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Restored Honour Abolished

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Restored Honour Abolished

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Syrian refugees at Bessastaðir.

Icelandic president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson welcoming young refugees to Iceland. Refugee laws have been changed in order to accommodate more children. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, had its last parliamentary session yesterday before the upcoming elections. Due to the time being very short, not a lot was settled upon.

Two bills were accepted by the parliament, on the abolishing of Restored Honour and changing the law for the process of foreigners and the definition of children refugees.

The government originally disbanded due to a case of Restored Honour (uppreist æru), which is when a previously convicted person can apply to have their slate cleaned and honour thus restored. The father of current Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson, was among the individuals who provided a letter of recommendation for convicted paedophile Hjalti Sigurjón Hauksson. Bjarni was informed of the letter last July by Minister of Justice Sigríður Á. Árnadóttir. Sigríður had kept the name from the media, and the populace, since June. The bill was accepted by all members of parliament, except for eight who were either absent or didn't vote.

The second bill, regarding a change in refugee laws, was proposed due to the case of two popular refugee girls who were supposed to be deported soon. The change involves making it more likely for refugees with children to be given residence permit in Iceland, which is said to be able to help approximately eighty children. Due to the short time allocated to work on the bill, the change will only affect submissions before the coming into force of the act.

The bill was proposed by members of every party in parliament, except for the Independence Party. Current Minister of Justice and member of said party, Sigríður Á. Andersen, was against the bill due to the dangers it poses.

"If it's accepted, and people learn that there's a legislation that is specifically written for people with children, then I and other professionals have wondered whether it might make it easier for human trafficking. That people arrive into the country with children and get special treatment," Sigríður told Morgunblaðið yesterday.

"There are examples of people having come here, refugee applicants, with children that didn't belong to them," Sigríður said, although she couldn't disclose what happened to the child in this scenario.

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