United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - States Parties Reports
International Convention on
of all Forms of
3 April 2000
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Fifteenth periodic report of States parties due in 1999
[30 September 1999]
Introduction 1 - 3 4
I. GENERAL 4 - 21 4
A. General legal framework 4 - 6 4
B. Demography and standard of living 7 - 8 5
C. Main policy principles 9 - 17 5
1. Reporting mechanisms 14 6
2. Appeals Board for Asylum and Immigration Cases 15 6
3. Human rights reports 16 - 17 7
D. Racial discrimination/racist attitudes/racially
motivated violence 18 - 21 7
II. INFORMATION RELATING TO ARTICLES 2 TO 7 22 - 138 8
Article 2 22 - 67 8
The Interdisciplinary Advisory Group on Community
Relations and Anti-Racist Work
Increasing multicultural understanding in key service
The Immigration Act
The Security Act
Police checks on immigrants
Registration of national minorities
Grant schemes for NGOs
Youth with an immigrant background
Indigenous and minority rights
Day-care institutions and schools
Article 3 68 15
Article 4 69 - 75 15
Dissemination of racist ideas
Article 5 76 - 124 16
Equal treatment in bodies administering justice
Participation in local elections
Education and religion
The labour market situation for immigrants and
Amendments to the Working Environment Act
Reducing barriers to employment
Discrimination in the housing market
Housing for young people
The right to public health care
The right to education and training
Prevention of discrimination at restaurants, pubs, etc.
Article 6 125 - 126 23
Article 7 127 - 138 24
Combating prejudice in education and teaching
Supporting youth work
Promoting tolerance and understanding through culture
List of enclosures 27
1. Reference is made to Norway’s previous periodic reports, in particular to the twelfth and thirteenth periodic report, which were submitted in one document (CERD/C/281/Add.2), and to the fourteenth periodic report (CERD/C/320/Add.1). During the preparation of this report, due regard has been paid to the concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which were adopted at its 1242nd meeting, held on 21 August 1997 (CERD/C/51/Misc.31). Due regard has also been paid to the general guidelines regarding the form and content of reports to be submitted by States parties under article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which were revised by CERD at its 913th meeting on 22 March 1991 (CERD/C/70/Rev.2).
2. The present report is an update of Norway’s twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports, and is largely devoted to the measures that have been adopted since the examination of these reports. The suggestions and recommendations made by the Committee in its concluding observations have been taken into account. To assist CERD in fulfilling tasks in accordance with article 9 of the Convention, reference is made to previous documents containing information of relevance to the examination of the present report.
3. Before the present report was finalized, a draft was submitted for comments to the Government’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights. A number of NGOs working in this field were informed that the report was being drafted and a draft of the report was sent to the NGOs and other relevant bodies for comments in May 1999.
A. General legal framework
4. The general legal framework for the prohibition of racial discrimination has been described in previous reports. (See e.g. the third report (CERD/C/R.78/Add.9) and twelfth and thirteenth report (CERD/C/281/Add.2), paragraph 4, as well as the initial part of the reports submitted by Norway known as the “core document” (HRI/CORE/1/Add.6).) However, some major developments can be reported.
5. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (para. 18). Norway has incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and their protocols into domestic law in a new Human Rights Act (enclosure No. 1). The said instruments shall apply as statutory law insofar as they are binding on Norway. The interests protected by the Convention are safeguarded in various domestic provisions, in particular provisions in the Civil Penal Code. (Please refer to paragraphs 65 and 89 of this report concerning two court cases that illustrate this.) Article 110 (c) of the Norwegian Constitution and the provision setting forth the objectives and purpose of the new Human Rights Act emphasize that all human rights conventions are to be regarded as important sources of Norwegian law.
6. In August 1999 the Government decided to appoint a committee to draft, within a year, a new Act for combating ethnic discrimination. As part of its work, the committee is to consider how the Convention can be reflected more clearly in Norwegian law.
B. Demography and standard of living
7. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 516). The number of persons with an immigrant background in Norway rose by around 12,400 between January 1997 and January 1998, to a total of 244,705 persons, or 5.5 per cent of the total population. Persons with an immigrant background are defined as all those who were either born abroad or have at least one parent who was born abroad. The five largest nationalities represented are from Pakistan (20,924), Sweden (19,546), Denmark (18,388), Viet Nam (14,595) and BosniaHerzegovina (11,883) (enclosures Nos. 2 and 3). The latest figures on foreign nationals who have acquired Norwegian citizenship are enclosed (enclosure No. 4). The latest figures on the number of asylumseekers, the number of residence permits and work permits granted and the number of persons granted protection and accompanying persons who have been granted family reunification are also enclosed (enclosure No. 5).
8. Reference is made to Norway’s fourteenth report (paras. 4144). A summary of a study conducted by Statistics Norway (SSB) in 1996 concerning living conditions among eight major immigrant groups in Norway is enclosed (enclosure No. 6).
C. Main policy principles
9. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 1726) and fourteenth report (paras. 520), and CERD’s concluding observations (para. 12). The following information may be added.
10. In January 1999 a new department was established at the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development called the Department of Indigenous, Minority and Immigrant Affairs. As a result, efforts to combat racism and discrimination will be better coordinated and given a wider perspective.
11. The Government has presented a Plan of Action to Combat Racism and Discrimination for the period 1998 to 2001. The plan addresses governmental actions and focuses on the following areas:
- Legal assistance to persons who are victims of discrimination and measures to improve monitoring of the type and extent of racial discrimination;
- Measures taken by the police to deal with discrimination especially in restaurants, pubs etc.;
- Measures to prevent discrimination in the labour market and to promote equal opportunities;
- Measures in the housing market to ensure equal opportunities for all;
- Measures in primary and secondary schools to prevent racism and discrimination;
- Measures to increase multicultural understanding in key service sectors by improving the education of personnel;
- Measures in local arenas to support activities against racism.
By August 1999 the majority of these measures had been implemented or were in the process of being implemented. The plan will be evaluated towards the end of the period of operation.
12. In addition the Government has presented a Plan of Action for Recruiting Persons with an Immigrant Background to the State Sector for the period 1998 to 2001. The plan contains measures to reduce structural barriers to employment and measures targeted at the attitudes and expertise of the employers. Several governmental services have made their own plans of action, some including percentage targets for recruitment of new employees with an immigrant background. The plan is regarded as an important signal of the Government’s desire to combat discrimination in the public administration. It will be evaluated towards the end of the period of operation. Please refer to paragraphs 77 and 87 of this report for more information.
13. On 11 September 1998 the Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination was established by decision of the King in Council. It was officially opened on 10 February 1999. For a trial period of five years the Centre, which is an independent governmental body, will provide professional legal assistance to individuals who are victims of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. It will also monitor the type and extent of racial discrimination in Norway. The Centre has submitted its own report to CERD. One of the main points in the Centre’s report is that the existing legal framework does not offer sufficient protection against racial discrimination.
1. Reporting mechanisms
14. Reference is made to Norway’s fourteenth report (paras. 2123) and to CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 12 and 19). One of the main challenges in the short run is the development of a registration system that will enable the Government to monitor racially related incidents and discrimination. The Directorate of Immigration and the Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination will collaborate with each other and coordinate their monitoring efforts. Both the Centre and the Directorate will present a report on the type and extent of racial discrimination from 2000. The Ministry of Justice and the Police will assist in the monitoring of racially related incidents by submitting data on reported cases and charges related to sections 135 (a) and 349 (a) of the Civil Penal Code recorded in the Central Register of Criminal Cases (STRASAK). In addition, the annual reports submitted by the NGOs working in this field are regarded as an important aid in providing a full picture of the type and extent of racial discrimination in Norway.
2. Appeals Board for Asylum and Immigration Cases
15. In March 1999 the Storting approved the establishment of an Appeals Board for Asylum and Immigration Cases. Until the Appeals Board is established the Ministry of Justice and the Police handles appeals filed against decisions by the Directorate of Immigration. The new Appeals Board, a courtlike body, is intended to improve the legal protection of asylumseekers, and to ease the workload of the Ministry of Justice and the Police, enabling the Ministry to concentrate more on general policy issues. The Appeals Board will consist of judges and laymen who are appointed for four years at a time.
3. Human rights reports
16. A Minister of International Development and Human Rights was appointed in 1997 for the first time. In 1998 the Government presented an annual report on Norwegian efforts to promote and safeguard human rights. The report contains a relatively comprehensive description of measures taken in 1998 to improve the human rights situation in Norway and abroad, including measures taken to combat racism and discrimination. The report has been translated into English and distributed widely (enclosure No. 7).
17. The Government is preparing a Plan of Action on Human Rights. The plan will involve all parts of the governmental administration and will contain measures that aim at strengthening compliance with human rights obligations both in Norway and abroad.
D. Racial discrimination/racist attitudes/racially motivated violence
18. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 4250), Norway’s fourteenth report (paras. 2124) and CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 12 and 19). The registration of incidents of racism and discrimination is not yet satisfactory. However, existing registration shows a trend towards fewer acute, serious incidents of racially motivated violence in 1998 compared with previous years. On the other hand, there seems to be an increase in the number of reported incidents of discrimination or more subtle forms of unequal treatment, especially in the labour and housing markets. The Directorate of Immigration states in its Annual Report for 1998 that though serious incidents of racist violence and extreme rightwing activity seem to have declined in the last few years, racist harassment and threats continue to be a problem. The AntiRacist Centre, an NGO, reports that incidents of extreme rightwing violence and terror seem to have declined in 1998, but underlines that this should not give the impression that such activity has ceased for good. Furthermore, both the AntiRacist Centre and the Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination point out that there is reason to believe that only a small number of all racist incidents are reported to the police.
19. Racially motivated crime that falls within the scope of sections 135 (a) (criminal offences) and 349 (a) (misdemeanours) of the Civil Penal Code is being registered. The need for statistics on racially motivated crime is reviewed on a regular basis. The aggrieved person is not obliged to provide information regarding race, religion or nationality when filing a complaint. Information from the Central Register of Criminal Cases (STRASAK) shows reported cases and charges pursuant to the Civil Penal Code. Reported cases pursuant to section 135 (a): 66 in 1996, 47 in 1997 and 45 in 1998; charges: 1 in 1996, 2 in 1997 and none in 1998. Reported cases pursuant to section 349 (a): 6 in 1996, 14 in 1997 and 11 in 1998; charges: none in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Cases pursuant to these sections could be reported by several persons and are then registered as more than one case in this register.
20. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (para. 45). Each year Statistics Norway conducts surveys on the attitudes of the Norwegian population on a wide range of subjects, including attitudes towards immigrants. The 1997 survey revealed no significant changes in attitudes towards immigrants from previous years. However, the tendency is towards increasingly liberal attitudes towards immigrants (enclosure No. 8).
21. NOVA - Norwegian Social Research conducted a major survey among young people in Oslo in 1996. The responses show that girls generally take a somewhat more favourable view of immigrants than boys do. A majority of young people believe that in a number of fields immigrants make a valuable contribution to Norwegian society. However, young Norwegians are strongly opposed to immigrants maintaining their own culture and not adapting to Norwegian culture. In a list of 30 different youth groups which the young people were asked to rank by order of popularity, “young people who combat racism” is the group that scores the highest.
22. With regard to paragraph 1 (a) of article 2, reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (para. 21).
The Interdisciplinary Advisory Group on Community Relations an AntiRacist Work
23. Reference is made to Norway’s fourteenth report (para. 21). The Interdisciplinary Advisory Group provides professional assistance to local communities. The Advisory Group is made up of 20 professionals who have experience in tackling acute situations involving racial violence and harassment. In order to ensure that the group’s expertise is available to the county and municipal authorities when needed, the Directorate of Immigration has introduced a new measure whereby it will cover the cost of the first 1014 hours of consultation. A new brochure is being produced that provides more guidance to the local communities on how to plan preventive measures and integrate approaches that will lead to better community relations.
24. The police have strengthened their efforts to combat racially motivated violence in certain communities, especially where neoNazi organizations are involved. In cooperation with local schools, some police districts are implementing measures to influence the attitudes of school pupils. The Oslo Police District has drawn up strategy documents concerning the police force’s relations and work with ethnic minorities, including measures to prevent racially motivated violence.
Increasing multicultural understanding in key service sectors
25. Five institutions of tertiary education (the National Police Academy, Oslo, Stavanger and Alta Colleges and the Sami College) have initiated a project incorporating multicultural understanding into their teaching in order to improve the qualifications of future police officers, teachers, nurses, health workers, welfare workers and journalists.
26. In addition a programme in Multicultural Understanding has been developed by the Directorate of Immigration. It is aimed at groups in the public sector who provide services to people with different ethnic backgrounds. Employees in the Norwegian Customs and Excise and in the Directorate of Labour have so far completed the programme. Furthermore, the Directorate of Immigration started a project last year to enhance the skills and expertise of its own staff with regard to multicultural understanding and crosscultural communication.
27. The Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs has revised the curricula for all higher education in health and social welfare subjects. The new curricula include courses to prepare students for working in a multicultural society. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has begun implementing a Plan of Action for 19982001. The aim is to increase the skills and expertise of public social welfare services, and the plan includes training of social workers to help them deal with people of different ethnic backgrounds.
28. The guidelines and framework for teacher training have also been revised recently. According to the new guidelines, “the training shall encourage respect and tolerance for different cultures and beliefs, and combat discrimination and segregation”.
29. There is also a programme for training prison personnel, which includes multicultural issues. Efforts in this field will be further strengthened in 1999. The Education Council for Judges will be arranging a teaching programme for judges on multicultural understanding in 1999.
30. The following information refers to paragraph 1 (c).
The Immigration Act
31. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (para. 17). Applications submitted by asylumseekers are dealt with pursuant to the Immigration Act of 24 June 1988 No. 64. Article 1A of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is incorporated into Norwegian law (cf. the Immigration Act, sect. 16), and applies as Norwegian law. An asylumseeker who is not recognized as a refugee will not be sent to an area where he or she will be in considerable danger of losing his or her life or of being made to suffer inhuman treatment (cf. the Immigration Act, sect. 15). Furthermore, consideration will always be given to whether the applicant should be granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds.
32. Later this year a new amendment will be presented by the Government to the Storting stating that the immigration authorities are obliged to take statements from minors in asylum cases to determine whether the minor has independent grounds for receiving asylum.
33. Unaccompanied minors who are not recognized as refugees are only returned to their country of origin if there is somebody who can take care of them there. If there is no such person, they are granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds. A circular issued by the Ministry of Justice and the Police in January 1998 regulates the deportation of unaccompanied minors. It states that the deadlines for leaving the country given to minors must be longer than those given to adults. Deportations involving unaccompanied minors are always carried out by the police in close contact with Children’s Welfare authorities or other competent authorities.
34. A project aimed at developing better models for working with single minor refugees in the municipalities has been initiated. The Directorate of Immigration and the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs are responsible for the project, which will run until 2001.
35. The basic principle of the Immigration Act is that a foreign national who does not have a valid claim to stay in Norway is expected to leave the country voluntarily. However, experience has shown that in many cases they do not do so. The Immigration Act therefore provides for preventive action against evasion of a negative decision and rejection order. One such measure is the possibility of remanding the foreign national in custody pending implementation of the rejection order. The police may ask for a court decision to remand the person in custody for a maximum period of six weeks. In March 1999 an amendment was made to the Immigration Act which entails that the court decision to remand a person in custody may be based either on individual experience of the person concerned, or on general experience of similar cases where a foreign national has evaded the rejection order.
36. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (para. 88). The number of persons arrested and held in custody pursuant to section 37, subsection 5, of the Immigration Act has decreased substantially during the last few years. In 1995 and 1996, 75 persons were held in custody, a small majority of whom were asylum-seekers. Of these 75, 28 were held in custody for more than 12 weeks. During the same period, 3,238 asylum-seekers arrived in Norway. In 1998 8,374 asylum-seekers arrived in Norway. Only 14 of them were held in custody.
37. Asylum-seekers and other foreigners who have been arrested pursuant to section 37, subsection 5, of the Immigration Act are currently held in custody in regular prisons. From the year 2001, a special detention centre for these foreigners will be established.
The Security Act
38. According to the Act of 20 March 1998, Relating to Protective Security Services, the authorities are to apply the rules concerning security clearance in a more flexible way, thus making it easier for persons with an immigrant background to obtain jobs that require security clearance. However, the Act has not yet entered into force.
Police checks on immigrants
39. Persons with an immigrant background have stated that the practice of police checks at street level in order to detect illegal immigration has had a discriminatory effect. The Ministry of Justice and the Police have decided to put an end to registration in cases where the check does not reveal illegal immigration. Such checks may not be made on the basis of a person’s colour. The police regularly address the issue of how checks on immigrants shall be carried out.
40. A large number of travellers entering the country are selected by customs officers for a full body search. When selecting travellers for such a search, customs officers are instructed not to select on the basis of any racial criteria, but by using profiles and risk analysis. The use of
body searches is regulated by the Customs Act, the Customs regulations and a directive issued by the Directorate of Customs and Excise. Few complaints are received from travellers compared with the large number of extensive checks performed each year.
41. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (para. 16). Testing for HIV/AIDS is voluntary and is offered by health workers as part of the usual counselling. There are no special HIV-test requirements for asylum-seekers or immigrants when they enter Norway or later. If, however, a person feels that testing has been done in an irregular way, they may submit a complaint to the health authorities. A reference group of seven members representing residents with an African background in Norway was established in 1997. The group gives advice to public bodies that handle HIV/AIDS cases related to Africans as a group in Norway.
Registration of national minorities
42. In response to a public debate in 1998, the Research Council of Norway was asked by the Minister of Health to carry out an independent evaluation concerning the registration of minority groups in a former register of patients with mental deficiencies. Among other things, the information in the register was used in connection with mandatory sterilization. A preliminary report will be presented in 1999.
43. “Norsk misjon blant hjemløse” (“Norwegian mission for the homeless”) was an NGO that carried out extensive registration of the Romani people/Travellers. The organization made active efforts to assimilate this national minority and administered several orphanages, a work camp, etc. The organization, which was closed down in 1985, received governmental support for its work. The archives of “Norsk misjon blant hjemløse” have been transferred to the National Archives, where a special service has been established to ensure that the sensitivity of the material is taken into account and to make it possible for Romani people/Travellers to get a copy of their own file.
44. Until the 1970s it was entered in a police register of convicts when a person belonged to the Romani people/Travellers. This ethnically based registration was stopped in the 1970s and in 1982 the police started a new electronic register. The old register is used very seldom today. The Data Inspectorate has looked into the old register, and found very few cases where the Romani/Traveller background of a person was registered. It is now under consideration if this register could be transferred to the National Archives.
45. Concerning paragraph 1 (e), reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (para. 21).
Grant schemes for NGOs
46. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (para. 82). The Government’s financial support for NGOs whose activities are aimed at combating racism and ethnic discrimination in Norway has increased in the last few years. Approximately NOK 10.5 million will be distributed in 1999 to local immigrant organizations and immigrantmanaged activities, as well as to voluntary bodies that focus on multiculturalism and dialogue. A further NOK 7 million will be distributed in 1999 to nation-wide organizations that combat racism and discrimination and promote dialogue.
47. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has established a new grant scheme totalling NOK 2.5 million targeting national minorities. The aim is to strengthen the organizational efforts of national minorities, and support projects that combat racism and discrimination of people belonging to national minorities.
48. In 1996 a project called “Joint campaign against racism” was initiated by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in collaboration with an NGO, Norwegian People’s Aid. The goal of the project is to combat racist attitudes in local branches of the unions and the parent organization, and to develop measures aimed at improving race relations in society in general. One of the measures is to persuade workplaces to sign a contract, after which they are allowed to put up a sign showing that they have declared themselves a “Racism-free Zone”.
Youth with an immigrant background
49. In the past year, public debate has focused on gangs of young people with an immigrant background engaged in criminal activities. This has led many to believe that the majority of criminal gangs consist of immigrants or children of immigrants.
50. In 1996 a survey done by Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) offered a representative description of the situation of young people in Oslo. The study provides information about 11,425 young people aged 14 to 17 years, based on self-reporting. As regards problem behaviour among young people, the following conclusion was reached: a small group of highly criminal young people is responsible for most of the serious juvenile crime reported in the study. Socio-economic considerations, ethnic background and domicile have little impact on the likelihood of a young person ending up in the most vulnerable groups.
51. In June 1999 NOVA published a survey from Oslo about youth as victims of violence. The survey indicates that while young people with an immigrant background in general run a smaller risk of being victims of violence than other young people, a particular category of teenage boys with an immigrant background run a higher risk of being victims of serious violence. The reasons for this are not clear, but socio-economic conditions seem to be an important factor.
52. In 1997 the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs provided funds for a pilot study on violence and gang behaviour. A questionnaire was presented to a sample of 85 gang members aged 13 to 18. Thirteen nationalities were represented. The report was presented in 1998, and one of the conclusions is that Central Oslo has become the arena for a new youth group. The group is composed of youth with a multicultural background (about one in three of its members has a Norwegian ethnic background), it has a high level of criminality, and it has contact with Norwegian and foreign criminal circles.
53. In 1998 the Norwegian Youth Council (LNU) established a Multicultural Committee consisting of 8 members, and an open Multicultural Youth Forum consisting of nearly 30 members. Representatives from national organizations and local groups meet in these forums. The Committee and the Forum choose the subjects for discussion themselves. In February 1999, Prime Minister Bondevik visited the Forum to discuss measures for reducing the problem of violence. He also raised other major questions concerning the relationship between ethnic minorities and society at large.
54. The following information refers to paragraph 2.
Indigenous and minority rights
55. In February 1998 the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development met with the Romani people/Travellers, and gave a public apology for the injustices committed against the Romani people in the past by the Norwegian authorities. Norway ratified the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities on 17 March 1999. The Government has stated that the Sami, the Kven, the Jewish people, the Roma, the Romani people/Travellers and the Skogfinn fulfil the criteria for being considered a national minority. From January 1999 the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is responsible for developing and coordinating government policy towards national minorities, and a report to the Storting on this policy will be presented in 2000. Dialogue with minority organizations will be an important feature of the policy-making process.
56. The Glomdal Museum has initiated a documentation and information project regarding the Romani/Traveller culture in Norway. The project provides a framework for a national effort aimed at preserving the Romani/Traveller culture. The project is partially funded by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and has the support of the organizations of the Romani people/Travellers.
57. In 1997 the Sami Rights Commission delivered a report concerning the future administration of land and natural resources in the county of Finnmark. The Commission states that its proposals are based on the recognition that the Sami, as an indigenous people, have a right to influence and participate in the administration of land and water areas in their habitats, but that their rights must accommodate the rights of the other inhabitants of the county, mainly ethnic Norwegians and the Kven. The Sami Rights Commission has proposed establishing a new authority - the Finnmark Land Administration Authority - with responsibility for administering land areas and non-renewable natural resources in the county of Finnmark. A minority within the Commission has proposed the establishment of a Sami Land Administration Authority in addition to the Finnmark Land Administration Authority. The choice between the two forms of administration is left up to each municipality in Finnmark. The minority’s proposal is intended to give the Sami a greater degree of influence in areas with a large Sami population. The report has been circulated for comment to the relevant public authorities and NGOs. The report and the comments thereon will then form the basis for the elaboration of the Government’s proposals in this matter.
58. In 1998 the Government delivered a report to the Storting concerning the basic principles of its Sami policy and measures to promote these principles. It also present plans for strengthening Sami policy.
Day-care institutions and schools
59. Sami day-care institutions have an important responsibility in transmitting the Sami culture and the Sami way of life to new generations. Section 7, paragraph 3, of the Day-Care Institution Act, pursuant to which the municipality is responsible for day-care services for Sami children, stipulates: “Day-care institutions for Sami children in Sami districts are to be based on the Sami language and culture”.
60. In 1997 a Sami curriculum was implemented for primary and lower secondary school. It was established in cooperation with the Sami Parliament and was made compulsory for all pupils in primary and lower secondary schools in the administrative area of the Sami language. It is comparable to the national curriculum, but is based on Sami culture and society. There has also been a great increase in the number of texts dealing with Sami culture and society in the new national curriculum that was adopted in 1997.
61. The implementation of the Sami curriculum has given rise to disputes between the Sami, the Kven and Norwegians in some of the municipalities in north of Norway. These disputes subsided, however, after the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs changed the text in the introduction of the Sami curriculum so that it takes into consideration all ethnic groups in the area. There has been an increase in the number of pupils choosing Sami language education in this area since the implementation of the Sami curriculum.
62. In 1998 the Storting passed a new Education Act. The Act, which entered into force on 1 August 1999, covers primary and lower and upper secondary education. The Act lays down the authority of the Sami Parliament in educational matters. Furthermore, it assures all Sami pupils, wherever they live in Norway, the right to Sami language education in primary and secondary school. The new Education Act also gives pupils belonging to the Sami minority the right to receive all of the education in their mother tongue, if at least 10 pupils in the community are Sami speaking. Pursuant to the Act, the Sami Parliament will be allowed greater influence on the content of Sami educational programmes and will also be allowed to decide on parts of the content within a framework laid down by the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs.
63. Since 1996 there has been a statutory right to tuition in Finnish for three hours a week in primary and lower secondary school for Kven pupils in the two northernmost counties of Norway, if at least three pupils at a school require such tuition. The remaining instruction is given in Norwegian or Sami, according to choice.
64. Reference is made to Norway’s fourteenth report (paras. 34-36). In 1997, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) broadcast 1,359 hours of radio programmes and 34 hours of television programmes in Sami per year. Furthermore, six local radio stations broadcast in Sami. In 1997, three newspapers and one periodical publication addressing the Sami people received public grants. In addition, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs has provided support for a Sami youth magazine and a magazine for children.
65. One newspaper for the Kven, which is published 10 times a year, receives public grants. Further NRK’s regional office in the country of Troms broadcasts in Finnish for 12 minutes per week.
66. NRK previously broadcast 28 hours of radio programmes in Urdu, Turkish and Vietnamese per year. Since September 1997 these services have no longer been provided. Since April 1998 NRK produces 14 minutes of weekly television newscasts in Urdu, Vietnamese, Serbo-Croatian and Somali.
67. There are 10 local radio stations serving different immigrant communities. Two Islamic religious groups have been granted licences for local television broadcasting. Neither has yet begun broadcasting. There are 11 papers addressing various immigrant communities in their own languages, which have received public grants (five in Urdu, two in Hindi, one each in Tamil, Finnish, Polish and Chinese). The grant scheme for immigrant newspapers is being evaluated. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs is considering a proposal to integrate newspapers for immigrants into the ordinary press grant scheme.
68. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 112-114). There are no changes or new developments to report under this article.
69. The following information refers to paragraph 1 (a).
Dissemination of racist ideas
70. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 19 and 21) and to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 115-129). No special measures have been taken to directly prohibit dissemination of racist propaganda in Norway. The local radio station (Radio Nite Rocket) referred to in Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (para. 46) and in CERD’s concluding observations (para. 14) is no longer broadcasting. The reason for withdrawing the licence was financial difficulties, not the dissemination of racist ideas. Nether the Broadcasting Appeals Board nor the Press Complaints Commission, which now handles broadcasting-related matters, received formal complaints pertaining to racism in 1997 or 1998.
71. In Norway’s fourteenth report (para. 39), reference was made to a ruling by the Oslo City Court concerning the relationship between section 135 (a) of the Civil Penal Code (reference is made to Norway’s first, third and fourth reports) and article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution concerning freedom of speech (the Kjuus case). The leader of a small but registered political party was convicted on the grounds that the party’s programme promoted racial discrimination. This judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court. The majority stated that protection against racial discrimination is considered a fundamental right by the international community. Combating seriously racist statements by argument alone was considered an unreliable way of putting an end to such discrimination. The fact that these statements were included in a political programme did not make them legal. The minority voted for acquittal of the accused because it found that protection of freedom of speech (as laid down in the Constitution) in this case should prevail over protection against racial discrimination (embodied in the Civil Penal Code). The minority stated that freedom of speech is important and should be accorded particular weight within the framework of political life. The relevant rulings are enclosed (enclosure No. 9).
72. Following the above-mentioned decision by the Supreme Court, the Director General of Public Prosecutions has issued instructions that cases falling within the scope of sections 135 (a) and 349 (a) of the Civil Penal Code shall be thoroughly investigated and not dropped until investigation shows that there is no reason to pursue the case.
73. The following refers to paragraph 1 (b).
74. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 14 and 20). There have been no amendments as regards the prohibition against racist organizations. As regards this issue, reference is made to Norway’s previous reports and to the ruling by the Supreme Court mentioned in paragraph 71. According to this ruling, a person acting in the capacity of leader of a political party may be penalized pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Penal Code applicable to individuals, in this particular case section 135 (a). Furthermore, section 48 (a) of the Civil Penal Code states that when a person commits a criminal offence when acting on behalf of an organization, the organization may be liable to a penalty even if no individual person may be punished. The penalty is a fine and/or the loss of the organization’s right to carry out its activities, either altogether or in certain forms.
75. Several projects aimed at reducing the impact of the activities of racist groups in Norway have received public funds. One of these, the EXIT project, aims to develop strategies and measures to prevent the recruitment of new members to racist and nationalistic groups and to help young people get away from these environments. The project targets young people who wish to withdraw from such groups, the parents of children who belong to such groups, and professionals working with young people. This project has led to the establishment of a similar project in Sweden. It is hoped that a Nordic network will be established.
76. The following refers to paragraph 1 (a).
Equal treatment in bodies administering justice
77. The Central Prison Administration has received a few complaints regarding racial discrimination. There are, however, no figures showing how many complaints of this kind have been made.
78. On the initiative of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, the Institute of Sociology and Law and the Institute of Linguistics of the University of Oslo, together with the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research, have recently taken on a pilot project focusing on legal safeguards for persons who do not speak Norwegian. The aim is to identify the specific problems experienced by this group when involved in Norwegian legal proceedings. The project will run until 1 April 2000.
79. Concerning paragraph 1 (c), reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 140 and 141).
Participation in local elections
80. Foreign nationals who have been resident in Norway for more than three years have the right to vote in local elections. In 1995, 39 per cent of foreign nationals who were entitled to vote did so. This proportion has been decreasing since 1983, when 46 per cent voted. In the run-up to the local elections this autumn, the Government’s strategy has included an information campaign to increase participation in local elections among foreign nationals and Norwegian nationals with an immigrant background. Information concerning voting rights and how to vote has been produced in several languages. The Government also funds projects run by immigrant organizations that aim to increase participation in elections by the above-mentioned groups. The pre-election political debates this year have focused a great deal on immigration and integration policies.
81. The following refers to paragraph 1 (d) (vii).
Education and religion
82. As from the 1997/98 school year, a new subject was introduced in primary and lower secondary education, entitled “Christian knowledge and religious and ethical education”. The teaching includes a thorough knowledge of Christianity, knowledge of Christian denominations, other world religions and philosophies of life, ethical and philosophical topics, promoting understanding of and respect for Christian and humanist values and promoting understanding, respect and the ability to carry on a dialogue between people with differing beliefs and philosophies of life. At the same time, however, due attention must be paid to the parents’ right to bring up their children in accordance with their particular religious convictions and to decide on behalf of their children in these matters. The teaching in this subject shall not involve preaching.
83. On the basis of written notification from parents, pupils may be exempted from attending those parts of the lessons which the parents consider to involve the practice of another religion or philosophy of life. Parents whose applications have been rejected are entitled to appeal to the local education office against the decision. Pupils who have reached the age of 15 may themselves ask for partial exemption. The Storting has asked the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs to conduct an evaluation of the subject and the right of partial exemption within three years following its introduction.
84. The new subject has been criticized by, among others, the Norwegian Humanist Association and the Islamic Council. They claim that it is a breach of the freedom of religion. Both organizations have brought charges against the Norwegian State to the Oslo City Court, claiming exemption from all parts of the subject for pupils whose parents are members of these organizations. The Norwegian Humanist Association lost the case at first instance and has appealed. The case of the Islamic Council will be heard in October 1999.
85. The right to establish private schools is laid down in education legislation, and approved private schools are entitled to State grants. In 1998 the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs approved the establishment of a Muslim upper secondary school. An application to establish a Muslim primary and lower secondary school is under consideration by the Ministry.
86. Concerning paragraph 1 (e) (i), reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 15 and 22).
The labour market situation for immigrants and refugees
87. Although the labour market in Norway has generally been favourable for job-seekers in the last few years, immigrants still experience problems. In May 1999 the unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent for immigrants compared with 2.2 per cent for the total population (16-74 years old). Immigrants from Africa have the highest rate of unemployment with 12.6 per cent in May 1999. The main obstacles for immigrants in the Norwegian labour market seem to be lack of proficiency in the Norwegian language, insufficient or unrecognized qualifications, discrimination and lack of work experience in Norway.
88. There are no reliable figures for the proportion of persons with an immigrant background working in the State sector. However, a survey undertaken in 1998 showed that 1.9 per cent of the employees in the ministries had an immigrant background and 4.3 per cent of employees in other parts of the State sector had an immigrant background. Only 4 per cent of persons with an immigrant background who are employed have jobs in the public administration, the armed forces, the police or the judicial system.
89. The District Employment Service offers information about the Norwegian labour market, labour market training and vocational training in combination with language training. The training is adapted to the needs of immigrants. In February 1999 about one third (3,200) of the participants in labour market programmes were immigrants.
Amendments to the Working Environment Act
90. Section 55 A of the Act of 4 February 1977 No. 4 relating to Worker Protection and the Working Environment (the Working Environment Act) was amended by the Act of 30 April 1998, which added a prohibition against discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation in the recruitment process. A complaint about unlawful discrimination in the recruitment process has to be brought before a civil court. As section 55 A was amended only recently, its effects are not yet evident. The Directorate of Labour Inspection is responsible for providing guidance and information about the provisions of the Working Environment Act, including section 55 A. The amendment is enclosed (enclosure No. 10).
Reducing barriers to employment
91. A final evaluation of the Plan of Action to Improve the Use of Immigrants’ Qualifications was conducted in January 1999. The plan was considered to have been implemented satisfactorily, but some major problems still remain to be solved. Above all, the plan has helped the problems to become more widely recognized. It has also made the main labour unions and employers’ organizations more aware of their responsibility for facilitating the integration of immigrant workers into the work force.
92. The evaluation also shows that the processing time for the approval of educational qualifications from abroad has been reduced. Many immigrants, however, have problems obtaining the necessary documentation. In order to simplify the process of assessing foreign vocational training, testing will be initiated.
93. In order to reduce the time needed to deal with applications for the approval of qualifications, the National Academic Information Centre (NAIC) was reorganized as of 1 January 1999 as a new national body, the Network Norway Council. In cooperation with the Council and the higher education institutions, the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs will establish a database with a view to facilitating the processing of such applications. The database will contain information about all applications concerning the recognition of foreign degrees or qualifications. The Ministry has produced an information booklet about the system used to recognize upper secondary and higher educational qualifications.
94. The Storting has decided to establish a system to document and recognize the knowledge that adults have acquired through nonformal channels. The Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs has initiated a three-year project with a view to establishing a national system for assessing nonformal learning, which will enable adults to start further training on the right level, if necessary through specially adapted courses.
95. Norwegian language training for immigrants has been extended. As from 1998 the Government decided to increase the number of lessons in Norwegian, including sociology, offered to adult immigrants and refugees from 500 to 850. Furthermore, since 1998 persons with no previous educational experience have been offered 3,000 lessons in Norwegian. These lessons are offered free of charge to all immigrants and refugees, irrespective of their educational background. A better system for testing the language ability of immigrants has been developed, and the training of teachers who teach immigrants has been improved.
96. Recruitment to higher education has been strengthened through information to the target groups and counselling. Special attention has been paid to recruitment of persons with an immigrant background to occupations in frequent contact with the public, for instance the police.
97. Recruiting students with an immigrant background is a stated goal of the National Police Academy in order to reflect the fact that Norway is a multicultural society. In 1996 8 out of 384 students had an immigrant background, in 1997 10 out of 432, and in 1998 5 out of 432.
98. The Ministry of Labour and Government Administration has presented a Plan of Action (1998-2001) for Recruiting Persons with an Immigrant Background to the State Sector. In addition, the Ministry of Defence presented a plan of action in October 1998 to increase the recruitment of persons with an immigrant background to the defence forces, both the basic officers’ education programmes and civilian jobs within the defence forces.
99. Through the Directorate of Immigration, the Government has already undertaken a number of research and development projects aimed at increasing our knowledge of managing diversity and the nature of discrimination in the labour market. These projects will be completed during the course of 1999. New measures will be considered as a result of the information gained from these projects.
100. Concerning paragraph 1 (e) (iii), reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations (paras. 15 and 22).
Discrimination in the housing market
101. In August 1999 the Supreme Court made a ruling concerning section 349 (a) of the Civil Penal Code. Section 349 (a) states that any person who in an occupational or similar activity refuses any person goods or services on the same conditions as apply to others, because of his religion, race, colour of his skin, or national or ethnic origin, shall be liable to fines or imprisonment. The owner of a housing agency was charged for discrimination against customers. The housing agency kept files of flats to let, with some entries stating that only Norwegians with a steady income would be considered. The Supreme Court acquitted the owner, stating that the agency business was simply presenting offers of a discriminatory nature for which the owners of the flats were responsible. According to the Supreme Court, these private individuals are not affected by the penal provision in question. Thus, the provision was not applicable in the present case. The relevant rulings are enclosed (enclosure No. 11).
102. In accordance with the new Joint Ownership Act of 23 May 1997 No. 31 (concerning housing), which entered into force on 1 January 1998, it is still possible to stipulate that the occupant or tenant of a section of a building needs the approval of the assembly of joint owners and that such approval can only be refused if sound reasons are given. However, in the travaux préparatoires of the Act it is specifically stated that colour, cultural background, nationality, citizenship, etc. are not acceptable grounds for refusal (enclosure No. 12).
103. Another provision of the Act stipulates that even though legal persons are prohibited from acquiring joint ownership section, the State or municipality has the right to acquire up to 10 per cent of the sections. This is to make it easier for the State and municipalities to acquire housing for people in a difficult housing situation, like refugees and other immigrant groups, so as to integrate them into a neighbourhood. In autumn 1998 an equivalent provision was incorporated into the Housing Cooperatives Act of 4 February 1960 No. 2. This is entered into force on 1 January 1999 (enclosure No. 13).
104. According to the current House Rent Act of 19 June 1939 No. 6 subletting parts of the dwelling requires the lessor’s consent. In January 2000 a new House Rent Act will enter into force. In accordance with the new Act, the lessor may not refuse subletting of parts of the dwelling, or subletting during the tenant’s temporary absence, without sound reasons. Reasons such as the tenant being of another nationality or race will be regarded as differential treatment and discriminatory and will be considered as biased and insubstantial (enclosure No. 14).
105. Funds have been granted for the preparation of information material that explains that, under current housing and criminal legislation, it is an offence to refuse a person goods or services on the basis of religion or belief, race, colour, or national or ethnic origin. This material will be distributed to rental agencies, housing cooperatives and house-building cooperatives.
106. A development and research programme focused on multicultural neighbourhoods has been started. A report dealing with legislation and discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity in the housing market will form part of the programme, as well as a report dealing with conflict and dialogue in multicultural neighbourhoods.
Housing for young people
107. In 1998, funding was provided for two projects for helping young people in Oslo with an immigrant background gain access to the housing market. The projects were run by UNGBO, under the Department of Property and Development in Oslo. UNGBO is a service for homeless youth, and can provide housing for a maximum of three years. The goal of the first project was to improve information and communication activities, especially those targeting the very youngest homeseekers, residents of UNGBO accommodation, young people with an immigrant background and residents in a particularly difficult situation. The second project was to analyse and disseminate information on the results of UNGBO’s work in relation to young people with an immigrant background, for instance by preparing groupspecific statistics on the target group and their use of UNGBO.
108. The following refers to paragraph 1 (e) (iv).
The right to public health care
109. In connection with the reform of primary medical health care that will be implemented as from 2001, Sami-speaking patients will be offered better health-care services, particularly in the Sami core areas. Important work is being done at the regional hospital in Tromsø, at “the Sami service centre”, but the interpreting service and other arrangements for Sami patients are still lacking or inadequate at other hospitals.
110. Disabled and elderly immigrants have difficulty in participating in certain areas of society. In order to promote participation Norwegian authorities have established pilot projects which target young disabled immigrants and elderly immigrants. Both projects are being run by NGOs and funded by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. The projects are to be concluded in 2001.
111. In 1997 a person with an immigrant background was denied treatment at a hospital on the grounds that such treatment had not shown good results on other patients of “alien cultures”. The case was taken to court by an NGO called “The Institution Against Public Discrimination (OMOD)”, under section 349 (a) of the Civil Penal Code. The case was dropped by the police, and is now being looked into by the DirectorGeneral of Public Prosecutions, though the twoyear period of limitation has expired.
112. The Government is considering introducing a scheme to provide meanstested supplementary benefits to immigrants who do not qualify for a pension in Norway.
113. The following refers to paragraph 1 (e) (v).
The right to education and training
114. On the initiative of the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, the Institute for Applied Social Science (FAFO) has done a survey on the need for daycare institutions among immigrant families. The report suggests various measures for making better use of daycare institutions for children with an immigrant background.
115. In the 1997/98 school year, 33,100 pupils in primary and lower secondary education belonged to linguistic minorities. This is an increase of 15 per cent compared with the 1996/97 school year, and the pupils concerned represent 6 per cent of the total number of pupils in compulsory education. The proportion of minority language pupils varies considerably from one region to another, from 26 per cent in Oslo to 1-7 per cent in the other counties.
116. In spring 1999 the Storting debated a report to the Storting on mother tongue instruction in primary and lower secondary education. It was decided that all pupils in primary education with an insufficient knowledge of Norwegian should be entitled to receive instruction both in their mother tongue and in Norwegian as a second language. Finally, they should be entitled to receive bilingual support as long as they are not able to benefit sufficiently from the teaching of Norwegian. In lower secondary school instruction in the mother tongue may be offered as an optional subject.
117. To enable immigrants between 16 and 20 years of age to be admitted to upper secondary school, they are given the opportunity to complete their primary and lower secondary education through specially adapted courses of one, two or three years’ duration. They then have the same right to upper secondary education as Norwegian pupils. Such courses were organized for the first time in 1998 for 622 students altogether in 20 different municipalities throughout Norway.
118. As far as upper secondary education is concerned, a number of specialized courses have been organized in the different counties for pupils with a minority language background. The content of these courses, of which there are 12 altogether, varies from one county to another, but they all include auxiliary language training, vocational guidance and information about the labour market. Many students with a minority language background have applied for admission.
119. In 1997 55.6 per cent of Norwegian pupils applying for apprenticeship training in an enterprise were offered a contract; the figure for pupils with an immigrant background was 40 per cent. In May 1999 a report from the Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research and Higher Education (NIFU) showed that young people with an immigrant background, and especially boys within this category, are less likely to be selected by enterprises for apprenticeship training. Enterprises are to a large extent free to choose pupils at their own discretion, and they may turn down applicants proposed by the relevant vocational training committees. These committees are responsible for establishing contact between applicants and enterprises in accordance with regulations laid down by the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs. According to these regulations, no discriminatory requirements may be invoked and the principle of equal right to training applies.
120. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (paras. 172 and 173). The Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development have extended a project on students with an immigrant background until the end of year 2000. The project is being carried out as a follow-up to the evaluation of the 1994 reform of upper secondary education, and should provide more information on how these students make use of their right to upper secondary education, with particular emphasis on the gender perspective and apprenticeship training opportunities.
121. The Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs is preparing a project with a view to recruiting more students with a multicultural background to teacher training. The project will be run in cooperation with an institution of higher education. The Ministry has also funded a pilot project for students in teacher training and health and social welfare studies with a view to improving the students’ proficiency in Norwegian for specialized purposes. There are currently about 600 students in Norway with an immigrant background, i.e. they are born in Norway of two foreignborn parents.
122. A class for Samispeaking student nurses has been established by Finnmark College, which in practice recruits only Sami students. This scheme will be expanded from 10 to 15 students. A certain number of places in healthrelated studies, e.g. medicine, are reserved for Sami applicants.
123. The following refers to subparagraph (f).
Prevention of discrimination at restaurants, pubs, etc.
124. As a measure to prevent discrimination as regards access to restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes, etc., the Oslo police arranged courses for doormen in 1998. These courses will continue in 1999 and will also be arranged in other cities in Norway. In addition, an information folder explaining how the Oslo police district has handled complaints about discrimination in restaurants, pubs, clubs, etc., will be distributed to all police districts.
125. Reference is made to the information provided under the heading article 4 above concerning legislative protection against discriminatory action. The following information is also relevant.
126. Reference is made to Norway’s fourteenth report (para. 13). Several of the mediation boards have been involved in settling conflicts that have arisen from persons of different cultural backgrounds living and working together. The conflicts have been both of a civil and of a criminal nature. Several mediation boards have succeeded in recruiting mediators with an immigrant background onto their staff. The Oslo Mediation Board administers a project aimed at the prevention of conflicts between children and young people of different origins, including Norwegians. The main objective is to help people build networks and to give them tools that they can use to handle conflicts at an early stage. In this project the mediation board cooperates with a number of immigrant bodies.
Combating prejudice in education and teaching
127. The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs has issued a General Plan for DayCare Institutions, which establishes the importance of equality, tolerance and other fundamental values. The Ministry has also prepared a set of guidelines on combating racism in daycare institutions.
128. One of the primary objectives of education is to promote equal opportunities and to counteract all types of discriminatory attitudes. This is clearly stated in education legislation and in the national curricula. The new Education Act states that the “primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools shall promote the equal status and equal rights of all human beings, intellectual freedom and tolerance, ecological understanding and international coresponsibility”. It goes on to state that “everyone associated with the school or with training establishments shall make efforts to ensure that pupils and apprentices are not assaulted or exposed to offensive words or deeds”.
129. A new national curriculum for primary and lower secondary education has been introduced as from the 1997/98 school year. According to the curriculum schools are responsible for including pupils with a minority linguistic and cultural background in the cooperative structures established between the school, the home and the local community.
130. All textbooks used in Norwegian primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools must be officially approved. Such approval is granted by the National Centre for Teaching Aids, which should see to it that the textbooks reflect a multicultural society, and avoid offensive descriptions or pictures conducive to racism or xenophobia. New textbooks have been published as part of the reform of primary and secondary education.
131. The Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs is permanently engaged in efforts to combat bullying in schools. Since 1983 these efforts have been undertaken in cooperation with other relevant ministries, and special grants have been made for this purpose. At the local level it seems fruitful to involve pupils with an immigrant background as a resource in this context. The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs supported a project concerning bullying in the city of Bergen, which resulted in a decline in bullying of around 30 per cent. The introduction of formal mediation between pupils in conflict situations at a selected number of schools seems to have had fairly promising results, and the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs will shortly submit a more comprehensive action plan for the introduction of mediation between pupils in conflict situations in upper secondary schools.
Supporting youth work
132. Reference is made to Norway’s twelfth and thirteenth report (para. 107). The Idea Bank is a project run by the Norwegian Youth Council (LNU) and funded by the Government. The purpose is to promote multicultural programmes for children and young people by providing funding for locally organized projects. The Idea Bank grants support for activities and information campaigns that emphasize the importance of promoting contact, cooperation and mutual tolerance between children and young people with different national backgrounds. Priority is given to projects run jointly by Norwegians and immigrants.
133. Another important instrument is the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs’ grant scheme, Urban Youth Projects, which provides funding for the nine largest urban municipalities in Norway. This scheme is designed to improve the conditions under which young people grow up in urban municipalities, and great importance is attached to combating prejudice, racism and discrimination and to promoting mutual tolerance. The scheme targets young people aged 12 to 25.
134. The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs is responsible for the Development Programme to Improve the Conditions in which Children and Young People Grow Up, which has been drawn up in collaboration with a number of other ministries. The goal of the programme is to improve and influence the local environment in which children and young people grow up so as to improve their possibilities for participating in and coping successfully with their home situation, school, working life and leisure activities. Efforts to prevent violent behaviour, bullying, substance abuse, crime and racism among children and young people are also to be intensified. Pilot projects were initiated in 10 municipalities in autumn 1998.
Promoting tolerance and understanding through culture
135. Two new measures were launched in 1998, both of which are being coordinated by the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs. Art and the Multicultural Society is a programme for encouraging multicultural initiatives in national, regional and local cultural institutions. The programme was set up to implement Report to the Storting No. 47 (1996-97) The Artists, and is intended to strengthen the status of artists with minority backgrounds in the art community, and to support artistic exchanges. A national pilot project called Signal was launched in 1998 in the field of theatre, which was intended to promote the integration of artists with minority backgrounds.
136. The Norwegian Concert Institute, which arranges concerts and musical events all over the country has also established a Multicultural Centre which is responsible for a variety of activities in the field of world music, and it supports multicultural events. In its main spheres of responsibility, national school concerts and public concerts, the Norwegian Concert Institute has increased the proportion of multicultural performances.
137. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs also supports a librarian service in Oslo for immigrants and refugees. The establishment of librarian services for immigrants within the existing public library service has been encouraged in all municipalities with an immigrant population exceeding 100, and a number of municipalities have set up such a service.
138. Reference is made to CERD’s concluding observations, paragraph 23. Norway’s previous reports and CERD’s concluding observations have been disseminated to governmental and nongovernmental bodies and organizations.
List of enclosures
1. Act relating to the Strengthening of the Status of Human Rights in Norwegian Law (The Human Rights Act) of 21 May 1999 No. 30.
2. Population 1 January 1999 and population changes in the 4th quarter 1998, Statistics Norway (SSB).
3. The immigrant population in Norway, Statistical Yearbook of Norway 1998, Statistics Norway (SSB).
4. Number of persons that have received Norwegian citizenship 1998, Statistics Norway (SSB).
5. Arrival of asylum seekers per month 1991-1998.
Resident permits and the grounds for granting residence permits in 1998.
Persons who have been granted protection and accompanying persons who have been granted family reunification in the period 1988-1998.
Work permits granted and the grounds for granting work permits in 1998, by nationality and region.
6. “Immigrants in Norway”. A Summary of Findings, Statistical analyses, Statistics Norway (SSB), 1998.
7. Annual Report on Norwegian Efforts to Promote Human Rights, 1998.
8. Attitude towards Immigrants and Immigration Policy, Statistical Yearbook of Norway 1998, Statistics Norway (SSB).
9. Oslo City Court Ruling of 21 February 1997, (The Kjuus Case).
Supreme Court Ruling of 28 November 1997.
10. The Worker Protection and Worker Environment Act (The Working Environment Act) of 4 February 1977 No. 4, Section 55 A amended 30 April 1998.
11. Oslo City Court Ruling of 15 July 1998, (The Housing Agency case).
Borgarting High Court Ruling of 18 January 1999.
Supreme Court Ruling of 27 August 1999.
12. The Joint Ownership Act of 23 May 1997 No. 31, Section 22 amended 27 November 1998.
13. The Housing Co-operatives Act of 4 February 1960 No. 2, Section 13 amended 27 November 1998.
14. The House Rent Act of 26 March 1999 No. 17.
[*] This document contains the fifteenth periodic report of Norway, due on 5 September 1999. For the fourteenth periodic report of Norway and the summary records of the meetings at which the Committee considered that report, see documents CERD/C/320/Add.1 and CERD/C/SR.1232, 1233 and 1242.
The documents enclosed with the report submitted by the Government of Norway may be consulted in the Secretariat’s file.