The human rights situation in Norway was reviewed by the Council on 2 December 2009. The next review of Norway will take place in April/May 2014.
Norway made a voluntary commitment to provide a mid-term report on its work to implement the more than 70 recommendations that we accepted. We undertook this commitment because we firmly believe that the UPR is not a onetime event, but an ongoing national process where States continuously work on implementing the accepted recommendations.
I am pleased to present our mid-term report to the Council today. It describes the status on some central issues that were identified as particularly challenging through the UPR-process and the recommendations from the Council. By using a wide range of mechanisms including legislation, measures to improve knowledge, white papers, action plans in different sectors, development of strategies and practical action, we believe that significant progress has been made. However we acknowledge there is room for improvement and more to be done.
In our work to prepare the report we have had a transparent cooperation with civil society. The mid-term report was circulated among civil society actors, which were invited to give their views on the mid-term review and the way ahead both in writing and in open hearing meetings. Civil society actors were open in telling us where they disagree with the government and where we need to improve.
The UPR is a learning process for all of us. What have we learned so far?
For us the mid-term review has proven to be a very helpful tool to facilitate a sound and effective implementation process. We would like to encourage other States to conduct a similar exercise and share the information on the status of implementation with the Council.
The follow-up phase should, first and foremost, be about holding States accountable for the recommendations they have accepted. Even though civil society actors disagree with the government on several issues, they expressed appreciation that the mid-term report gave a comprehensive and detailed account of concrete measures implemented since the 2009 review. It was pointed out that this provided a good basis to criticize the government and thereby identifying further gaps in the human rights protection system that could be brought to the attention of the government.
We experienced that a high number of repeated recommendations are difficult to manage. In addition many recommendations are so vague that it is difficult to establish whether they have been fully implemented or not. Our common goal and responsibility during the second cycle of UPR should be to formulate precise, practical, implementable and forward-looking recommendations.
There are copies of the mid-term report at the back of this room. It is also available on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We welcome scrutiny of our records so far.
Read the report
See the presentation as a webcast