Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir apologized on behalf of the nation in parliament yesterday for abuse inflicted upon boys and teenagers who stayed in a state-run treatment home for troubled boys in Breidavík in the West Fjords between 1950 and 1970.
The PM also apologized to everyone else who were sent to such institutions as children and suffered maltreatment, Fréttabladid reports.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir speaking at parliament at a different occasion. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
The apology followed a request from Social Democrat MP Helgi Hjörvar to clarify the administration’s position on the Breidavík case.
A committee that was established by former Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde to investigate accusations of abuse at Breidavík by former inmates presented a report on the matter in February last year, supporting the victims’ statement and concluding that they were entitled to compensation.
After apologizing, Sigurdardóttir said that, “It cannot be expected that such an apology is accepted unless this chapter in the history of Icelandic child protection matters is closed.”
Bárdur Ragnar Jónsson, chairman of the Breidavík Association, said he was surprised and touched by the PM’s apology. “And I’m fairly certain that the Breidavík boys are very pleased with it because to many of them it was important to hear something like this.”
Jónsson said the apology indicates a different emphasis from authorities. “It is a completely different attitude. It is not the arrogant disregard that many of us thought we were faced with from Geir Haarde and his team that was working on it.”
Click here to read more about the Breidavík case.