Success story - Norway
Governments are often not doing enough to combat racism and racial inequality. For this reason, the Norwegian Centre against Racism sought the help of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which ensures that States uphold their international obligations. See this success story about how CERD paved the way forward by denouncing laws and policies that are racially discriminatory.
“Racism never goes away, but at certain periods it increases,” says Mari Linloekken of Norway’s Antirasistisk Senter (Norwegian Centre against Racism). “Right now, it is looking a bit like the late 1980s when we saw an increase in racist hate speech, followed by arson attacks against refugee reception centers, as well as violent attacks against immigrants and their homes and properties vandalized.”
The Senter coordinated Norwegian NGOs when the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) reviewed Norway in August 2015.
“We’ve been working with other human rights organisations and over the years the number of groups involved in the process has grown and created a momentum,” Mari says.
“We use CERD’s recommendations as leverage, to support our demands, raise awareness and for advocacy. They also help us hold the Norwegian authorities accountable. We can tell them, Norway is not in compliance with the Convention, what are you going to do,” Mari adds.
“One issue we are tackling are hate crimes. We are working with the police to register hate speech and hate crimes to get statistics, and to monitor how the issue is being dealt with by the courts. As CERD said, Oslo police are doing really good work on this,” she says.
CERD’s reviews allow NGOs to see what progress, or not, has been made, and set proper benchmarks, Mari highlights. “This cycle means we revisit issues, revise the situation every four years and it keeps both the government – and us - on our toes.”