) ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => B. General legal framework [theme_title] => B3. Accessibility of voting and elections [theme_slug] => b3-accessibility-of-voting-and-elections [theme_id] => 15 [contents] => The right to vote is covered under the Act on elections to Parliament 24/2000 (Lög um kosningar til Alþingis 24/2000). The right to vote in parliamentary elections is restricted to Icelandic citizens 18 years of age and older. The Act is predicated upon presumed capacity. In regard to issues of accessibility, Article 58 of the Act states that individuals who are hospitalised, or live in residential institutions for seniors or disabled people may vote at their respective institutions. Those who live in private residences but are not able to travel to the electoral station due to reasons of illness, disability or pregnancy may be able to vote from home. The application for such an arrangement must be submitted in writing 16 days prior to the election. Article 81 states that ballots must be provided with embossed lettering and in Braille for blind or visually impaired people. Articles 63 and 86 state that an electoral officer may assist a voter with visual or physical impairments in the act of voting, providing that the voter can articulate his or her voting intention. The assistance must come from the electoral officer. Primarily as the result of pressure from disabled people’s organization, the Act on Elections to Parliament was amended on 16 October 2012 (111/2012) so the voter may now choose the person who renders assistance in the act of voting. This amendment applies to both national as well as municipal elections. [update_date] => 2015-02-27 11:22:24 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on elections to Parliament 24/2000 (English text) [url] => http://eng.innanrikisraduneyti.is/laws-and-regulations/nr/6713 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on changes to the Act on elections to Parliament 111/2012: [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/141/s/0242.html ) ) ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => B. General legal framework [theme_title] => B4. Official recognition of sign language [theme_slug] => b4-official-recognition-of-sign-language [theme_id] => 16 [contents] => A bill was passed into law on 27 May 2011 which recognises Icelandic Sign Language as an official language and the first language of deaf people in Iceland. The Law on the Status of the Icelandic Language and Icelandic Sign Language states (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls 61/2011) in Article 3 that Icelandic Sign Language is the first language of deaf, hearing impaired and deaf-blind people. Those who need to use Icelandic Sign Language should have the opportunity to learn and use Sign immediately, whether pertaining to the process of initial language acquisition or from the point of the evaluation of hearing impairment. These same rights apply to immediate relatives. The Law 61/2011 was referred to in a recent judgment (30 June 2015) by the Reykjavík District Court (E-327/2015) against the Icelandic state and the Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired (Samskiptamiðstöð heyrnarlausra og heyrnarskertra) for failing to provide adequate sign language interpretation for a young women with visual and hearing impairments. The court agreed that this violated her right to interpretation which was necessary for her to participate fully in society as others. [update_date] => 2016-04-14 17:41:37 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on the Status of the Icelandic Language and Icelandic Sign Language (English text) [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-pdf/Icelandic-Language-Act-tr-260711.pdf ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Héraðsdóms Reykjavíkur 30. júní 2015 í máli nr. E-327/2015: [url] => http://www.domstolar.is/domaleit/nanar/?ID=E201500327&Domur=2&type=1&Serial=1&Words= ) ) ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => B. General legal framework [theme_title] => B5. National disability strategy and action plan [theme_slug] => b5-national-disability-strategy-and-action-plan [theme_id] => 17 [contents] => The Iceland’s first disability strategy, known as the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 No. 143/40, was passed on 11 June 2012. The Action Plan arose as the result of 2010 amendments to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People No. 59/1992. The Plan is mandated to take into consideration the CRPD, which Iceland ratified in 2016. The Plan is divided into eight categories concerning specific priorities. Each category is further sub-divided into between three to eight further aims. The major priorities include: Accessibility, Employment, Social Protection/Independent Life, Health, Image and Awareness Raising, Human Rights, Education, and Participation. Section F.1 of this Resolution states the aim regarding the ratification of the CRPD.

The Ministry of Welfare extended the implementation time of the Action Plan until 2016. The officially stated reason was the time required to implement a project concerning section C.5 on prosthetics on technical solutions.

Recently, the Ministry of Welfare has established a working group to draft a new Disability Strategy 2017-2021. A draft of this new action plan was sent out for comments and the working group has been reviewing the comments and polishing the draft of the new action plan that will be sent to the Parliament as a Proposal for a Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs 2017-2021.

Part of the preparation for the new Disability Strategy included a report entitled Framkvæmdaáætlun í málefnum fatlaðs fólks 2012-2014. Stöðu og árangursmat (October 2016) that contained a review of the progress made under the original Action Plan. In short, despite some positive steps made in some areas of the Action Plan, this progress report showed lack of implementation in many areas of the Action Plan. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 10:52:59 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Report on the outcome of the 2012-2014 action plan (2016) [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/skyrslur2016/Frkv_aeatlun_mff_12_14_arangursmat_endurbaett_loka_jan2017.pdf ) ) ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => C. Accessibility [theme_title] => C1. Transport accessibility [theme_slug] => c1-transport-accessibility [theme_id] => 19 [contents] => Under the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs folks), accessibility issues and transportation matters are designated as municipal concerns. Article 35 states that municipalities are responsible for providing transport services for disabled people as well as establishing their rules of operation. The stated goal of this legislation is to ensure that disabled people are able to access transportation for the purposes of employment, study and leisure, although specific entitlements are restricted to travel needs to specialised service centres and programmes. Article A.2 of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 states the goal of making the public transit system accessible for all. However, it is also stated that this is limited to major transit routes and not the entire system.

Transportation options and services can and do vary across the country and priority is often given to transport for the purposes of employment, education and medical/rehabilitative needs. Using the capital area of the greater Reykjavík region as an example, there are two key public transportation options available for disabled people. One is the bus system, operated by Strætó, the municipal transportation service (Iceland has no train, subway or LRT system). The public bus system offers reduced fares for disability pensioners. However, while some of the newer buses are adapted to accommodate wheelchairs and computerised voice recordings announce each stop, there are older buses in service that remain less accessible and as such the service is unpredictable. The parallel transport service for disabled people is referred to as the Transportation service for the disabled (Ferðaþjónusta fatlaðra) and consists of small, specially equipped buses that are also visually distinct from the buses used in general service. Another option for those with visual impairments is an agreement between the Icelandic association of the blind and visually impaired with a local taxi company.

In May 2014, a new agreement was made between a number of municipalities in the greater Reykjavík area to consolidate the parallel transit system. The bus company, Strætó, is now employed by the municipalities to provide these services. An application for the use of this system must be approved beforehand by local municipal social services and priority is given to people with mobility issues. According to regulations issued by the city of Reykjavík in December 2014, the number of trips per month for work, school, medical and social reasons should not exceed 60. Users are required for pay for any additional trips. The service must be ordered online or via phone 2 hours in advance. A report was published in December 2015 which reviewed the status of this new arrangement between the municipalities and Strætó bs. Numerous criticisms were articulated by disabled people and their organizations. Among others cited in the report, the bus company lacked knowledge concerning the diverse and varied needs of the users of the service. About 20% of the users are wheelchair users and numerous technical issues were reported with the vehicles. Furthermore, there was little understanding of the needs of users with diverse and/or multiple disabilities, as well as people with intellectual disabilities and autism. One of the key issues identified in the report is a basic lack of consultation with disabled people about their needs, and that the knowledgeable staff members of the older parallel transit services had been replaced with newer and less knowledgeable drivers and dispatchers, often with a high staff turnover and little consistency or quality control. [update_date] => 2016-04-14 17:46:52 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Reglur um ferðaþjónustu fatlaðs fólks í Reykjavík (Icelandic, regulations on parallel transit services 11.12.2014) [url] => http://reykjavik.is/sites/default/files/skjol_thjonustulysingar/reglur_um_ferdathjonustu_fatlads_folks_i_reykjavik_-_19.12.2014.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Skýrsla framkvæmdaráðs ferðaþjónustu fatlaðs fólks til eigenda Strætó bs. (Icelandic, report on parallel transit services 3.2.2015) [url] => http://www.ruv.is/sites/default/files/lokskyrsla_framkvaemdarads_ferdathjonustu_fatlads_folks_13.desember_2015.pdf ) ) ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => C. Accessibility [theme_title] => C2. Built environment accessibility [theme_slug] => c2-built-environment-accessibility [theme_id] => 20 [contents] => According to the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs fólks), accessibility issues are designated as municipal concerns, and as such there is no definition of accessible housing pertaining to national disability law. Article 34 of the Act states that municipal councils are responsible for plans to improve access to buildings.

In regard to new construction, the building regulations issued in 2012 (amended in 2016) cite ‘accessibility for all’ as one of the primary purposes of these regulations as well as promoting the concept of universal design. This pertains to newly constructed public buildings, as well as newly built private and social housing. The Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun), which was formed on 1 January 2011, is tasked, among other things, with the responsibility for issuing guidelines on how accessibility matters are implemented. There are some quite detailed accessibility guidelines, such as the 2005 handbook 'Accessibility for all' (Aðgengi fyrir alla), with similar levels of detail to be found in the 2012 building regulations. Chapter 6 of the building regulations is particularly relevant. The opening of the chapter reaffirms the regulation’s commitments to making the exteriors, entrances and internal access routes and rooms for newly constructed buildings usable for all. Section 6.1.2 contains significant language in that it reaffirms the commitment to universal design and importantly articulates lack of accessibility to buildings on the grounds of disability, impairment or illness (fötlunar, skerðinga eða veikinda) as constituting discrimination (mismunun). The needs of specific impairment groups are articulated within this section, referring to various types of physical and sensory impairments, as well as intellectual disabilities with the reference to the need to consider markings and signs in terms of visibility and legibility. While the building regulations govern all new constructions, section 6.1.3 stresses that there are particular demands that the principles of universal design must be applied toward the design and construction of all new public buildings, housing intended for disabled people, student dorms, and the internal traffic routes and rooms of ground floor apartments. Section 6.2 of the building regulations contains the technical details of the demands of universal design pertaining to exteriors, entrance ways and interiors of newly constructed buildings, often with references to specific needs pertaining to people with disabilities.

The building regulations governing new constructions are quite progressive and strong concerning accessibility. However, accessibility matters concerning existing and older buildings is less clear. For example, Section A.1 of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 seeks to ensure accessibility for all for the built environment, though it is clear from the text that this is in reference to public buildings and infrastructure and not private homes. Each municipality is envisioned as conducting a self-assessment of public buildings and infrastructure and to make plans for improvement. The responsibility is to lie with the individual municipalities in partnership with the National Planning Agency (Skipulagsstofnun) and the Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun). A 2016 report, which detailed the outcome of the Action Plan in regard to accessibility measures, was not encouraging. A number of municipalities around the country were consulted and their answers ranged from audits of accessibility being done, or analysed, or in process, or not done at all. However, it is clear that the emphasis is on publicly owned institutions, such as schools, pools, and some attention is on parking spaces. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 10:58:05 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Building Regulations 2012 (2016) [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/reglugerdir/eftir-raduneytum/umhverfisraduneyti/nr/20081 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Accessibility for All [url] => http://www.rabygg.is/adgengi/ ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Report on the outcome of the 2012-2014 Action Plan (2016) [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/skyrslur2016/Frkv_aeatlun_mff_12_14_arangursmat_endurbaett_loka_jan2017.pdf ) ) ) [21] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => C. Accessibility [theme_title] => C3. ICT and Web accessibility [theme_slug] => c3-ict-and-web-accessibility [theme_id] => 21 [contents] => ICT and web accessibility in Iceland is voluntary and no legislation requires institutions or companies to make their websites accessible. The Icelandic government appears to have adopted the position of encouraging accessibility rather than legislating accessibility. Very little content of the 2011 media law (Lög um fjölmiðla 38/2011) makes reference to disability issues. For example, Article 30 suggests that efforts should be undertaken to make services accessible to people with vision and hearing impairments, such as through sign language, text and audio descriptions, but this is not a legally enforceable requirement. However, the regular assessment of governmental websites appears to be a priority. The most recent report was published in 2015 and conducted by Sjá, a net accessibility consultancy firm ('Hvað er spunnið í opinbera vefi 2015?'). These reports appear to be published on two-year intervals. The webpage maintained by the Icelandic government, Ut vefurinn, is a detailed repository of information concerning web accessibility issues. However, little new information concerning accessibility matters relating to disability were recorded in recent years. In 2013, the Law on State Broadcasting was passed (Lög um Ríkisútvarpið 23/2013). Article 6 of this law concerns accessibility to television broadcasts for deaf and hearing impaired people with the enhancement of state television broadcasts with sign language interpretation, text, or other suitable methods according to the available technology of the time. Iceland, as of the time of writing, has neither signed nor ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. [update_date] => 2017-06-07 18:29:11 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Media Law (Lög um fjölmiðla) 38/2011 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2011.038.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on State Broadcasting (Lög um Ríkisútvarpið) 23/2013 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/nuna/2013023.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Governmental web report (Hvað er spunnið í opinbera vefi 2015?) [url] => http://www.ut.is/media/utvefur/hesiov2015-skyrsla.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Web accessibility in Iceland (Ut vefurinn) [url] => http://www.ut.is/ ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Web accessibility directives (Aðgengisstefna) [url] => http://www.forsaetisraduneyti.is/um-vefinn/nr/2287 ) ) ) [23] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D1. Choice of living arrangements [theme_slug] => d1-choice-of-living-arrangements [theme_id] => 23 [contents] => According to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010, Article 5 now states that disabled individuals shall be entitled to have services where they choose to live. This is echoed in Regulation 1054/2010 on services to disabled people in their homes which places an emphasis on taking into consideration the preferences of service users with individualized service options. However, there still remains a clause in the Act 59/1992 whereby the municipalities (that are responsible for disability services as of 1 January 2011) retain the authority to decide on the nature and level of the services offered and thereby, in essence, govern where disabled individuals are able to reside. Regulation 1054/2010 clearly envisions the continued existence of group homes as a significant service option as well.

On 10 February 2012 a Handbook on user-led personal assistance (Handbók um NPA) was published. This guidebook is intended to be the first step toward the full implementation of NPA as a service option at the end of 2014, as stated in the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 as well as in provision IV of the amended Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992. However, this action plan has been extended until 2016 (recently, the Ministry of Welfare has established a working group to draft a new Disability Strategy 2017-2021) and new regulations governing state to municipal equalization payments concerning services for disabled people that were issued in 2014 (Reglugerð 242/2014) appear to have placed financial pressures upon the municipalities offering these services. In June 2012, guidelines for implementing of user-led services, were prepared for the municipalities in order to assist them in implementing this service provision (Leiðbeinandi reglur um innleiðingu NPA). Within the preamble of the guidelines it is stated that NPA in the future will be a major form of service provision for disabled people in Iceland. However, it also states that municipalities are not legally obligated to offer such services until a law on user-led personal assistance has been passed.

A collaborative pilot project on User-led Personal-Assistance (NPA) was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Welfare and the municipalities in Iceland. This pilot project was intended to run out in 2014 when law on NPA was introduced. However, this Pilot Project is still in operation as of the time of writing (2017). A large scale evaluation of the Pilot Project was carried out in 2015-2016 by the Social Science Institute and the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. In all, eight reports based on this evaluation were published in April 2016 and can be found on the web of the Ministry of Welfare (Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA - Icelandic only).

In developments in 2014 which may indicate the direction of governmental thinking, the municipal government of Reykjavík approved plans in April 2014 to build five new apartment complexes with shared support staff for 28 individuals with special support needs, including five spaces reserved for disabled children. In 2015, a High Court case decision (15 October 2015) 116/2015 Bjarnason vs. the City of Reykjavík raised questions concerning choice of living arrangements. The case concerned a young man with multiple disabilities who lived on his own with support, but did not receive the required around the clock assistance he needed. The court argued that the plaintiff chose direct payments and within the existing regulations which govern direct payments, the municipality did not violate the law. The court argued the plaintiff chose a ‘more expensive’ housing option, implying that a group home would be more appropriate and thus illustrates that disabled people in Iceland do not have the same ability to choose housing options as others.

Another case was presented to the High Court again the City of Reykjavik (80/2016 Salbjörg Ósk Atladóttir v/Reykjavík). In this case a young disabled woman who lived one week in her own apartment and another week in a respite home operated by the City of Reykjavík. The argument was that the City of Reykjavík's denial of a direct payment contract allowing her to live in her own apartment full time, instead of every other week, violated her rights. The interesting issue in this case was that this would not increase the cost of services provided to her. Despite this, Reykjavík was acquitted of the young woman's demands on a number of grounds. The ruling argued that (at the time) the CRPD was not ratified and that the housing arrangement, as it existed, did not violate the Icelandic constitution. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:02:01 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on services for disabled people in their homes 1054/2010 [url] => http://www.stjornartidindi.is/Advert.aspx?ID=512e8306-8da4-4a6d-9e56-5785fca65d9f ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Handbook on user-led personal assistance (Handbók um NPA) [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/npa/NPA_Handbok_10022012.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/140/s/1496.html ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Guidelines for the municipalities on the implementation of NPA [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/npa/Leidbeinandi_reglur_um_NPA_25062012.pdf ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act 152/2010 on changes to the Law 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2010.152.html ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Benedikt Hákon Bjarnason gegn Reykjavíkurborg [url] => https://www.haestirettur.is/default.aspx?pageid=347c3bb1-8926-11e5-80c6-005056bc6a40&id=92876bce-5cf4-4a1b-b54a-b55d83fb71d5 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA (Evaluation of user-led personal assistance) [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/npa/uttekt-felagsvisindastofnunar-a-npa/ ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Salbjörg Ósk Atladóttir v/Reykjavík 80/2016 [url] => https://www.haestirettur.is/default.aspx?pageid=347c3bb1-8926-11e5-80c6-005056bc6a40&id=315ce45d-b337-471d-b84a-479e7411c90a ) ) ) [24] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D2. De-institutionalisation [theme_slug] => d2-de-institutionalisation [theme_id] => 24 [contents] => In Iceland, the mid-1970s saw the emergence of the first small-scale group homes and which, by the 1980s, slowly began to develop as the preferred alternative to large state-run facilities. The ideology of normalisation and integration was reflected in legislation of the era, for example in the Law on support for the intellectually disabled 47/1979, which later incorporated all disabled people in the Act on the affairs of disabled people 41/1983. The contemporary form of this legislation is the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 and which contains some important amendments that were enacted into law in 2010 (Lög um breytingu á lögum nr. 59/1992, um málefni fatlaðra no. 152/2010). While the larger institutions have dwindled, what has emerged is a collection of group homes and service apartments, some of which replicate institutional patterns in their practices. New service apartments continue to be built, as evident in the plan approved in 2014 in Reykjavík to build 5 such apartments which will include 5 spaces for children.
The legislation regarding these matters has played a significant role in this regard in limiting choices on the part of disabled people, even though some of the legislation clearly envisions a deinstitutionalised and independent living scenario as the norm. Article 13 of the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended in 2010, states that disabled people should have access to social services that enable them to live in their own homes in accordance with their needs and wishes as much as possible. According to Article 42, a joint project between the state, municipalities and disabled people’s organisations has been working on establishing user-led personal assistance. Article 42 also states that no later than 2014 a bill shall be introduced that will enact user-led personal assistance into law, as echoed in the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140. However, this action plan has since been extended to 2016. Recently the Icelandic government has begun consultations for a new action plan that will span 2017-2021. Although these developments should be welcomed, it is important to point out that today user-led personal assistance continues to have the status of experimental even though the first experiments with so-called service contracts for personal assistance were tried as early as 1995. These services, however, are limited to a small number of people. The Regulation on services for disabled people in their homes 1054/2010 assumes both individualized services in private homes as well as group homes as co-existing service options. [update_date] => 2017-06-07 19:01:36 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act 152/2010 on changes to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2010.152.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on services for disabled people in their homes 1054/2010 [url] => http://www.stjornartidindi.is/Advert.aspx?ID=512e8306-8da4-4a6d-9e56-5785fca65d9f ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf ) ) ) [25] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D3. Quality of social services [theme_slug] => d3-quality-of-social-services [theme_id] => 25 [contents] => After the transfer of the services for disabled people from the state run Regional Offices to the local municipalities on 1 January 2011, there is no independent regulatory body tasked to evaluate or regulate quality of community based services and no quality criteria have been defined. Following from the amendments made in 2010 to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, Article 4 states that the municipalities are responsible for the planning and implementation of services, including service quality. Article 3 states that the Minister of Welfare bears ultimate responsibility for the affairs of disabled people, public policy and quality standards, in consultation with the Association of Icelandic Local Municipal Authorities (Samband íslenskra sveitarfélaga) and disabled people’s umbrella organisations. Work to enforce this, however, has not been carried out systematically, despite the fact that Article 1 of Act on the Affairs of Disabled People states that the authorities must take into account the international obligations the Icelandic government have taken on, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A bill before the Icelandic parliament on the monitoring of the rights of disabled people (Réttindagæsla fyrir fatlað fólk) was passed into law on 11 June 2011. This law contains provisions about the role of the disabled people’s representative (trúnaðarmaður). According to this law, one of their roles is to monitor the situations of disabled people and work alongside them in enacting their rights. The role of the disabled people’s representative is bound to involve, in some regards, the monitoring of compliance with quality standards for services to disabled people. According to Article 7 of this act, a new form of appointed personal spokespersons will be developed whereby persons with disabilities can ask for a personal spokesperson to assist in decision making, guarding their rights, personal affairs and in matters regarding finances. According to article 3 of the aforementioned Act, the Ministry of Welfare has established a Human Rights Watch to monitor the human rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the latest developments in services in order to make best practice suggestions to the relevant agencies.
In the autumn of 2010, the National Audit Office (Ríkisendurskoðun) published a report entitled Þjónusta við fatlaða (Services for the Disabled). The report found that the organisation and management of services was in many ways lacking. The report also concluded that the monitoring of services previsions was unsatisfactory and that it is therefore not possible to ensure equality among services users. An important point raised was that the services offered by providers did not follow coordinated procedures, and due to that it was not possible to ensure equity of service quality. The report of the National Audit Office suggests that this state of affairs is reprehensible because, as the result of these circumstances, it is not possible to assess the benefits of transferring the services from the state Regional Offices to the local municipalities. [update_date] => 2015-06-09 12:57:13 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/139a/1992059.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act 152/2010 on amendments to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2010.152.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on the Rights Monitoring of Disabled People [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/139/s/1806.html ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Services for the Disabled [url] => http://www.rikisend.is/fileadmin/media/skyrslur/thjonusta_vid_fatlada.pdf ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Information on the Human Rights Watch in the Ministry of Welfare [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/raduneyti/nefndir-rad-stjornir/nr/33401 ) ) ) [26] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D4. Provision of assistive devices at home [theme_slug] => d4-provision-of-assistive-devices-at-home [theme_id] => 26 [contents] => The provision of assistive devices at home in Iceland is the responsibility of an agency known as Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, which is governed by Sjukratryggingar Islands (Icelandic Health Insurance) and which, in turn, is regulated by the Ministry of Welfare. The legislation which governs the provisions of these devices is Reglugerð um styrki vegna hjálpartækja nr. 1115/2013. (Regulation on the supports for assistive devices). Under this regulation, funding is provided for assistive devices that are required for more than three months. The Regulation also contains detailed lists of the specific devices that are covered and the extent to which such devices are funded. The level of support for these devices range from 50% to 70% to 100% in regard to the extent to which the State will cover the costs of their purchase and installation. The 2013 revision included a number of cost cutting measures, such as increasing the cost users pay for things such as diapers. This regulation is governed by Article 26 of the Health Insurance Act (Lög um sjúkratryggingar 112/2008).
The devices that are eligible for such support are those which are deemed to limit the disabling impacts of impairments as well as facilitate the activities of daily living. Medical/rehabilitative certification is required prior to the authorisation for funding of such devices. Such funding is also limited to those who have legally resided in Iceland for six months and are already eligible for health care coverage. Those who live in group homes have the same rights to assistive devices as those who reside within private residences, but if a device may serve more than one individual and can be shared in the group home, funding is only provided for one such device. Similarly, difficulties arise whereby the home is one’s legal and primary residence and as such an additional device will not be provided for a second home, such as in the case of disabled children whose parents have dual custody arrangements. Funding for assistive devices is not provided for those who reside in healthcare facilities, retirement homes, temporary/short-term residential institutions, children’s homes and such. In these cases, the institution is considered to be responsible for providing the necessary devices with the exception that the device is needed in order to make the transition from the institution to a private residence. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:07:54 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on the supports for assistive devices (2013) [url] => http://www.stjornartidindi.is/Advert.aspx?ID=dfec3b48-a321-4431-8fbe-969a6c2879c9 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Health Insurance Act 112/2008 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/139a/2008112.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Hjálpartækjamiðstöð [url] => http://www.sjukra.is/lyf-og-hjalpartaeki/um-hjalpartaeki/ ) ) ) [27] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D5. Availability of personal assistance schemes [theme_slug] => d5-availability-of-personal-assistance-schemes [theme_id] => 27 [contents] => Currently, only a small number of people in Iceland have negotiated a personal assistance scheme, but the situation is changing rapidly. While such schemes have existed for some time in Iceland on a trial basis, most municipalities have begun expanding the process of offering personal assistance since 2012, with the expectation that this would become a fully functioning service option in 2014 when a law on user-led personal assistance would be introduced. When in 2015 no such law had been introduced, the Action Plan was extended until 2016. Currently, the Icelandic government has been drafting and sending out for consultation a new action plan for 2017-2021. The national government which formed in 2017 has expressed its intent to introduce a bill which will make personal assistance schemes a service option choice. Currently there is no law which guarantees the right to user-led personal assistance and existing provisions are on an experimental basis. However, the legislation that supports this policy shift is Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010; Regulation 1054/2010 on services to disabled people in their homes; and the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140, which has since expired with a new plan (2017-2021) being developed. On a national level, the Ministry of Welfare has produced a Handbook on user-led personal assistance (Handbók um NPA) as well as guidelines for the municipalities. Most municipalities which are implementing such schemes have also produced their own guidebooks. Such schemes are open to those between the ages of 18 to 66, have a legal residence in Iceland, do not reside within a nursing home and need assistance with daily life. The schemes are typically valid for 12 to 24 months after which they can be re-negotiated. The schemes are only available for a limited number of disabled people due to financial restraints and many are on a waiting list to receive personal assistance services. It is also important to note that according to the guidelines provided to the municipalities (Leiðbeinandi reglur um innleiðingu NPA), that municipalities are not legally required to offer personal assistance schemes while there is no law governing this type of services. Further, a perusal of the guidelines that have already been issued by various municipalities reveals some differences in terms of how personal schemes are designed and implemented. Personal assistance schemes, in the municipalities where they exist, are often described as pilot projects and remain in that status for years. A collaborative pilot project on User-led Personal-Assistance (NPA) was established in 2012 by the Ministry of Welfare and the municipalities in Iceland. This pilot project was intended to run out in 2014 when law on NPA would be introduced. However, this Pilot Project is still in operation as of the time of writing (2017). A large scale evaluation of the Pilot Project was carried out in 2015-2016 by the Social Science Institute and the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland. In all, eight reports based on this evaluation were published in April 2016 and can be found on the web of the Ministry of Welfare (Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA - Icelandic only). [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:11:47 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 (English text) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/3704 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act 152/2010 on amendments to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2010.152.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Handbook on personalised, user-led assistance (Handbók um NPA) [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/npa/NPA_Handbok_10022012.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Guidelines for the municipalities on the implementation of NPA [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/npa/Leidbeinandi_reglur_um_NPA_25062012.pdf ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014, No. 43/140 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/140/s/1496.html ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Úttekt Félagsvísindastofnunar á NPA [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/npa/uttekt-felagsvisindastofnunar-a-npa/ ) ) ) [28] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D6. Income maintenance [theme_slug] => d6-income-maintenance [theme_id] => 28 [contents] => For those not working, or not working full-time, a disability pension is the key form of income maintenance for disabled people in Iceland. The disability pension system is administered by the Social Insurance Administration of Iceland (Tryggingastofnun ríkisins), which is also responsible for senior pensions, health insurance, and occupational injury insurance. Tryggingastofnun is governed by the Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið). The pension levels for January 2017 are available to consult from the Social Insurance Administration website. The sums detail the maximum, and thus optimal, amount available to pensioners. Disability pensioners are translated in English as 'invalidity pensioners'. The core piece of the legislation which governs the disability pension system is the Social Security Act 100/2007 (Lög um almannatryggingar 100/2007). The basic set of criteria for eligibility for a disability pension is based upon age (from 18 to 67 years old); residency (resident of Iceland for three years prior to the submission of an application); and a medically assessed permanent impairment. It is important to note that the disability pension is comprised of the basic pension which all eligible pensioners receive (grunnlífeyrir), and also of the age-related disability supplement (aldurstengd örorkuuppbót), the levels of which are calculated based upon the age at which one is first legally determined to be disabled; the income security supplement (tekjutrygging), the full payment of which is linked to income and additional residency requirements; and the household supplement (heimilisuppbót), which is dependent upon the age (18+) and the living status. All of these components are governed by specific pieces of legislation and are determined by various criteria and payment reduction scales. There are essentially two classifications of recipients: those who receive a full pension (a rating of 75%), who are referred to as disability pensioners (Is. örorkulífeyrisþegar), and those whose impairments are not considered as severe and receive a rating of 50 to 74%. The latter receive a much less generous disability allowance (örorkustyrkur), therefore alternative sources of income from waged labour or social assistance from municipal social services are required for those who are only eligible for this allowance. Those who receive a disability rating below 50% (often referred to as a rating of 10 to 49%), typically in result of an injury, are usually paid in a one-time lump settlement either from the State Social Insurance Administration or from insurance companies.

Recent changes to the pension system are made in 2017. One significant change affected the senior's pension system which collapsed the parallel categories found in the disability pension system (such as basic pension, income security supplement) into one category known.

The disability pension system has long been a contentious issue in Icelandic disability politics. Prior the economic crisis of 2008 it was common to encounter heated debates in the Icelandic media pertaining to disability pension eligibility criteria and accusations of benefit fraud. The disability benefit reform issue re-emerged in 2017 after the election of a new government. On the agenda of the new government in the new parliamentary session is an amendment to the Social Security Act which may have a dramatic impact on the pension system (Þingmál félags- og jafnréttismálaráðherra á 146. löggjafarþingi). In March 2017, the government announced that the new bill introducing changes to the disability pension system would be postponed and would not be introduced in the spring 2017 parliamentary session. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:21:22 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Security Act 100/2007 (English) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Social-Security-Act-100-2007-with-subsequent-amendments.pdf ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Amendments to the Social Security Act 17/2008 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/stjt/2008.017.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Current pension levels (January 2017) [url] => http://www.tr.is/media/fjarhaedir/Ororku--og-endurhaefingarlifeyrir-utreikningur-lifeyris-og-tengdra-bota-januar-2017-30122017.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Social Insurance Administration of Iceland (Tryggingastofnun ríkisins) [url] => http://www.tr.is ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Changes to pension payments 2017 [url] => http://www.tr.is/oryrkjar/ororkulifeyrir/breytingar-a-lifeyrisgreidslum/ ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Þingmál félags- og jafnréttismálaráðherra á 146. löggjafarþingi [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/s-d-ssf-a ) ) ) [29] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D7. Additional costs [theme_slug] => d7-additional-costs [theme_id] => 29 [contents] => There are a number of additional benefits and entitlements for disabled people, but very few direct cash benefits aside from the pension system. Grants, subsidies, tax concessions and discounts are far more common than direct cash benefits in order to offset the additional living costs of disabled people. The restriction of these benefits and entitlements is often limited to those who are evaluated as fully disabled (75%). This 75% designation governs eligibility to a wide range of discounts and services. Therefore, people, not evaluated as fully disabled in the 50-74% designation, do not only receive a much less generous disability allowance, but also are excluded from receiving numerous discounts for themselves and their families, such as reduced pre-school fees, for example. People in the lower disability category may indeed need access to regular medical treatment and medication, but many of the discounted costs and fees are reserved for the fully disabled category. Some discounts, such as free swimming at municipal pools in Reykjavík for disability pensioners, are widely known about and often cited by disability pensioners as an example of such discounts. Other discounts, however, are not well advertised and are only discovered through research on the part of the individual, word of mouth, on-line forums and blogs, or pure chance. Some disabled people’s organizations include information on their websites about such benefits and entitlements, an example of which is Sjálfsbjörg’s Þekkingarmiðstöð, (Knowledge Centre). The evaluation procedures for such entitlements range from the cursory to the extensive depending upon the nature of the grant or discount. Discounted public transit tickets only require the display of a disability ID card at the point of purchase, whereas grants for the purchase or modification of a vehicle, for example, require a rather extensive application process. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:23:39 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Security Act 100/2007 (English) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Social-Security-Act-100-2007-with-subsequent-amendments.pdf ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Sjálfsbjörg’s Knowledge Centre [url] => http://www.thekkingarmidstod.is/ ) ) ) [30] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => D. Independent living [theme_title] => D8. Retirement income [theme_slug] => d8-retirement-income [theme_id] => 30 [contents] => The general entitlement to income for disabled people in Iceland over the age of 67 is the seniors’ pension system (ellilífeyrir). The age limitation for disability pension in Iceland’s is 67, after which pensioners are mainstreamed into the seniors’ pension system that serves the general population. The seniors’ pension system in certain ways mirrors the disability pension. They are both governed by the same legislation (Social Security Act 100/2007 (Lög um almannatryggingar 100/2007); the same state agency Tryggingastofnun (Social Security Institute) and the pensions are comprised of a number of components that are built on top of a basic pension level (grunnlífeyrir). Many benefits and discounts, such as discounts on public transportation or free swimming at municipal pools and so forth, are often bundled together as available for disability pensioners and seniors. The basic pension level for both the disability and senior pension systems are identical in terms of the base amount and the income ceiling at which reductions are initiated. The household supplement (heimilisuppbót) and income security supplement (tekjutrygging) are quite similar as well. However, a significant component of the disability pension is the age-related supplement (aldurstengd örorkuuppbót) which is paid according to the age at which an individual becomes evaluated as disabled. There is no comparable pension component for seniors. The questions also remain regarding the rights for a number of disability specific entitlements issues for disabled individuals who reach the age of 67, such as housing arrangements that specifically cater to disabled people. Furthermore, as the discussion around the implementation of personalised, user-led services in Iceland gathers steam, questions are being asked whether these arrangements are to cease at the age of 67 or will be extended. Currently this remains unclear.

In 2017, a number of categories that comprised the senior's pension, detailed earlier, were collapsed into one basic category known as the senior's pension. It is not yet known what the implications of these changes will be. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:25:32 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Security Act 100/2007 (English) [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Social-Security-Act-100-2007-with-subsequent-amendments.pdf ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Current pension levels (January 2017) [url] => http://www.tr.is/media/fjarhaedir/Ororku--og-endurhaefingarlifeyrir-utreikningur-lifeyris-og-tengdra-bota-januar-2017-30122017.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Changes to the senior's pension system 2017 [url] => http://www.tr.is/oryrkjar/ororkulifeyrir/breytingar-a-lifeyrisgreidslum/ ) ) ) [32] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => E. Education [theme_title] => E1. Special schools [theme_slug] => e1-special-schools [theme_id] => 32 [contents] => A comprehensive overview of the legal and policy context relevant for the educational context has been compiled by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture (Mennta- og Menningarmálaráðuneytið) on behalf of the EADSNE, the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. The most recent report on special education issued by EADSNE was issued in 2017, which includes links to recent studies, both in English and Icelandic (EADSNE 2017). The national education system in Iceland operates under the principle of what it refers to as ‘Inclusive education – Education for All.’ This, in essence, means that children and youth have the ‘equal opportunity’ to attend inclusive education, but the needs of specific students are addressed on a case by case basis, often at the local level. While the School Acts are state level policies enacted by the Ministry, the responsibility for the implementation of compulsory education occurs at the municipal level with the state being responsible for higher level education. As such, at least according to the legal statutes and regulations, it is often not clear as to what exactly disabled students have the right to in terms of services and support. Upon a close inspection of the legislation, it would appear that disabled children and their parents have the right not to attend special schools in favour of mainstream schools, but in practice this is not always the case depending upon a number of factors. A common theme within the various School Acts is the right for individual institutions to refuse certain requests for support if they are considered to be too costly or logistically infeasible for specific institutions, while simultaneously asserting that students have the right to have their needs met. Under the rubric of inclusion, specific references to disability are replaced by the generalizing language of ‘special needs.’ Legislation concerning all levels of education was updated in 2008 and reflects this approach. At the preschool level, the local authorities are responsible for administration and general operations, as well as 'special solutions' and 'specialist services', from which it may be inferred to refer to disabled students. The local municipal social services are also to be consulted to address these needs if warranted.

The Compulsory School Act governs grammar school education in Iceland, which is generally inclusive between the ages of 6 to 16. This Act asserts the rights of students with special needs, and based on this law there is a Regulation on students with special needs (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla); this regulation was updated and modified in 2015 (485/2015). Article 17 of the Compulsory School Act stipulates that 'pupils have the right to have their special needs met regarding studies in compulsory school, without discrimination and regardless of their physical or mental attainment.' A parallel regulation exists for students at the upper secondary school level (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012). If the parent(s) believe their child is not receiving adequate instruction at a particular school, they have the right to request further specialised instruction within the school or transfer to a specialised school. Disputes regarding these matters are governed by the 1993 Administrative Procedures Act, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office (Forsætisráðuneytið). Some evidence suggests that investments are still being made in Iceland with regard to segregated learning institutions. Two such segregated ‘special schools’ (Öskjuhíðarskóli and Safamýrarskóli) were merged into one larger segregated school called Klettaskóli in 2011. These schools are compulsory level schools from grades 1 through to 10. While the school is located in Reykjavík, it serves disabled children from across Iceland. The new Klettaskóli focuses on two groups of children between the ages of 6 to 16: students with moderate to ‘profound’ intellectual disabilities with or without additional impairments, and students with mild intellectual disabilities with additional impairments such as autism, deaf/blindness (daufblindir) or multiple and complex disabilities. An additional segregated school, Brúarskóli, is operated in Reykjavík. It serves children 6 – 16 with significant mental health, social or behavioural problems, and students who have difficulties due to drug use and/or have broken the law.

Statistics regarding mainstream or segregated education in Iceland pertaining to disabled students are problematic for a number of reasons. The first relates to the definition of segregated education. While some students receive education wholly within specialised schools or units, others receive in-class support within mainstream schools or else spend a portion of the day in a specialised unit while other classes are mixed. An EASPD report (European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities) about Iceland from 2016 noted: "37% of students who required additional learning support received that support within mainstream classes, 45% received support both within and outside mainstream classes. 17% were educated exclusively outside of mainstream classes in a special needs department." The other issue is that disabled students who do not need specific assistance or support, beyond having basic accessibility needs met, would not appear in the above mentioned statistics and would be included in general educational statistics as any other student.

An EADSNE report from Iceland issued in 2017 suggests that a number of problems persist in special education, ranging from municipal and regional disparities in terms of quality of education and services available, to resistance from parents and teachers toward inclusive education, or the belief that the educational needs of special needs children will not be met within mainstream schools. This is exacerbated by the rising number of students needing additional support needs in recent years. The author of the report concludes that "currently the policy is nothing but an ideology, there is no true implementation leaving children with special needs without the assistance and adjustments they need" (EADSNE 2017). [update_date] => 2017-09-13 13:00:59 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => EADSNE Country information – Iceland [url] => http://www.european-agency.org/country-information/iceland ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Preschool Act 90/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-pdf/Preschool_Act.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Compulsory School Act 91/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Compulsory_school_Act.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school 230/2012 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/webguard.nsf/538c26748c8e2a9d00256a07003476bd/0391d9423402a240002579bf007ce6e0?OpenDocument ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs 585/2010 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/aa0d47377abc977400256a090053ff91/95a2917f1119794b0025776f00062599?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,s%C3%A9r%C3%BEarfi ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Administrative Procedures Act [url] => http://eng.forsaetisraduneyti.is/acts-of-law/nr/17 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Upper Secondary School Act 92/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Upper_secondary_school_Act.pdf ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of People with Disabilities, No. 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/139a/1992059.html ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [title] => EASPD (2017). Inclusive Education in Iceland, an analysis by Hildur Kristjana Onnudottir [url] => http://easpd.eu/en/content/inclusive-education-iceland ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Reglugerð um breytingu á reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla, nr. 585/2010 (485/2015) [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/reglugerdir/eftir-raduneytum/mennta--og-menningarmalaraduneyti/nr/19506 ) ) ) [33] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => E. Education [theme_title] => E2. Mainstream schools [theme_slug] => e2-mainstream-schools [theme_id] => 33 [contents] => The legislation that governs the three levels of education in Iceland that focus on children and youth all contain references to supporting disabled students in mainstream schools, but with clauses that allow individual schools to refuse the enrolment of certain students on the grounds that it is not logistically feasible to meet their needs. Non-discrimination is specifically mentioned in Article 17 of the Compulsory School Act. Neither the Preschool nor the Upper-Secondary School Act refers explicitly to issues of discrimination. However, the 2010 Regulation on students with special needs in grammar schools (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla; updated in 2015 by regulation 148/2015) makes it clear that the preference by the Ministry on the part of schooling for disabled students is for them to receive support within the context of mainstream schools wherever possible and makes references to the educational context as based upon the ideals of ‘human values, democracy and social justice’ (Article 2). The 2012 Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012) refers to the CRPD and makes reference to the principles of inclusion and equality of opportunity.

The emphasis upon mainstream inclusive schooling of children regardless of disability status, illness, or other psychological or social issues was also echoed in an update to the compulsory school national curriculum that was produced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in April of 2011 (Aðalnámskrá grunnskóla). This was updated in 2014 and makes numerous references to equality and disability, including the suggested use of new forms of critical knowledge in the curriculum, such as work from queer theory and disability studies.

At the preschool level, the local authorities are responsible for administration and general operations, as well as 'special solutions' and 'specialist services', from which it may be inferred to refer to disabled students. In practice, this is to be worked out between the school administration, the teacher and the parents with support from the municipalities if needed. The local municipal social services are also to be consulted to address these needs if warranted. The preschools are also eligible for additional funding depending upon the number of disabled students who are enrolled. The Compulsory School Act governs grammar school education in Iceland, which is generally inclusive between the ages of 6 to 16. This Act asserts the rights of students with special needs, and is complemented by the 2010 Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla). In terms of ‘specialised services,’ Article 40 of the Compulsory School Act stipulates that the allocations of space and facilities is governed and organised by the local municipalities. The individual schools are required to ‘screen and survey’ all pupils at the beginning of their enrolment to ensure that 'they get adequate instruction and study support'. There appears to be a greater emphasis upon the role of school administrators, special education teachers and therapists who decide on the level of support the individual student receives. At the compulsory school level, students again are able to receive one-to-one support within the classroom and school, one-to-one tutoring as well as instruction within specialised units within the school. The school principal, assistant principal, director of special education and/or a social pedagogue (þroskaþjálfi) are generally involved in the assessment of practical assistance, whereas special education teachers and therapists tend to be more involved with the parents regarding academic matters, such as individual learning plans, education materials and testing conditions. Education at both the preschool and compulsory school levels is funded by the municipalities. Individual schools are required to apply for additional funding, if needed, to cover the costs associated with supporting disabled students. Applications can also be made to an equalisation fund if a particular school or municipality has to support a higher than average number of disabled students. Disabled students take classes either on their own or with the assistance of a support worker within mainstream schools. However, depending upon the individual’s learning needs, the students may follow the general curriculum or a special segregated study programme but this can also be taught within the general student population, within a mix of mainstream and special groups, or within a special unit within a mainstream school. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:37:14 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs 858/2010 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/aa0d47377abc977400256a090053ff91/95a2917f1119794b0025776f00062599?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,s%C3%A9r%C3%BEarfir ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school 230/2012 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/webguard.nsf/538c26748c8e2a9d00256a07003476bd/0391d9423402a240002579bf007ce6e0?OpenDocument ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Compulsory School Act 91/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Compulsory_school_Act.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Compulsory school national curriculum (2011) [url] => http://www.menntamalaraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/namskrar/adalnamskra-grunnskola/ ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Preschool Act 90/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-pdf/Preschool_Act.pdf ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Compulsory School Act 91/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Compulsory_school_Act.pdf ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school 585/2010 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/aa0d47377abc977400256a090053ff91/95a2917f1119794b0025776f00062599?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,s%C3%A9r%C3%BEarfir ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla. 148/2015 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/reglugerdir/eftir-raduneytum/mennta--og-menningarmalaraduneyti/nr/19506 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Icelandic National Curriculum with subject areas (2014) [url] => http://brunnur.stjr.is/mrn/utgafuskra/utgafa.nsf/xsp/.ibmmodres/domino/OpenAttachment/mrn/utgafuskra/utgafa.nsf/E7DE015E63AA2F2C00257CA2005296F7/Attachment/adalnrsk_greinask_ens_2014.pdf ) ) ) [34] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => E. Education [theme_title] => E3. Sign language and Braille in school [theme_slug] => e3-sign-language-and-braille-in-school [theme_id] => 34 [contents] => The first school for the blind and visually impaired (Blindraskóli) opened in 1933 and was located in various forms as sub-units within mainstream schools. The school closed in 2004, partly as the result of the growing emphasis on mainstream, inclusive education and a decreasing enrolment of blind and visually impaired students within the school in favour of mainstream education. A report from 2004 from the Ministry of Education (Bætt aðgengi blindra og sjónskertra að menntakerfinu) on improving access to education for blind and visually impaired students recommended, among other things, the creation of a knowledge and service centre that would provide support for blind, visually impaired and deaf/blind students, and teachers within mainstream education. The Centre was established in 2009 (Þjónustu- og þekkingarmiðstöð fyrir blinda, sjónskerta og daufblinda einstaklinga) and provides such supports as evaluating students needs and equipment, learning materials, assessing schools, helping with curricula, and assisting with teaching methods. In terms of the legal context, the Education Acts from 2008, which govern pre-school and compulsory school and upper-secondary school (The Preschool Act; Compulsory School Act; and the Upper Secondary School Act) all make varying general references to inclusion and mainstream education, but nothing specific with regard to learning Braille. A bill that passed into law in June 2011 on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011), also includes an article (Article 4) on the status of Braille in Icelandic (Íslenskt punktaletur). This Article recognises Braille as the first written language of blind and visually impaired people and stated that they should have the opportunity as early as possible to learn Braille. While this Law does not explicitly provide that blind and visually impaired students have the right to learn Braille in mainstream schools, it could possibly serve as the legal precedence for such an argument. Article 4 of the Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla) specifically entitles students with special needs to the use of 'sign language, Braille and appropriate equipment, adapted materials, facilities and training to promote the best possible education, empowerment and social development.' Although nothing specific to deaf or hearing impaired children appears in either The Preschool Act or the Compulsory School Act, the Upper Secondary School Act contains a reference in Article 34 of this Act which states that the regulations shall provide provisions on the right of hearing impaired and deaf students to receive special instruction in Icelandic Sign Language. This was recently reinforced with the passing of the law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011). Within this law, Article 3 holds that Icelandic Sign Language (Íslenskt táknmál) is the first language of deaf and hearing impaired people in Iceland and their children, and that the government should support and encourage its use. Anyone who needs to learn and use Sign Language should have the earliest possible opportunity to do so and that this same right also applies to their closest relatives. Article 13 also states that Icelandic Sign Language has the equal status as Icelandic as a form of communication between people and that it is ‘not permissible’ (óheimilt) to discriminate against people on the basis of their use of this language. The right to use Sign Language, at least at the compulsory school level, is also stated within the above-mentioned Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school (Reglugerð nr. 585/2010 um nemendur með sérþarfir í grunnskóla). The revised Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school (Reglugerð um nemendur með sérþarfir í framhaldsskólum 230/2012) refers explicitly to the 2011 Language Law. Article 6 of Regulation 230/2012 states that students have the right to education in Icelandic Sign Language as their first language, in accordance with Law 61/2011, as well as the right to use Icelandic Braille as their written language. However, a recent court decision (394/2015) ruled against the plaintiff, in the case of a hearing impaired boy entering the seventh grade. The complaint concerned the lack of translation of study materials into Icelandic sign language, the boy's native language. The agency responsible cited budgetary limitations whereas the court cited legal technicalities for the dismissal of the case. [update_date] => 2016-04-18 13:15:46 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language 61/2011 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/139/s/1570.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Ministry of Education report (2004) on improving access for blind and visually student in the education system [url] => http://www.hi.is/sites/default/files/oldSchool/baett_adgengi_blindra.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Service Centre for Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deaf-Blind individuals [url] => http://midstod.is/ ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Preschool Act 90/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-pdf/Preschool_Act.pdf ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Compulsory School Act 91/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Compulsory_school_Act.pdf ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Upper Secondary School Act 92/2008 [url] => http://eng.menntamalaraduneyti.is/media/MRN-PDF-Althjodlegt/Upper_secondary_school_Act.pdf ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs in compulsory school 585/2010 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/aa0d47377abc977400256a090053ff91/95a2917f1119794b0025776f00062599?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,s%C3%A9r%C3%BEarfir ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on students with special needs in upper-secondary school 230/2012 http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/webguard.nsf/538c26748c8e2a9d00256a07003476bd/0391d9423402a240002579bf007ce6e0?OpenDocument; [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/webguard.nsf/538c26748c8e2a9d00256a07003476bd/0391d9423402a240002579bf007ce6e0?OpenDocument ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Andri Fannar Ágústsson gegn íslenska ríkinu og Reykjanesbæ (394/2015) [url] => http://haestirettur.is/domar?nr=10558 ) ) ) [35] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => E. Education [theme_title] => E4. Vocational training [theme_slug] => e4-vocational-training [theme_id] => 35 [contents] => Vocational training providers are not subject to non-discrimination laws in relation to disability as they would be in regard to gender issues, for example. There is a regulation that concerns vocational training (Reglugerð um vinnustaðanám og starfsþjálfun á vinnustað). However, this regulation mentions nothing concerning disability, but it does include a remark that the training contract may be severed if the student is unable to pursue his or her training due to health-related reasons. A law from March 2010 concerning continuing education (Lög um framhaldsfræðslu) may also be relevant. One educational and training option for disabled people is to take short-term courses in subjects such as computer skills and accounting, often through disabled people’s organisations. However, such training was not generally recognised as accredited education. With this new law, such training, as well as work within institutions, can now be valued as upper-secondary school credits. The lack of any particular legislation on support for disabled students in vocational training is quite noticeable. To the best of our knowledge there is no specific governmental or legal policy framework that concerns the rights and needs of young disabled people pursuing technical or vocational training. Most regular upper-secondary schools offer special units, vocational units, for disabled students who have been in special education classes during grammar school. This is a four year education for students aged 16-20 and the special units aim to prepare students for independent life after school, including work. These units operated according to the curricula for these special units (Námsskrá fyrir starfsbrautir framhaldsskóla: sérdeildir, 2005). The Icelandic National Curriculum Guide for Upper Secondary Schools: general Section 2011 is available in English. While there seems to be a focus on supporting disabled students in the early years, there seems to be a distinct weakness in this support after the age of 16 and before the years when students pursue upper-secondary education. In terms of practical supports for vocational training, Sjúkratryggingar Islands (SÍ) (Icelandic Health Insurance) governs Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, a centre which allocates a wide range of disability related equipment based upon the assessment of individuals by specialists. This equipment is intended to reduce the disabling impact of impairments and to assist with the necessities of daily life for all disabled people. The equipment remains the property of SÍ and the choices of particular pieces of equipment are generally limited to a pre-approved list put forth by SÍ. However, it is important to note that SÍ will not provide equipment for educational purposes for those 16 years and older, or for work for those 18 years and older. The cut-off age of 16 is significant in that this is the age at which students make the transition from compulsory education to upper-secondary education. In other words, SÍ will provide equipment deemed necessary for daily living, but will not do so for anything beyond basic, compulsory education. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:48:56 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on Continuing Education 27/2010 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/138/s/0850.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation no. 840/2011 on the job training and workplace education [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/key2/840-2011 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Curriculum for upper-secondary study programme: specialized departments (2005) (Námsskrá fyrir starfsbrautir framhaldsskóla: sérdeildir) [url] => http://www.menntamalaraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/namskrar/nr/3962 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Icelandic National Curriculum Guide for Upper Secondary Schools: general Section 2011 [url] => http://www.menntamalaraduneyti.is/utgefid-efni/namskrar/adalnamskra-framhaldsskola/ ) ) ) [36] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => E. Education [theme_title] => E5. Higher education [theme_slug] => e5-higher-education [theme_id] => 36 [contents] => There is no state level legal framework that ensures the rights and needs of disabled students are met with regard to higher education. One exception in terms of anti-discrimination may be the recent law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language (Lög um stöðu íslenskrar tungu og íslensks táknmáls nr. 61/2011). The anti-discriminatory clause in Article 13 states that Icelandic Sign has the equal status as Icelandic as a form of communication between people and that it is ‘not permissible’ (óheimilt) to discriminate against people on the basis of their use of this language. Some higher education institutions, such as the University of Iceland, have internally developed regulations, committees and counseling services that address the needs of disabled students. The University of Iceland is the largest and oldest higher education institution in the country that implements a specific set of regulations concerning disabled students and those with special needs, last amended in 2010 (Reglur um sértæk úrræði í námi við Háskóla Íslands, nr. 481/2010). The University of Iceland has an Office of educational and vocational counseling (Náms- og starfsráðgjöf Háskóla Íslands) which offers various supports to students with special needs. In 2005, the University of Iceland’s General Forum accepted a Policy against discrimination (Stefna gegn mismunun). The University also has a Committee on Disability (Ráð um málefni fatlaðs fólks) that meets to address issues concerning access, resources, technical matters and any issues that arise concerning the needs of disabled students. The University of Iceland has also developed a policy that specifically concerns disabled students and aims to make participation in the university community accessible to all (Stefna í málefnum fatlaðra). Section 1 of this policy states that the university and its environment is to be rendered accessible and secure for disabled people, with due consideration to legislation that governs the preservation of historic buildings. The University bears the costs of any adaptations that are deemed necessary. A booklet has also been produced–Háskóli fyrir alla: Aðgengi og úrræði við Háskóla Íslands (University for All: Accessibility and Resources at the University of Iceland)–which informs the enrolling students about the services and resources offered at the university and what they might expect during the course of their studies. While this support is paid for by the University, it is important to note that the University reserves the right to refuse specific supports if they are deemed to be too expensive or impractical. In terms of practical assistance, students can be provided with a wide range of support such as sign language interpreters, counselling, note-takers, longer test times, in-class assistance and so forth. The financial support for disabled students offered by the University of Iceland in the form of a tuition discount is discretionary on the part of each institution as opposed to state policy and is not necessarily representative of other higher education institutions in the country. There are also a number of disabled people’s organisations that offer some financial support for education and training. One example is Blindrafélagið (the Icelandic Organization of Blind and Partially Sighted) which offers support through the organisation’s study fund (Námssjóður Blindrafélagsins). Iceland is also a member of HEAG (Higher Education Accessibility Guide), a 2009 European initiative that provides practical information to students with disabilities who wish to study abroad and which includes some information on upper secondary education in Iceland. [update_date] => 2017-08-18 11:42:24 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulations about special educational support at the University of Iceland nr. 481/2010 [url] => http://www.hi.is/adalvefur/reglur_nr_481_2010 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Information on the Committee on Disability (Ráð um málefni fatlaðs fólks), University of Iceland [url] => http://www.hi.is/adalvefur/rad_um_malefni_fatlads_folks ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => University of Iceland’s General Policy against discrimination [url] => http://www.hi.is/sites/default/files/oldSchool/Policy_against_Discrimination.pdf ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on the status of the Icelandic language and Icelandic Sign Language 61/2011 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/altext/139/s/1570.html ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => University of Iceland's disability policy [url] => http://www.hi.is/adalvefur/stefna_i_malefnum_fatladra ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => University for All: Accessibility and Resources at the University of Iceland [url] => http://www.hi.is/sites/default/files/oldSchool/Haskoli-fyrir-alla.pdf ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => HEAG (Higher Education Accessibility Guide) - Iceland [url] => http://www.european-agency.org/country-information/iceland/national-overview/complete-national-overview ) ) ) [38] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => F. Employment [theme_title] => F1. Non-discrimination in employment [theme_slug] => f1-non-discrimination-in-employment [theme_id] => 38 [contents] => There is very weak anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland, particularly pertaining to disabled people and ethnic minorities, and as such there is no comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland that covers employment issues in regard to disability. There is some anti-discrimination protection in the Administrative Procedures Act, no. 37/1993. However, this Act only applies to state and municipal employees and again there is no explicit mention of disability. The only anti-discrimination legislation in Iceland pertaining to employment is the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men 10/2008, which pertains to issues concerning gender.

In March of 2013, a draft of a bill was presented for initial review concerning equal treatment in the labour market (Frumvarp til laga um jafna meðferð á vinnumarkaði). This bill references the EC Directive 2000/78 and 2000/43 and makes an explicit reference to bans on discrimination in the labour market against disabled people and those with reduced work capacities. This bill has not yet been submitted to the Icelandic parliament at time of writing. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:47:57 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Administrative Procedure Act 37/1993 [url] => http://eng.forsaetisraduneyti.is/acts-of-law/nr/17 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men, No. 10/2008 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/acts-of-Parliament/nr/4203 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Iceland 2011 - Country report on measures to combat discrimination: Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC [url] => http://www.non-discrimination.net/content/media/2011-IS-Country%20Report%20LN_final.pdf ) ) ) [39] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => F. Employment [theme_title] => F2. Public employment services [theme_slug] => f2-public-employment-services [theme_id] => 39 [contents] => As of 1 January 2011–according to the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992, as amended with Act 152/2010–the responsibility for employment services, advice, and support for disabled people was transferred from the Regional Offices for the Affairs of Disabled People to Vinnumálastofnun, the Icelandic Directorate of Labour, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Welfare (Velferðarráðuneytið). Vinnumálastofnun operates local offices across the country and, in addition to managing the unemployment benefit system, also offers job search and counselling services. The relevant legislation in this regard is Lög um vinnumarkaðsaðgerðir 55/2006 (Labour Market Measures Act, No. 55/2006). While there is no clear reference to disability within this legislation, Article 2 clarifies the goal of Vinnumálastofnun as supporting individuals to become active in the labour market. Article12 outlines the responsibility of Vinnumálastofnun for employment training, experience, counselling and occupational rehabilitation. The other relevant legislation is the regulation Reglugerð um atvinnumál fatlaðra 376/1996 (Regulation on the employment of people with disabilities 376/1996). This Regulation governs career counselling, job search and employment, assistance to disabled persons in employment in the private sector, rehabilitation and sheltered workshops. Overall, the regulation’s intent is to support disabled people in training and enhancing work capacity. However, a good deal of this Regulation is now out of date and its status unclear, as the Regional Offices no longer govern employment matters, and the focus of this regulation is on the provision and funding for sheltered workshops and not the open labour market. As such, Vinnumálastofnun (the Icelandic Directorate of Labour) does not refer to or list this Regulation on their website. There are individual agents within Vinnumálastofnun who are responsible for assisting individuals with various impairments or other issues, although in recent years these services have been gradually mainstreamed into the general employment counselling services. Individuals with more extensive support needs are offered the programme Atvinna með stuðningi (AMS–Supported Employment). AMS focuses on supporting people with intellectual and/or physical impairments with reduced work capacities or more significant support needs in order to foster their participation in the mainstream labour market. This includes, among other things, assistance findings jobs, counselling, building relationships with employers, and continued contact with job placements. One option is a 5-week course that generally caters to people with intellectual disabilities and focuses on developing preparatory work experience, interpersonal and communication skills, education on workers’ rights and labour laws, as well as visits to worksites. However, such job placements more or less tend to be for those have a measure of independence or self-sufficiency. Disabled people with more intensive or complex support needs tend to be streamed towards employment in a number of sheltered workshops, some of which cater to people with specific kinds of impairments. Municipalities, such as the City of Reykjavík, also offer the services of employment activation counselors (Virkniráðgjafar) for people with psycho-social difficulties and who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. These counselors operate according the 2003 Regulation on social assistance from the City of Reykjavík (Reglur um fjárhagsaðstoð frá Reykjavíkurborg 2003). [update_date] => 2012-12-03 18:46:01 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Labour Market Measures Act, No. 55/2006 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/138b/2006055.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the Affairs of Disabled People 59/1992 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/139a/1992059.html ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on the employment of people with disabilities 376/1996 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/key2/376-1996 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on social assistance from the City of Reykjavík [url] => http://www.reykjavik.is/Portaldata/1/Resources/skjol/svid/velferdarsvid/reglur/fjarhagsadstod/Reglur_um_fj_rhagsa_sto__birtingareintak_januar_07.pdf ) ) ) [40] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => F. Employment [theme_title] => F3. Workplace adaptations [theme_slug] => f3-workplace-adaptations [theme_id] => 40 [contents] => According to the Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 (Lög um málefni fatlaðs folks), accessibility issues are designated as municipal concerns. The Iceland Construction Authority (Mannvirkjastofnun), which was formed on 1 January 2011, is tasked, among other things, with the responsibility for issuing guidelines on how accessibility matters are implemented. The relevant legislation is the 2012 Building Regulations (Byggingarreglugerð 2012). However, these regulations cover public buildings and infrastructure. To the best of our knowledge, the adaptation of private workplaces is not mandated by law. [update_date] => 2012-12-03 18:46:39 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on the affairs of people with disabilities 1992/59 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/nuna/1992059.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Building Regulations 2012 [url] => http://www.mannvirkjastofnun.is/library/Skrar/Byggingarsvid/Byggingarreglugerd/Byggingarreglugerd_2012.pdf ) ) ) [41] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => F. Employment [theme_title] => F4. Financial incentives [theme_slug] => f4-financial-incentives [theme_id] => 41 [contents] => The key financial incentive for the employment of disabled workers in the labour market in Iceland is known as the Vinnusamningur öryrkjar, or work contract for disabled workers. This agreement is governed by Tryggingastofnun ríkisins (TR–the state Social Security Institute). The legislation that govern this work agreement is the Reglugerð um öryrkjavinnu 159/1995. Under this agreement, TR is authorised to enter into work agreements with employers in the general labour market to hire disability pensioners (öryrkjar), people with a disability allowance or people receiving rehabilitation benefits. TR manages the agreements with employers and acts as a liaison between employers and workers. Contacts are made with individuals and can be for full-time or part-time positions not exceeding ‘100%’, meaning work that entails a standard shift and not overtime. The contracts specify the workplace and job description and follow the standard wage contracts for that position. TR will reimburse the employer for a maximum of 75% of the wages and never lower than 25%, and which is dependent upon TR receiving duplicate wage slips. [update_date] => 2012-12-03 18:47:04 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Work contract for disabled workers [url] => http://www.tr.is/oryrkjar/vinnusamningur-oryrkja/ ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on the disability work agreement (Reglugerð um öryrkjavinnu) 159/1995 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/538c26748c8e2a9d00256a07003476bd/7ab531cb142806b500256a0800312368?OpenDocument ) ) ) [43] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => G. Statistics and data collection [theme_title] => G1. Official research [theme_slug] => g1-official-research [theme_id] => 43 [contents] => There is no official research institute or department responsible for research on disability equality and the collection of relevant data and statistics in Iceland on disability in specific. The Regional Offices for the Affairs of Disabled People were tasked to produce regular reports on their activities. However, not all Offices did so, or did so on a regular basis. What was produced and made available to the public was of an uneven quality. The Regional Offices were closed down on 1 January 2011 when the responsibility for most disability services was transferred to the municipal level. Statistics Iceland, the government statistics agency, does not produce much statistics in regards to disability indicators. The most consistently reliable source of statistical information regarding disability is produced by Tryggingastofnun, the state Social Security Institute. However, much of this information concerns the disability pension system that they govern.

In June 2012, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Welfare and Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland is now responsible for the updating and publishing of the social indicators (félagsvísar) that have previously been collected and published by the Ministry. The most recent publication of the social indicators was in 2014, and it contains very few disability indicators.

However, the Icelandic Welfare Ministry has funded a number of disability related research projects for a number of years. One recent example is an audit conducted in the latter half of 2015 of the accessibility of public buildings within ten municipalities and service areas. Another is a 5 million ISK project in collaboration with the Directorate of Health, local health services and the Social Science Research Institute of the University of Iceland to assess the health status and accessibility of health care services for disabled people. The findings from both projects are expected in 2016. [update_date] => 2016-04-18 13:47:12 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Security Institute of Iceland - Disability Pension Statistics [url] => http://www.tr.is/tryggingastofnun/tryggingastofnun_i_tolum// ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Indicators 2014 (Félagsvísar 2014) [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/rit-og-skyrslur-2015/Felagsvisar_2014.pdf ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Bætt aðgengi fatlaðs fólks að samfélaginu í brennidepli [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/35418 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Rannsókn á heilbrigði fatlaðs fólks [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/35409 ) ) ) [44] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => G. Statistics and data collection [theme_title] => G2. Census data [theme_slug] => g2-census-data [theme_id] => 44 [contents] => There is no national census conducted in Iceland. [update_date] => 2012-03-23 14:19:48 [links] => Array ( ) ) [45] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => G. Statistics and data collection [theme_title] => G3. Labour Force Survey [theme_slug] => g3-labour-force-survey [theme_id] => 45 [contents] => The Labour Force Survey has been conducted in Iceland since 2003. However, Statistics Iceland rarely makes such LFS figures concerning employment and disability public. The main employment statistics they publish focus on the employment rate concerning region, gender, age and occupation. Iceland was not included in the 2002 ad-hoc module Employment of disabled people. Iceland was included in the EU-LFS 2011 ad hoc module Employment of Disabled People, however the results were still not available as of the time of writing. Some reference had been made to disability in the Statistical Series Wages, Income and Labour Market reports that are released periodically by Statistics Iceland, which mainly focused on disability and inactivity rate. However, for reasons that are not clear, the reference to disability was removed from Table 6 concerning inactivity in 2013. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:46:03 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => EU labour force survey - ad hoc modules [url] => http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_explained/index.php/EU_labour_force_survey_-_ad_hoc_modules ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Statistics Iceland LFS general figures [url] => http://www.statice.is/Statistics/Wages,-income-and-labour-marketStatistics Iceland ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Statistical Series: Wages, Income and Labour Market (October 2012) [url] => https://hagstofa.is/lisalib/getfile.aspx?ItemID=14298 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Statistical Series: Wages, Income and Labour Market (November 2013) [url] => http://www.statice.is/lisalib/getfile.aspx?ItemID=15782 ) ) ) [46] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => G. Statistics and data collection [theme_title] => G4. Disability equality indicators [theme_slug] => g4-disability-equality-indicators [theme_id] => 46 [contents] => There is no set of disability equality indicators based on public data sources available in Iceland. While Statistics Iceland is officially tasked to gather, analyse and publish statistical information regarding numerous indicators about the nation, there is no mandate to do so either with regard to disability in general or disability equality indicators in specific.

The Ministry of Welfare has developed and published social indicators (félagsvísar) to indicate the social situation of diverse groups of the population, particularly vulnerable groups. Issues of disability are addressed on disability pensioners only, not on disabled people in general. These social indicators are available on the Ministry’s website.

In June 2012, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Welfare and Statistics Iceland. Statistics Iceland is now to be responsible for the updating and publication of the social indicators (félagsvísar) that have previously been collected and published by the Ministry. The most recent publication of the social indicators was 2013 and which contains some disability related indicators. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:45:36 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Social Indicators 2013 (Félagsvísar 2013) [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/Rit_2013/Felagsvisar_18102013.pdf ) ) ) [48] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H1. Awareness raising programs [theme_slug] => h1-awareness-raising-programs [theme_id] => 48 [contents] => There is no ‘official’ (that is, state) responsibility or programme for promoting and raising public awareness of the equality and rights of disabled women and men but disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and academics have played this role to some extent. However, Article E of the Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 explicitly concerns awareness raising. The Ministry of Welfare, jointly with other government agencies, DPOs and academics, held a number of public conferences on issues concerning disability in 2013, such as the 2014 Action Plan and violence against disabled people. The Centre for Disability Studies at the University of Iceland has over the past few years offered courses to raise disability awareness, including courses on the CRPD, that have been for the general public and anyone interested. The Centre has also offered courses for municipalities, intended for professionals, administrators and other municipal employees. These courses have been offered in relation to the transfer of services from the state to the municipalities and intended to educate municipal employees about issues of disability. DPOs have also organised awareness raising projects. For example, following the transfer of disability services to municipalities on 1 January 2011, the Organisation of Disabled in Iceland (Öryrkjabandalag Íslands) organised a series of meetings across the country aimed at raising awareness about disability issues, disability rights, and the CRPD. The state-owned Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (Ríkisútvarpið) launched a TV programme series called With our Eyes (Með okkar augum) on 4 July 2011, which was continued in the autumn of 2013 and a further grant of 2.5 million ISK was provided in late 2015 for the continuation of the show. This series, which is operated by people with intellectual disabilities, views everyday life and events in Iceland from their perspective. The programme has been effective in raising awareness about issues of disability and the contributions of disabled people, combating stereotypes and prejudice, presenting a positive view of disability and encouraging a discussion on disability issues. The programme was initiated by the Iceland Association on Intellectual Disability (Landssamtökin Þroskahjálp). Awareness raising has also become a factor within some employment related projects. An example is a funded employment project between the Icelandic Directorate of Labour and the City of Hafnarfjöður. One goal is to increase employment opportunities for disabled people, but another stated goal is to change societal attitudes concerning disabled people. This signals a shift toward mainstreaming awareness raising into other disability related programmes and projects. [update_date] => 2016-05-02 19:11:19 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => ÖBÍ symposiums [url] => http://www.obi.is/ ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => With our eyes programme [url] => http://www.ruv.is/medokkaraugum ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => With our eyes programme—Facebook page [url] => https://www.facebook.com/medokkaraugum ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Nýsköpun í atvinnumálum fatlaðs fólks í Hafnarfirði [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/35407 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Parliamentary Resolution on a Plan of Action on Disabled Persons’ Affairs until 2014 [url] => http://eng.velferdarraduneyti.is/media/acrobat-enskar_sidur/Parliamentary_Resolution_on_a_Plan_of_Action_on-Disabled_Persons_Affairs_until_2014.pdf ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Ministry of Welfare 2013 conferences [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/34190 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Ministry of Welfare 2013 conferences [url] => http://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/34136 ) ) ) [49] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H2. Training for teachers [theme_slug] => h2-training-for-teachers [theme_id] => 49 [contents] => In Iceland there are two institutes that offer comprehensive teacher training in education: The University of Iceland and the University of Akureyri. According to the law on preschool, compulsory school and upper-secondary school (Lög um menntun og ráðningu kennara og skólastjórnenda við leikskóla, grunnskóla og framhaldsskóla 87/2008), teachers in compulsory and upper-secondary education are supposed to have completed an MA or M.Ed. This is a new requirement and the first students to be trained under this requirement started their programme in the fall of 2010. Thus, in practice, the majority of teachers have a BA or B.Ed. degrees, but are employed at lower wages and with fewer options for career development. In regard to the extent to which disability issues are included in the general curriculum of university training for school teachers, there are some courses or units within courses but not extensive training. The School of Education at the University of Iceland, which trains the majority of preschool, compulsory school and upper secondary school teachers, offers some courses on disability related issues such as inclusive education, disability studies, individualised curricula, teaching methods for a diverse group of students, and inclusive teaching practices. Some of these courses are required while others are elective courses. However, inclusive education is not among the areas B.Ed students can specialise in. On the master’s level students can select among five concentration areas. Among them is a MEd programme (120 ECT) in Education in inclusive schools in a multicultural society (Nám og kennsla í skóla án aðgreiningar í fjölmenningarsamfélagi). The MA/M.Ed is a two-year theoretical and professional graduate degree. Admission requirements are a bachelor's degree in the field of education and pedagogy. At the University of Akureyri, very little appears to be offered at the BA or B.Ed. levels focusing specifically on disability. There are, however, courses on inclusive education, special education policies, individualised curricula and teaching methods that include issues of disability. At the Masters level there is a course entitled ‘Disability and Society’, which is an elective course, and another which focuses on special education.

While not focused on teachers directly, in 2015 the Ministry of Welfare entered into an agreement with the School of Education at the University of Iceland to develop online courses on disability issues for municipal service providers and staff. This concerns practical issues but also issues regarding human rights and attitudes. [update_date] => 2016-04-18 14:03:08 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Law on teacher education and training preschool, compulsory school and upper-secondary school 87/2008 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/136a/2008087.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Education in inclusive schools in a multicultural society [url] => https://ugla.hi.is/kennsluskra/index.php?tab=skoli&chapter=content&id=26243&kennsluar=2012 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Fræðsluefni fyrir starfsfólk sem annast þjónustu við fatlað fólk [url] => https://www.velferdarraduneyti.is/frettir-vel/nr/35401 ) ) ) [50] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H3. Training for lawyers [theme_slug] => h3-training-for-lawyers [theme_id] => 50 [contents] => In Iceland, the training of lawyers takes place at four different universities. A review of the curricula for the initial training programme in these universities reveals that no courses focusing on disability awareness issues are provided. Some of the courses address human rights in general and equality issues (mostly gender equality). There are some elective courses available, such as a course entitled Equality and non-discrimination in European context (which includes disability) at the University of Iceland. To our knowledge there is no training available for legal professionals on issues of disability and disabled people’s organizations have not been involved in training legal professionals. [update_date] => 2012-12-03 18:49:38 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Faculty of Law, University of Iceland (training of lawyers) [url] => http://english.hi.is/school_of_social_sciences/faculty_of_law/law ) ) ) [51] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H4. Training for doctors [theme_slug] => h4-training-for-doctors [theme_id] => 51 [contents] => According to information from the Faculty Office in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland (the only place for training doctors in Iceland) there are no disability awareness issues as a part of the training programs for doctors. [update_date] => 2012-12-03 18:50:05 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland (training of doctors) [url] => http://english.hi.is/school_of_health_sciences_departments/faculty_of_medicine/main_menu/home ) ) ) [52] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H5. Training for engineers [theme_slug] => h5-training-for-engineers [theme_id] => 52 [contents] => According to information provided by the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland, there is no disability awareness as a part of their programme for engineers and designers.

However, in October of 2013, the national disabled people’s umbrella organization (ÖBÍ) signed an agreement of co-operation with the Iceland Construction Authority. Among other things, this includes the sharing of information, public awareness campaigns, the support for student projects and the promotion of universal design knowledge in the education of disciplines linked to the building industry. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:43:38 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => School of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Iceland [url] => http://english.hi.is/sens/school_of_engineering_and_sciences/school_of_engineering_and_natural_sciences ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Öryrkjabandalag Íslands og Mannvirkjastofnun stuðla að meiri sátt um byggingarreglugerð [url] => http://www.obi.is/utgafa/frettir/nr/1459 ) ) ) [53] => stdClass Object ( [parent] => H. Awareness and external action [theme_title] => H6. International development aid [theme_slug] => h6-international-development-aid [theme_id] => 53 [contents] => The Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) (Þróunarsamvinnustofnun Íslands) is the agency which, by law, has the responsibility to execute and administer bi-lateral development assistance provided by the Government of Iceland. It is an autonomous agency under the Iceland Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ICEIDA’s work is governed by Act on International Development Collaboration from 2008 (Lög nr. 121/2008 um alþjóðlega þróunarsamvinnu Íslands) and Regulation on Implementing International Development Aid from 2009 (Reglugerð nr. 894/2009 um framkvæmd alþjóðlegrar þróunarsamvinnu Íslands). Neither these nor any of the other ICEIDA’s policies and strategies identify disability as an issue that should be addressed. ICEIDA has a published policy and guidance document published in 2001 (Stefna og verklag ÞSSÍ) which makes no mention of disability. ICEIDA has an Equality Policy accepted in 2004 (Stefna ÞSSÍ í jafnréttismálum) which solely focuses on gender equality. There have, however, been a small number of ICEIDA projects that have focused on issues of disability such as a sign language project aimed at teaching sign to deaf adults and supporting a teacher’s training college to teach sign language to student teachers. Recently the ICEIDA and the Icelandic Communication Centre for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing collaborated with Ministry of Education in Namibia to launch Sign Wiki which allows Namibians to communicate with hearing impaired people through an internet site. Sign Wiki internet sites have also been initiated in Tanzania.

Hjálpartækjamiðstöð, the Centre which governs assistive devices in Iceland, and which operates under the state agency Sjúkratryggingar Islands (Icelandic Health Insurance), has for a number of years provided used assistive devices to developing countries. According to the information we received, some equipment was recently sent to Latvia in conjunction with the Icelandic Motor-Neuron Disease Society (MND-Félagið), and in previous years used assistive devices were donated to Mongolia, Russia, Brazil and Albania, among others. [update_date] => 2014-05-01 11:43:08 [links] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Act on International Development Collaboration 121/2008 [url] => http://www.althingi.is/lagas/nuna/2008121.html ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Sign Wiki - New initiative to communicate with the deaf [url] => http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2012/09/06/sign-wiki-namibia-new-initiative-to-communicate-with-people-who-are-deaf/ ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [title] => Regulation on Implementing International Development Aid 824/2009 [url] => http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/key2/894-2009 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [title] => The Icelandic International Development Agency [url] => http://www.iceida.is/english ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [title] => ICEIDA Equality Policy [url] => http://www.iceida.is/media/utgefid-efni/jafnrettisstefna.ICEIDA.pdf ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [title] => ICEIDA policy and guidance [url] => http://www.iceida.is/media/utgefid-efni/stefna&verklag.pdf ) ) ) ) ) ) )