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Norway Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Norway is one of the most robust democracies in the world. Human rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and are well respected.

Norway is a democracy with strong and independent institutions. Freedom of assembly and association is enshrined in the Constitution and respected. Civil society organizations can act freely and criticize political decisions. The elections are considered free and fair, but according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, a sharply increased inflow of private money to party funds risks giving capital-strong donors influence over politics.

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Religious freedom is enshrined in the Basic Law, but from 2018 it is forbidden to wear clothing that covers, in whole or in part, the face of teaching situations. Minorities have the same statutory rights as other citizens, but in recent years the number of religiously motivated hate crimes has increased significantly. The United Nations Human Rights Committee is concerned about the occurrence of hate crimes and threatening statements against Roma, migrants, Muslims Jews and Sami and has called on the Norwegian government to take action.

The Marriage Act gives same-sex couples the right to enter into marriage, and the right to become adoptive parents. But it happens that homosexuals are exposed to threats and violent crimes.

Norway is ranked as the world's second most equal country according to the World Economic Forum, shortly after Iceland. 40 percent of the MEPs were women in 2017. Corruption is not a major problem, the country ranks seventh in Transparency International's index of perceived corruption in 180 countries.

Democracy and Human Rights of NorwayFreedom of expression and media

In 2019, Norway ranks first in Reporters Without Borders index of press freedom in the world. Freedom of speech and the press are constitutional and anyone can openly criticize the government without the risk of reprisals. Public documents are legally available to the public, which facilitates the work of journalists. There is a multitude of independent media reviewing politicians and other holders of power.

Judicial system and legal security

Legal security is generally very good. Police, prosecutors, courts are independent, have integrity and can act effectively in relation to the executive. Norway almost always adheres to judgments, decisions and recommendations made by the European Court of Justice and various UN committees. The World Justice Project ranks Norway second, just after Denmark, in its index of the rule of law in 126 countries in 2019. But the country has been criticized by international surveillance mechanisms for long detention times and for frequent use of detention in prisons and prisons. The detention of persons who have been detained while awaiting deportation has also been criticized by human rights organizations.

2014

November

PST: "Increased risk of terrorist acts against Norway"

The Norwegian security service PST warns that the terrorist threat to Norway has increased during the autumn. According to PST, the likelihood is that a terrorist act or an attempt at such will be carried out within a year.

October

Norwegian soldiers to Iraq

The government announces that 120 Norwegian militaries will be sent to Iraq to train the Iraqi army in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) extremist Islamist group. The soldiers should not participate in combat. Half of the soldiers will be stationed in Baghdad and half in the city of Arbil in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Norwegian couple gets the Nobel Prize in medicine

The researchers May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser receive the Nobel Prize in medicine together with the British professor John O'Keefe. They receive the prize for the discovery of the brain's "GPS system", which explains how we know where we are and how we can navigate from one place to another. The discovery has provided, among other things, a greater knowledge of why Alzheimer's patients cannot recognize their surroundings.

Stoltenberg takes over as Natochef

Former leader of the Labor Party Jens Stoltenberg takes over as NATO's military alliance secretary general. He replaces the Danish Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

July

Increased terror preparedness

On July 24, the police are set on alert throughout the country after a "concrete threat" has been presented about an imminent terror attack. The threat is said to come from an extreme Islamist group in Syria. ID checks are introduced at the border crossings and parts of the airspace over Bergen are closed. After three days, the authorities reduce the threat and after a week the police return to normal readiness. The stricter border controls are abolished.

June

Jonas Gahr StÝre new leader of the Labor Party

Jonas Gahr StÝre, former Foreign Minister and Minister of Health of the Stoltenberg Government, is elected new leader of the Labor Party.

May

Norwegian will lead UN force

As the first woman, Norwegian Major General Kristin Lund is appointed to lead a UN peacekeeping force. She takes command of the International Peace Force in Cyprus on August 13. The Cyprus force consists of nearly 1,000 soldiers and police and 149 civilian employees.

The government declines meeting with the Dalai Lama

The government chooses not to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama when he visits Norway to note that it is 25 years since he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Government representatives say the decision is not made to hamper attempts to normalize relations with China, which bottomed in 2010 when the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

March

Stoltenberg is appointed chief of NATO

Jens Stoltenberg, leader of the Labor Party and former prime minister, is elected Secretary-General of the NATO military alliance. Stoltenberg will take up the post in October of that year.

Strict asylum and immigration policy is introduced

The government agrees with the Christian People's Party and Venstre on a new and mainly stricter asylum policy. But the agreement also means that around 1,000 children and young people, who have been denied their asylum application and are at risk of deportation, should be able to stay in Norway through special considerations. The so-called asylum children are a contentious political issue in Norway and the decision on their future is considered a remission to Venstre. In addition, the new asylum policy means that Norway introduces a 24-year limit for an immigrant who has received asylum to be allowed to reunite with his or her spouse in Norway (a requirement that the Progress Party has long stated). A faster treatment of people who are in the country without a residence permit is introduced, as well as two different asylum centers (one open for those who are allowed to stay and one locked reception for those who are to be expelled).

February

Coal mine opens at Svalbard

Norway opens a coal mine on the archipelago of Svalbard in the Northern Arctic Ocean. A power struggle is underway over the natural resource-rich Arctic between Norway, Russia and the USA, among others.


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