Equal Treatment irrespective of Race and National Origins

ACT on Equal Treatment irrespective of Race and National Origins No. 85/2018 came into effect September 1st, 2018. The Act focuses on equal treatment of individuals in every aspect of society, outside of the workplace. In the legislative process, the content of edict no. 2000/43/EB on Equal Treatment irrespective of race or national origins was considered.

With a distinctive ban on discrimination the goal is to encourage active participation from as many individuals as possible in the Icelandic community, irrespective of race and national origins, to hinder social isolation that stems from national origins or race. In addition, the goal of these laws is to counteract thoughts on different merits of races and stop them from being elevated or rooted in the community.

The Directorate of Equality oversees the implementation of these laws and article 4 in the ACT on the Administration of Matters Concerning Equality will apply when possible.

The work that the Directorate of Equality does is therefore not only regarding equality of the sexes based on laws on equal status and rights but also equal treatment irrespective of race and national origins. This applies to both outside of the workforce and in the workforce, irrespective of race, national origin, beliefs, disability, reduced functionality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or how those characteristics are portrayed.


Word Definitions:

Equal Treatment

When individuals suffer neither direct nor indirect discrimination based on their race or ethnic origin.



Direct Discrimination

When an individual receives treatment less favourable than another individual receives, has received or would receive in comparable situations based on his or her race or ethnic origin.



Indirect Discrimination

When an apparently neutral provision, criterion, or practice would put some individuals at a disadvantage on grounds of their race or ethnic origin, compared with others, unless this can be objectively justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.




Related material:

Information and videos for immigrants and refugees from the Icelandic Human Rights Centre and Amnesty International