Iceland deserves credit for eliminating barriers to same-sex marriage, which will become legal in the Nordic country this weekend, the United Nations human rights chief says.
Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, wrapped up her official visit to Iceland with a statement on Friday commending Iceland “for the significant progress it has achieved through recent legislation removing legal impediments to same-sex marriages.”
Iceland will become the ninth country to legalize same-sex marriage following legislation that passed the country’s parliament earlier this month. Same-sex marriage is already legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden, as well as in some areas of the United States and Mexico.
In her statement Ms. Pillay also praised Iceland for strengthening the independence of its judiciary and freedom of expression, and she welcomed efforts to set up an independent human rights institution.
During her visit – the first ever trip to Iceland by a UN human rights chief – Ms. Pillay met Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson, Justice and Human Rights Minister Ragna Árnadóttir and other senior Government officials, as well as representatives of civil society and academia. She also addressed the University of Iceland in the capital, Reykjavik.