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Cablegate: Iceland: Government Holds Tip Symposium

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PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHRK #0197 3081656
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041656Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4210
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000197

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KTIP PGOV PHUM PREL IC

SUBJECT: ICELAND: GOVERNMENT HOLDS TIP SYMPOSIUM

1. (U) More than 100 people overflowed a conference room for a
symposium on human trafficking sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights on October 30.
Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson opened the symposium by
declaring the GOI's unwavering support for the fight against human
trafficking. He stressed that TIP was a top priority for the
government. Noting that the GOI has already drafted and issued a
national anti-TIP action plan, the Minister said ratifying the
Palermo Protocol during the current parliamentary season was
imperative.

2. (U) Another speaker, the Deputy Special Representative of the
OSCE for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Ruth Pojman,
complimented Icelandic authorities on drafting the national anti-TIP
action plan and stressed the importance of implementing it.
Representatives from the police department that handles Keflavik
Airport, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Justice and
Human Rights, and a legal counsel from the NGO Intercultural Center
also spoke at the symposium. Most of the speakers referred to the
recent apprehension of a number of alleged traffickers as an example
of how Iceland was stepping up its efforts in this area.

3. (U) Ms. Pojman came from Vienna for this event and a full day of
meetings with key players in TIP in Iceland. She substituted at the
last minute for her boss, Eva Biaudet, who was ill. After the
symposium, Ms. Pojman told CDA that she was encouraged by the
turnout and the conference and credited, at least in part, the U.S.
TIP report with providing the impetus to move things forward in
Iceland. She said she was too fully booked to meet with the Embassy
during her stay, which would include a visit to a shelter as well as
meetings with the range of stakeholders. The following day,
Iceland's two major newspapers reported on the symposium with a full
page spread.

4. (U) The audience included former Foreign Minister Ingibjorg
Solrun Gisladottir, and a number of officials from various
ministries (including the top legal advisor at the Foreign
Ministry), representatives from NGOs and law enforcement. (Note:
Gisladottir is a candidate for the position of OSCE Special
Representative for Combating TIP.) In addition, the Ambassadors from
Finland, Sweden and Norway as well as Charge also attended the
entire discussion.

5. (SBU) Comment: As the first TIP-related event of such magnitude
ever held in Iceland, this symposium demonstrates the GOI's
intention to step up the fight against TIP and make it a priority.
The fight against TIP was on the backburner of Icelandic politics
until this year when the first national anti-TIP action plan was
drafted last March. The symposium coincided with two important
TIP-related events, namely the court proceedings in the first ever
TIP case in Iceland, and second, the recent revelation of a case
involving the possible trafficking of a 19-year-old Lithuanian girl
into prostitution in Iceland. The symposium is yet another
development this year that will put the fight against TIP more
firmly on the political radar in Iceland. End Comment.
WATSON

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