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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Monday, 28 April 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Norway
Represented by 19-member delegation headed by Mr. Børge BRENDE, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Norway page on the UPR website

Troika *

Congo, Indonesia and the United Kingdom

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Norway page on the UPR Extranet**)

  • The head of delegation noted that the promotion and protection of human rights was an essential component of the foreign policy of Norway and the Government planned to present a “white paper” on its international efforts to promote and protect human rights later this year;
  • The development of Sami rights and institutions, and the formalisation of the dialogue between the public authorities and the Sami have been central elements in Norway’s policy to strengthen Sami language, culture and society;  
  • Of particular importance was the establishment of the Samediggi – the Sami Parliament – in 1989 and the formalised procedures for consultations between States authorities and the Sami Parliament from 2005;
  • In order to strengthen and simplify the legal framework on discrimination, the Norwegian Government was currently working on a new comprehensive equality and anti-discrimination act which will replace various acts that currently prohibit discrimination;
  • The Government intended to strengthen language training for immigrants and assess children’s language skills before they started school;
  • The registered unemployment rate among female immigrants in Norway was currently 6.8%; the Government will strengthen and target language training and labour market qualification, aiming at increasing the employment rate among immigrant women in particular;
  • In response to the particular human rights challenges represented by forced marriage and female genital mutilation, The Government was continuing efforts against these practise;
  • The Norwegian Government decided to establish a new independent national institution for human rights and a motion to integrate the national institution with the Parliamentary Ombudsman was now being considered in Parliament in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • The employment rate among women has risen significantly in recent decades and was now almost as high as that of men; today 69% of women were in the workforce, one of the highest in Europe;
  • Combatting domestic violence was a priority for the Government and the issue of violence against women was very high on the political agenda; a number of measures were being taken by the Government to combat such acts;
  • In 2013, approximately 2,600 children seeking protection arrived in Norway of whom 830 were unaccompanied minors; the Government has taken steps to shorten the processing time of applications from families with children and has strengthened the guardianship system to ensure qualified and continuous follow-up of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers;
  • The Child welfare service has also been significantly strengthened in recent years.

Participants

In total 90 States participated in the dialogue:  34 HRC members and 50 observers  (Statements available on Norway page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts to combat all forms of discrimination including the adoption of four new anti-discrimination acts targeting sexual orientation, gender equality, ethnicity, and accessibility for persons with disabilities; 
  • Steps taken to address domestic violence;
  • Programmes to address violence and discrimination against vulnerable and marginalized groups;
  • Efforts to strengthen human rights protection through constitutional reform;
  • The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • The substantial contribution of overseas development assistance and promotion of debt relief

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to effectively prohibit all grounds of discrimination and hate speech;
  • Measures taken to uphold the rights of national minorities and immigrants;
  • Efforts to further reduce the gender wage gap in the labour market;
  • Plans to set up an independent national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles;
  • Steps taken to address the plight of asylum seeking children, particularly unaccompanied minors;
  • Measures taken to assess and reduce cases of solitary confinement and reduce the duration of police custody.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Norway.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To develop a comprehensive strategy and intensify efforts to prevent, prohibit and combat hate speech and to train law enforcement officials in the detection and prosecution of hate speech;
  • To take further steps to ensure the anti-discrimination act and related measures effectively prohibited all grounds of discrimination;
  • To effectively support the cultures of persons belonging to national minorities including measures to promote and facilitate the use of languages of indigenous peoples;
  • to develop campaigns to raise immigrants’ awareness on their rights, particularly with regard to their right to access health care services;
  • To take concrete measures to eliminate discrimination in the labour market faced by persons with immigrant background;
  • To take further steps to improve employment rates for immigrant women and to take further efforts to reduce the wage gap, in general;
  • To continue to promote greater focus on combatting gender-based violence;
  • To reassess involuntary return practise and asylum processes, particularly for minors, in order to guarantee refugees the full protection accorded by law, and to continue to give top priority to the issue of unaccompanied minors placed in asylum centres;
  • To ensure the compilation of detailed statistics on the use of solitary confinement and to adopt measures aimed at ensuring adequate assessment of the need for solitary confinement; To reduce the duration of detention in police custody, and particularly cases of solitary confinement;
  • To revise the system of detention to reduce the use of police custody for children and ensure that police custody of children was a measure of last resort;
  • To put in place a fully independent national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the OP to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the OP to the ICESCR, the Second and Third OPs to the CRC, and the Kampala amendment to the Rome Statute of the ICC.  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Norway is scheduled to take place on Friday, 2 May 2014

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
                             Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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