UN: Norway racist, Islamphobic trends links need further research / News / The Foreigner

The Foreigner UN: Norway racist, Islamphobic trends links need further research. The UNHCR’s Elimination of Racial Discrimination Committee has concluded considering Norway’s reports on implementing the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Convention. In looking at the combined 21st and 22nd reports, CERD experts recalled the shocking events of the twin 22nd July 2011 attacks which saw the deaths of 77 persons. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination experts said that this despicable and horrendous act had shown the dangers of extremely violent and hateful ideology. 

racism, islamophobia, discrimination



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UN: Norway racist, Islamphobic trends links need further research

Published on Friday, 21st August, 2015 at 10:57 under the news category, by Marit Fosse.

The UNHCR’s Elimination of Racial Discrimination Committee has concluded considering Norway’s reports on implementing the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Convention.



In looking at the combined 21st and 22nd reports, CERD experts recalled the shocking events of the twin 22nd July 2011 attacks which saw the deaths of 77 persons.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination experts said that this despicable and horrendous act had shown the dangers of extremely violent and hateful ideology. 

They urged the Government to undertake further analysis of the relationship between those events and racist and Islamophobic trends, as well as not let right-wing extremist groups become accepted groups in a public debate. 

Norway should take right-wing extremist violence seriously, investigate it as hate crimes rather than portray it as unrelated and sporadic incidents, and maintain continuous vigilance against hate speech including on the Internet, stated the experts. 

The Scandinavian county’s delegation included representatives from five Ministries: the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, Ministry of Justice and Public Security, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Representatives of the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations Office at Geneva also attended this week’s event.

Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Solveig Horne introduced the report.

She said that Prime Minister Erna Solberg had apologized for the treatment and governmental policies, which had had fatal consequences for the Norwegian Roma during the Holocaust. This took place on International Roma Day 2015.

Minister Horne added that the Constitution had been updated and that it now includes a comprehensive human rights catalogue. Moreover, the independent national human rights institution had been established in April 2015, given a broad mandate for the protection of human rights. 

Combatting hate speech was a priority, said the Minister, with the Action Plan against radicalization and violent extremism having been adopted. A new comprehensive Non-Discrimination Act, which would cover all discrimination grounds, was currently being developed, she also remarked.

According to her, the Government’s ambition is to ensure that all have equal opportunities and freedoms to make their own choices in life, and it was therefore working to improve protection against discrimination. 

Many of the challenges Norway faced were common for many countries, declared Minister Horne, with it being fruitful to discuss them in an international context like this. Norway was looking forward to the Committee’s concluding observations, she stated.

Hege Nygard, Director-General of the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, said Norway’s present prohibition against ethnic discrimination covers discrimination on the grounds of opinions or notions about a person’s race.

Victims of discrimination have access to the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman as well as the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. These are low-threshold and free-of-charge alternatives to court proceedings.

Remarks by other Norwegian officials were as follows:

Tonje Ronneberg Ruud, Special Adviser to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security:

  • Racist organizations were contrary to the basic value of society and a threat to minorities.
  • They must be fought
  • Norway was not convinced that their prohibition was the most efficient way, however. 
  • The government was also reluctant to attach criminal liability to the sole participation in or formation of specific organizations, including racist ones.

Bjorn Olav Megard, Head of the Department of Sami and Minority Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization:

  • The 2009 Action Plan to Improve Living Conditions for Norwegian Roma contained measures to combat discrimination and anti-ziganism
  • Its 2014 evaluation had shown the need to continue taking measures regarding housing, education, participation in the labour market, and living conditions.

Experts from the UN’s Elimination of Racial Discrimination Committee also commended the Oslo Police. Their active work on addressing hate speech could be an example for the rest of the country, they remarked.

At the same time, experts raised a number of issues of concern in relation to the Sami, including mother-language teaching and language policy, reindeer husbandry, and fisheries legislation. 

The Mineral Act 2009 failed to provide an adequate level of consultation with the Sami Parliament, they stated.

In his concluding remarks, UN Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur Marc Bossuyt commended the vibrant and active Norwegian civil society, including the independent National Human Rights Institution.

He also said that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination should be incorporated in the Human Rights Act and be on an equal footing with all other Conventions. 

Everyone was in agreement that racial discrimination existed in Norway, that it was a concern of the government, and that the Committee should support Norway in this fight.




Published on Friday, 21st August, 2015 at 10:57 under the news category, by Marit Fosse.

This post has the following tags: racism, islamophobia, discrimination.





  
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