COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. At its 1232nd and
1233rd meetings, held on 13 and 14 August 1997, the Committee considered
the twelfth and thirteenth periodic reports submitted in one document
(CERD/C/281/Add.2) and the fourteenth periodic report (CERD/C/320/Add.1)
of Norway and adopted, at its 1242nd meeting, held on 21 August
1997, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the reports presented by the Government of Norway, which follow
the guidelines and contain comprehensive, frank and self-critical
information about changes and developments that have occurred since
the consideration of the previous periodic report. The Committee
also welcomes the detailed answers to questions raised and concerns
expressed during the consideration of the reports. It expresses
its appreciation for the constructive dialogue with the delegation
and for the answers given to the questions raised by members. The
Committee notes also with appreciation that the State party has
made the declaration under article 14 of the Convention and has
ratified the amendment concerning article 8, paragraph 6.
B. Positive aspects
3. The overall efforts
undertaken and innovative measures adopted by the State party to
prevent and combat all forms of racial discrimination are welcomed.
In this regard, the recent establishment of a working group which
has a mandate to improve legal aid available to victims of racial
discrimination is noted, as is the possibility of including resident
foreigners on a jury.
4. The adoption by the
State party of the Plan of Action to Tackle Acute Situations of
Racial Violence and Harassment in a Local Community is also welcomed.
5. The efforts undertaken
by the State party to protect the culture, language and way of life
of minorities are welcomed. In this regard, the establishment and
work of the Sami Assembly is perceived as a positive development.
6. The White Paper on
Immigration and a Multicultural Norway issued by the State party
in February 1997 is welcomed as a policy framework for the State
party developing into a multicultural society. The right of foreigners
to participate in local and regional elections is also welcomed.
Furthermore, the work undertaken during the period under review
by the Interdisciplinary Advisory Group on Community Relations is
7. The amendment of
section 292 of the Penal Code by the Act of 7 April 1995, adding
racial motivation as an aggravating circumstance when an act of
vandalism has been committed, is welcomed.
8. The teaching programme
"Norway as a multicultural society" launched by the State party
in 1992 is noted. The fact that this training has targeted the police,
journalists, teachers, customs officers and health and social workers
is regarded positively.
9. The longstanding
efforts undertaken by the State party to give immigrant and minority
groups access to education in appropriate languages are regarded
as a positive factor. Furthermore, the efforts undertaken by the
authorities to translate, when necessary, public information into
the diverse languages spoken by minority members and immigrants
is also welcomed.
10. Cooperation between
the State party and non-governmental organizations is noted, as
well as the fact that the State party consulted some non-governmental
organizations during the drafting of the reports.
C. Principal subjects of concern
11. While acknowledging
the constitutional amendment of 15 July 1994, and despite additional
information provided by the State party both in oral and written
form, concern is expressed regarding the extent to which the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
is self-executing in domestic law.
12. While noting that
the number of complaints concerning racially motivated offences
has fallen, concern is expressed that the reasons for this trend
are not yet known. Concern is also expressed over allegations that
the police are reluctant to institute criminal proceedings in some
cases involving racial discrimination. The absence of a sufficiently
complete official record of incidents of a racial character in Norway
is also a source of concern.
13. Concern is expressed
that the State party has not taken all appropriate measures to prohibit
organizations which promote and incite racial discrimination in
accordance with article 4 (b) of the Convention. Furthermore, the
fact that a Norwegian political party promotes racial discrimination
is a source of serious concern.
14. Concern is expressed
over the publications of anti-immigrant racist organizations and
that a radio station is systematically disseminating ideas of racial
superiority. Also a matter of concern is the view expressed openly
by the leader of the above-mentioned political party that the Sami
Parliament should be dissolved.
15. Concern is expressed
that foreigners and persons belonging to minority groups may not
be sufficiently protected, especially in the fields of labour and
16. The Committee expresses
concern that the State party's health services allege that immigrants
of African descent disproportionately test positive for HIV, and
that Africans have been obliged to undergo tests for HIV simply
because they are Africans.
17. Reports of the unjustified
deportation of foreign nationals, including in some cases asylum-seekers
and unaccompanied children, are a matter of concern.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
18. The Committee requests
the State party to clarify in its next periodic report the status
of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination in domestic law. It would welcome in the
next report examples, if any exist, of court decisions illustrating
how the Convention is applied in domestic law.
19. The Committee suggests
that the competent Norwegian authorities maintain a comprehensive
record of all racist acts or incidents and it recommends that they
take the necessary measures to facilitate and ensure criminal proceedings
20. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to prohibit all
racist organizations in conformity with article 4 (b) of the Convention.
21. The Committee recommends
that the State party take the necessary measures to prohibit all
dissemination of racist propaganda.
22. The Committee recommends
that the State party continue to strengthen its efforts to promote
understanding and tolerance with regard to immigrants in Norway.
23. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to ensure access
to work and housing on a non-discriminatory basis, in conformity
with the Convention.
24. The Committee recommends
that the State party ensure the wide dissemination of its reports
and of the concluding observations of the Committee.
25. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 5 September
1999, be an updating report and address all the concerns expressed
by the Committee.