The United Nations Human Rights Committee has determined that Icelandic authorities violated the rights of two Icelandic fishermen who were not allocated any fishing quota after applying for it and were deemed to go fishing on a boat that had none.
The Human Rights Committee concluded that the Icelandic state should give the fishermen full compensation and establish a fisheries control system that fulfills the demands of international law, Morgunbladid reports.
The committee believes that Icelandic authorities violated the 26th article of the UN treaty in this case, which states that discrimination of all kind is prohibited similarly to the 65th article of the Icelandic constitution.
The committee stated that protecting fish species with a quota system is a lawful goal but the Icelandic quota system also favors those who were allocated permanent quota originally and is not based on justice.
Minister of Fisheries Einar K. Gudfinnsson said he takes the UN Human Rights Committee’s verdict seriously, but that many things are unclear. “It surprises me how little argumentation there is in the verdict,” the minister said, adding that the verdict is not binding.
The two fishermen, Örn Saevar Sveinsson and Erlingur Sveinn Haraldsson, bought a boat which had no quota and after unsuccessful applications for a quota they decided to fish without it. Their case was taken to the Supreme Court of Iceland which ruled against them.
The fishermen’s lawyer Lúdvík Emil Kaaber said it is a great relief to have the verdict of the UN Human Rights Committee. Captain Sveinsson said he and his partner had always been certain that their human rights were being violated, which had now been proven.