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Norway – Country Updates on Human Rights and Democracy 2018
1. Overview of the human rights and democracy situation: Norway has historically been a strong supporter and promoter of human rights. It has ratified most of the main UN conventions on human rights, and the protection of civil and political - as well as economic, social and cultural - rights is very strong domestically. Norway is considered to be one of the most gender-equal countries in the world. It is at the forefront of the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and a strong partner on UNSCR 1325. Protection of human rights defenders has long been a key priority for Norway.
Nonetheless, there is a healthy public debate on some issues, including occasional criticism. This includes issues related to the use of solitary confinement in Norwegian prisons, to the Norwegian Child Welfare Service in cases where children were removed from their immigrant parents and to the adequate protection of rights of asylum seekers - particularly minors. As in other European countries, there is on-going debate in Norway on the topic of government surveillance for security purposes and peoples' right to privacy.
2. EU Action – key focus areas: As Norway and the EU have very similar views on human rights issues, close cooperation takes place in various multilateral forums (United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE), as well as on the ground in their country-specific strategies around the world. In Norway, highlighting the various international days linked to human rights (including via social media) is a priority, as well as providing targeted information to relevant Norwegian stakeholders.
3. EU bilateral political engagement: In general, Norway has good mechanisms in place to assure the protection of human rights within its territory. Possible issues are best addressed in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the UN Human Rights Council.
4. EU financial engagement: Norway is not included in any operational projects or programmes funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
However, the EU Delegation in Oslo undertook several Public Diplomacy and Information activities during the course of 2018, in relation to, amongst others, the #EU4HumanRights Campaign, marking Oslo Pride 2018, the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights and the International Women’s Day.
5. Multilateral context: In 2014, Norway was subject to a UPR, receiving 203 recommendations from 89 participating countries. Of these, 150 were accepted by Norway, while 39 were considered to be already implemented. In relation to the implementation process of the UPR recommendations, a new common gender equality and anti-discrimination act has inter alia entered into force in 2018.
Access the annual report HERE
Access the Council of the EU's press release HERE