NORWAY: Children's Rights References in the Universal Periodic Review

Summary: A compilation of extracts featuring child-rights issues from the reports submitted to the second Universal Periodic Review. There are extracts from the 'National Report', the 'Compilation of UN Information' and the 'Summary of Stakeholder's Information'. Once the 'recommendations' have been accepted or rejected by the State, these will subsequently be published here.


Norway - 19th Session - 2014
28th April, 9 am - 12.30 pm

National report

Norway’s first review in the UN Human Rights Council took place in 2009 and resulted in 115 recommendations. These were compiled into 91 numbered recommendations, of which 66 were accepted in full, five were partially accepted and two were made into voluntary commitments. In June 2012 Norway submitted, on its own initiative, a mid-term report describing what it had done in response to the 2009 recommendations. This second national report is to be viewed in the context of the mid- term report.

Following this, Norway set up an inter-ministerial coordination group for human rights issues under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the group is to strengthen the implementation of Norway’s human rights obligations and improve its reporting to UN human rights monitoring mechanisms.

Human Rights Protection in Norway

In 2012, several constitutional amendments on human rights were proposed to the Storting, including all of those put forward by the commission. The Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) will consider these proposals in the three parliamentary sessions following the general election.

Further, in keeping with the recommendations that Norway accepted after its first UPR, the country has ratified two human rights instruments since 2009:

• 3 June 2013, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Norway has not decided whether it will accede to the Optional Protocol establishing an individual complaints mechanism.

• 27 June 2013, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In the spring of 2013, an independent study was conducted on the possible consequences of Norwegian ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on establishing an individual complaints mechanism. Civil society actors and other relevant Norwegian parties were actively consulted in this process. The report was completed in June 2013 and circulated for comment. That same month, the Storting unanimously passed a resolution directing the Government to submit information relating to the question of ratification of this Optional Protocol as soon as possible.

Human rights implementation in Norway, best practices and challenges

Sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression

22. The action plan Improving quality of life among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans persons (2009–2012) was extended to the end of 2013. The action plan’s purpose was to prevent discrimination against – and promote better living conditions and quality of life for – lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons. One result has been the establishment of a national centre of expertise on sexual orientation and gender identity. This centre identifies, addresses and raises awareness about various challenges related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and keeps up-to-date on developments in the field at national and international level. The evaluation of the plan showed that its objectives in research and knowledge management was or would be reached by the end of the extended period. More expertise will still be needed, though. When it comes to developing services and building expertise among administrators and service providers, more work needs to be done before it can be said that the goals have been achieved.

Integration Policy and Ethnic Discrimination

Statistics and data collection

33. In order to combat discrimination, it is essential to understand its nature, extent and causes. Statistics Norway regularly produces statistics and analyses that form a vital base of information for the authorities. The results of research into discrimination against children and young people have also been compiled.

Indigenous peoples

Educational rights for Norway’s indigenous peoples

41. Pupils at primary and secondary levels in Sami districts are entitled to instruction about, and in, the Sami language. Outside Sami districts, Sami pupils are also entitled to instruction in Sami. However, these rights are not always observed, in part due to a lack of teaching resources. There is a shortage of Sami teaching materials, and it has been a challenge to recruit students into Sami teacher training programmes. Settlement patterns vary greatly, which means that teaching about and in the three Sami languages must be accommodated in different ways. Distance education is offered where it is not possible to provide a teacher in school. In 2013, new web-based information was prepared about the Sami language and Sami-language instruction. Work is also continuing to improve the information about Sami education, culture and traditions that is provided to school administrators, head teachers, teachers and parents. Better ways of facilitating distance learning are being studied as well.

42. Sami subjects are included in the national curriculum under Norway’s “Knowledge Promotion” reform. The “Knowledge Promotion – Sami” reform includes Sami teaching plans, revised versions of which are to be in use from the 2013-2014 academic year onward. The revisions include a clarification of learning goals in both the national and Sami curricula, with greater weight assigned to Sami content. To date, Sámediggi (the Sami Parliament) has focused mostly on teaching materials in the Sami language. Questions relating to educational materials about the Sami people will be discussed in meetings with Sámediggi.

Refugees and asylum seekers

48. Norway’s new Immigration Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2010, is in accordance with the country’s international obligations, such as the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and other conventions that Norway is bound by.

Right to health services

51. New regulations on the right to health and care services for persons without permanent residence in Norway entitle everyone staying in the country to urgent care and the right to be evaluated by the specialist health service, as well as the information required to exercise such rights. Further, all persons staying in Norway have the right to protection against contagious diseases. Children and pregnant women are to a large extent entitled to the same treatment as permanent residents. Children staying in Norway are generally entitled to necessary help from both the municipality and the specialist health service. In accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the best interests of the child are to be a primary consideration.

Minor asylum seekers

53. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is central to the immigration authorities’ approach to cases concerning children, and several provisions of Norway’s Immigration Act set out that the best interests of the child is to be a “fundamental consideration”. A foreign national may be granted a residence permit on the basis of strong humanitarian considerations or a particular connection with Norway, even if the person does not qualify for asylum. A child’s connection to Norway will be given particular weight in the assessment.

54. Children between 16 and 18 years of age who have no other basis for residency than the fact that they would lack proper care on return may be granted a temporary permit until they turn 18. This permit may not be renewed beyond the age of 18. Nor does it give rights to family reunification or provide the basis for a permanent residence permit. In other respects, the temporary permit confers the same rights and obligations as other permits, such as the right to health care services and education. The system of temporary permits was introduced to prevent children without a need for protection from being sent on a potentially dangerous journey to a foreign country. The Ministry of Education and Research intends to circulate for comment a bill on granting persons who are over compulsory school age but under 18, and who apply for a residence permit, the right to secondary or primary education. It is proposed that this should come into effect from the autumn of 2014.

55. A 2012 white paper on children seeking asylum provides an overview of current Norwegian regulations and practices. It also highlights challenges and possible action points. The white paper addresses the situation of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum as well as the situation of children who leave their home country with their parents or other caregivers, and it provides guidance on balancing immigration control concerns with the best interests of the child. In response to the white paper, a study has been initiated to shed light on the living conditions for children during the asylum-seeking process. The study will survey living conditions for accompanied children and unaccompanied minors in reception and care centres, using indicators related to school, day care, health services, child welfare services, physical conditions and social activities.

56. Unaccompanied minors up to 15 years of age are provided with accommodation at special care centres for minors. The child welfare authorities have responsibility for the care of children during their stay, and must provide care services that are appropriate to their particular needs. The immigration authorities have primary responsibility for housing and care services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors over 15 years of age, and for refugee minors who enter the country with their parents or other persons. If concerns for a child’s well-being are reported, the municipal child welfare service must ensure that the child in question receives the necessary help and care in a timely manner, regardless of nationality, citizenship and residency status.

57. Since 1 July 2013, unaccompanied minor asylum seekers have had the right to a personal representative whose duty is to secure the minor’s interests and assist him or her in the asylum process. The same applies to unaccompanied minor asylum seekers who are identified as victims of trafficking. This system of personal representatives is a replacement for and an improvement on the previous system of guardianship for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.

Children’s rights

58. The rights and welfare of children have been a priority for many years. Children’s rights are secured through the Children Act and the Child Welfare Act. Moreover, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its first two optional protocols have been incorporated into Norwegian law with precedence over other Norwegian legislation. High priority is given to the work of following up the convention and the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Efforts are also under way with regard to ratification of the Hague convention on parental responsibility and protection of children.

Amendments to the Children Act

59. In the spring of 2013, the Storting adopted amendments to the Children Act to place greater emphasis on the child’s perspective in civil disputes regarding parental responsibility, place of residence and parental access. The amendments will strengthen the child’s position during adjudication of such disputes in cases where the child is at risk of exposure to violence or abuse from his or her parents. The amended act specifies that children under seven years of age must be heard if they are capable of forming their own views on the matter. The child’s opinion is to be given weight in accordance with his or her age and maturity. This amendment is firmly in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

60. At the same time, the Storting amended provisions related to fatherhood and motherhood in the Children Act in order to reconcile the act with major social and technological developments that have taken place in family structure, opportunities for assisted insemination, and definitive paternity determination through DNA analysis.

Child welfare

61. All children in Norway are to be protected from neglect and abuse. Children and young people who live in conditions that can harm their health and development are to be given the help and care they need, when they need it. An increasing number of children require assistance from the child welfare service. Over time, the gap between the number of municipal child welfare employees and the number of cases has been increasing. In recent years, however, the child welfare service has been significantly strengthened. From 2011 to 2014, for example, 890 new child welfare positions at the municipal level have been created with earmarked central government funds, and work is underway to boost skills and expertise within the service. Municipal supervision of children in foster care will be strengthened in 2014. The Government has proposed measures to adapt schooling for children in the care of the child welfare service more closely to their particular needs. This will include closer cooperation between schools and child welfare staff in order to help more of these children complete their schooling.

62. In the spring of 2013, the Storting adopted amendments to the Child Welfare Act to strengthen children’s legal safeguards in relation to child welfare services. Among other things, children are now entitled by law to receive adequate child welfare services. A general provision was also adopted emphasising that children are to be given the opportunity to participate in all processes concerning their contact with the child welfare service. Children are also entitled to bring a trusted person with them into child welfare service meetings. Additional amendments were passed to strengthen the supervision of children in foster care.

Social inequality and living conditions for children and young people

63. The Government wants all children and young people to grow up in good, safe conditions that include opportunities for personal development. The proportion of children in low-income families has increased and appears to have stabilised at a relatively high level in recent years. Children of parents with low education levels or weak links to the job market, as well as children from immigrant families, children of single parents and children in large families, are especially vulnerable to poverty. Four out of ten children in families with a persistently low income level are of immigrant background.

64. Increased labour market participation by parents and successful skills acquisition by newly arrived immigrants are essential for combating poverty. Day care centres and schools that help neutralise social differences, as well as access to holiday and recreational activities, are vital arenas for enhancing participation and inclusion among children and young people. The Government is working to reduce the dropout rate in upper secondary school and to make sure that everyone receives high-quality educational services. It will continue to support programmes with a positive effect on Norwegian-language learning, such as free core time in day care centres. The child welfare service is working to strengthen knowledge and skills relating to children with ethnic backgrounds other than Norwegian.

Children vulnerable to trafficking

65. New provisions of the Child Welfare Act that entered into force on 1 August 2012 set out that a child at risk of becoming a victim of trafficking may temporarily be placed in an institution without the child’s consent. The purpose of the new provisions is to safeguard the child’s immediate needs for protection and care.

Efforts to combat violence and sexual abuse

Forced marriage and female genital mutilation

74. The Government will fight against forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Although many assistance programmes have been established, evaluations of previous action plans show that challenges remain with regard to preventing and obstructing these practices. In 2013, therefore, the Action plan against forced marriage, female genital mutilation and severe restrictions on young people’s freedom (2013–2016) was introduced.

Crisis centre services

75. The Crisis Centre Act highlights that it is a public-sector responsibility to ensure that persons exposed to domestic violence receive protection, help and follow-up services. The act requires municipalities to make crisis centre services available to women, men and children as well as to offer a comprehensive set of measures tailored to meet individual needs, including those of disabled persons. Crisis centres are to provide users with support, guidance and assistance to contact other service agencies as well as safe temporary housing, a daytime programme, a 24-hour telephone service and follow-up during the reestablishment phase. All services are free, with no referral requirement. The research institute Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) is conducting an evaluation of municipal- level implementation of the crisis centre act.

Treatment services for offenders

76. Measures to help perpetrators of domestic violence are important for the efforts to prevent this form of violence. The Government is therefore strengthening treatment services both for young people who commit acts of violence and for children exposed to violence and sexual abuse. It will fund a collaborative project involving the research and treatment centre Alternative to Violence (ATV), which will strengthen therapist skills in in the field of violence and sexual abuse, as well as increasing the capacity of the family counselling services to provide assistance in this area. In 2013, ATV had 11 offices spread across much of the country.

Violence and abuse against children

77. Preventing violence and abuse against children is a particularly strong priority for the Norwegian Government. Measures to combat violence against children are therefore being continued, as detailed in a new action plan against domestic violence for the period 2014–2017. In addition, a national strategy was announced in 2013 to combat violence and sexual abuse against children and young people in the period 2014–2017.

78. The Government will further develop the family counselling service’s work to help abused children through discussion groups, conversation-based therapy and treatment services. Cooperation with other agencies, such as those offering health and child welfare services, will be key. The response to the report on hospitals’ ability to identify child abuse entitled Oppdager sykehusene barnemishandling? (Norwegian only) includes the development of health service guidelines to help identify cases of child abuse.

79. Children’s Houses are a service for children and young people under 16 years of age, and for adults with intellectual disabilities, who are thought to have been exposed to violence or sexual abuse, or to have witnessed such violence, in cases that have been reported to the police. Children’s Houses are child advocacy centres where judicial examination, medical examinations, treatment and follow-up can all be carried out in the same place. They are also focal points for enhancing the skills of professionals who work with children or with adults with intellectual disabilities, and for improving cooperation between agencies in violence and abuse cases. The white paper on domestic violence sets out that more of the children exposed to violence and abuse are to benefit from the Children’s House scheme. The service is being strengthened with the addition of two new Children’s Houses and increased staffing. Several measures have been implemented to reduce the waiting time before judicial examinations are carried out, a matter that has proved challenging.

80. On Norway’s initiative, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have carried out a joint Nordic police action against persons who share pictures and video clips of child sexual abuse via the internet. Police in Norway “patrol” the internet, to monitor and investigate such criminal activity. A simple-to-use notification system has been introduced on websites frequented by minors, permitting youngsters to report to the police any material or behaviour (such as “grooming”) they encounter that may be unlawful. The National Criminal Investigation Service operates a tip line where information about child sexual abuse or pictures showing such abuse can be reported.

Education and training in human rights

86. One of the objectives of the Norwegian school system is to help pupils and apprentices become active citizens. The Government will strengthen school-based instruction in democratic participation through the development of teaching plans and programmes as well as training programmes for teachers and school administrators. Knowledge about democratic values and human rights is vital in order to preserve and strengthen the Nordic social model. The Ministry of Education and Research provides financial support to seven Norwegian peace and human rights centres, to help them to offer children and young people high-quality learning experiences in peace and human rights issues.

Judicial system and legal safeguards

Police custody and imprisonment

Use of isolation in prison

91. Under amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act that entered into force in 2012, it is no longer permissible to hold people under the age of 18 in total isolation during remand custody. Moreover, following amendments to the Execution of Sentences Act, there will be far fewer opportunities to exclude minors from spending time with other prisoners. In principle, prisoners under 18 are only to be kept apart from others for protectional purposes. Stricter requirements for reporting further up in the system were also introduced, and an absolute seven-day time limit will be introduced for the complete exclusion of this age group from the company of other prisoners. The amendments will take effect as soon as the regulations and guidelines are finalised.

Minors in prison

96. The goal is for no minors to be imprisoned except as a last resort. In 2012, several amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act entered into force. Minors may now be held in custody only when compellingly necessary, and a court must consider the question of custody no later than the day after arrest. The court must then reconsider on a two-weekly basis whether custody needs to be prolonged. Measures have also been taken to increase the use of alternatives to imprisonment, including a new sanction called the juvenile sentence. The Government has proposed allocating funds for this purpose in the 2014 national budget.

97. A special prison unit for young offenders was opened in Bergen in 2010 as a pilot project with a view to preventing minors from serving sentences together with adults and ensuring better detention conditions for this group. The establishment of a similar unit in eastern Norway is under consideration. The Bergen unit will now be evaluated. The number of minors in prison has declined since 2010. In 2010, 64 minors were imprisoned compared with 58 in 2011 and 51 in 2012. In 2013, 26 minors had been placed in prison as of November.

98. Norway’s reintegration policy, which is designed to ensure the best possible return of former prisoners to society, also applies to persons under 18. This means that young offenders are entitled to all the welfare benefits to which all citizens are entitled, such as housing, work, schooling, health services including treatment for substance abuse, as well as financial counselling. Multidisciplinary teams in the special units for young offenders are to ensure that these young people receive the help to which they are entitled.

National priorities

116. Norway will:

(a) International human rights instruments

  • Continue its work to ensure correspondence between Norwegian law and Norway’s international human rights obligations.

  • Ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

  • Consider ratification of the optional protocols on establishing an individual complaints mechanism for the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

(b) Human rights implementation in Norway

  • Domestic violence: Strengthen efforts to combat and prevent domestic violence, including various forms of violence and sexual abuse against children.

  • Education and training in human rights: Examine lower and upper secondary teaching materials on religion, ethics, outlooks on life and social sciences with an eye to how they handle issues related to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, extremism and radicalisation; consider opportunities for improving children and young people’s discernment regarding use of internet and social media.


Compilation of UN information 

Implementation of international human rights obligations

Equality and non-discrimination

23. CRC urged Norway to combat discrimination against children from minority groups, indigenous children and children with disabilities.

Right to life, liberty and security of the person

25. CRC recommended focusing on child victims of sale and trafficking.

28. CRC encouraged Norway to strengthen preventive and protection measures to address FGM, forced marriage and intermarriage.

29. CRC recommended that Norway implement the recommendations of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children (A/61/299).64 It also urged Norway to ensure that adequate assistance was provided to children and their families, with due respect for other cultures, and that children had information about the helpline and where to find effective assistance.

30. CRC recommended that Norway continue to implement appropriate policies and programmes for prevention, recovery and social integration of child victims of sexual exploitation and abuse; establish more Children’s Houses; ensure that exploited and abused children received help as soon as possible; ensure that knowledge of sexual exploitation and abuse was integrated into training programmes for professionals working with and protecting children; and expedite the examination of cases within the 14-day statutory deadline.

Administration of justice, including impunity and the rule of law

33. CRC urged Norway to ensure that all children victims and/or witnesses of crimes were provided with the protection required by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to take fully into account the United Nations Guidelines on Justice in Matters Involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime.

Right to marriage and family life

40. CRC recommended, inter alia, that Norway assist parents to competently exercise their parental responsibilities and enhance the capacity of all professionals and practitioners involved in counselling, conflict resolution or family separation issues to support the continuation of family life or find the most acceptable custody solution and, in the case of divorce or separation, to assist children’s contact with both parents, considering under all circumstances the best interests of the child.

Freedom of expression, and right to participate in public and political life

42. CRC regretted that children have the right to be heard regarding health issues only after the age of 12. It noted with interest that a pilot project in 21 municipalities would allow children to vote in their local elections, from 16 years of age. CRC recommended that Norway strengthen efforts to promote due respect for the views of the child at any age; promote children’s participation and assist them to exercise this right; and ensure that the pilot project is supported through civic and human rights education, and that the impact of the project on the citizenship role of adolescents is evaluated.

Right to social security and to an adequate standard of living

47. CESCR recommended that Norway ensure that the monthly amount of the child allowance provided a sufficient support to families to meet child-related expenses.

48. CRC recommended that Norway: provide the Child Welfare Services with resources to intensify its preventive efforts for families at risk of failing to provide adequate care and support to their children; follow up on children in alternative care, regularly examining the possibility of returning the child to his or her family and, if the child remains in alternative care until the age of majority, facilitate his or her transition to adulthood; and take into account the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (General Assembly resolution 64/142).

49. CESCR recommended that Norway take measures to elaborate and implement a substantially more effective strategy to fight child poverty.

50. CRC recommended that Norway protect children living in poverty against the detrimental consequences of that situation, particularly by specific early care and education, targeted programmes in school to compensate development and learning deficits, measures for better nutrition and health of children from disadvantaged groups and efforts to make municipal housing more child-friendly.

Right to health

52. CRC recommended that Norway ensure that children have access to good health services, including in schools, throughout the country.

53. CRC expressed concern that the level of substance abuse by children and young people remained high, and was seriously concerned at the number of deaths of young people from drug overdose. CRC recommended that Norway strengthen its efforts to reduce drug abuse.

54. CRC recommended that Norway continue to develop its mental health care system for children and young people and examine the phenomenon of over-prescription of psycho-stimulants to children, and take initiatives to provide children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as their parents and teachers, with access to a wide range of psychological, educational and social measures and treatment.

Right to education

59. CRC encouraged Norway to educate parents about the value of early education and provide places in good quality kindergartens for all children; and urgently advise municipalities to introduce the new language curricula in the schools so that children can better follow class instruction.

60. UNESCO recommended that Norway integrate human rights education and training in school curricula.

61. CRC recommended that Norway conduct a study on how the aims of the revised school subject, Religion, Philosophies of Life and Ethics, are achieved and what kind of support teachers need in order to adequately implement the objectives of this subject. It further recommended that Norway examine the educational objectives and practices of isolated religious communities with respect to their compatibility with the child’s right to a holistic, human rights oriented education.

62. CESCR expressed concern about the higher drop-out rate of immigrant students in particular in upper secondary education. UNESCO recommended that Norway take additional measures to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education by children with an immigrant background and to eliminate discrimination in access to education.

63. CESCR expressed concern that children from minority communities were more likely to experience bullying in schools. It recommended that Norway systematically collect data on bullying in schools, disaggregated by ethnic group; adopt measures, legislative or otherwise, to combat bullying in schools; and assess the effectiveness of such measures in countering the phenomenon.

64. CESCR expressed concern about the very high levels of absenteeism of Roma children of compulsory school age. It recommended that Norway take measures to ensure that all Roma children attend compulsory education, including through making it more accessible for those who travel for a part of the year.

Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

80. CRC recommended that Norway: identify children affected by armed conflicts among asylum seekers and ensure their rehabilitation and social reintegration; expedite the assignment of a guardian to assist asylum-seeking children in understanding the procedures, and clarify the role of the guardian through the initiated guardianship legislation; shorten the waiting period for determining the status of asylum seekers; ensure that age determination procedures are conducted in a scientific, safe, child- and gender-sensitive and fair manner; expand the responsibility of the Child Welfare Services to children aged 15, 16 and 17, and carefully follow up on them during their stay; make sure that children do not disappear and fall into the clutches of traffickers and exploiters; avoid sending children back to unsafe places from which they have fled and use their stay in Norway to equip them with the competencies and skills they will need when they return under more peaceful conditions; ensure the primary consideration of the best interests of the child and his or her affiliation to Norway whenever decisions about the child’s future are under consideration.


Stakeholder information

Scope of international obligations

1. The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) welcome the ratification of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in accordance with recommendation 105.2 made during the review of Norway on 2 December 2009 (Review in 2009). It recommended that Norway sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to CRPD, in accordance with recommendation 106.5 made at the Review in 2009.

3. LNU, Norwegian NGO-forum for Human Rights (NGOFHR) and Save the Children – Norway (SCN) recommended that Norway sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure.

Constitutional and legislative framework

11. SCN stated that the Child Welfare Act of 1992 stipulates that the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration of the Child Welfare Services. However, the Act lacks a corresponding right of the child to receive assistance from the Child Welfare Services. SCN recommended the amendment of the Act to provide children with timely and appropriate assistance.

Implementation of international human rights obligations, taking into account applicable international humanitarian law

Right to life, liberty and security of the person

31. NGOFHR stated unaccompanied minors between the ages of 15 and 18 years living in asylum centres under the care of the immigration authorities, are vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. In 2012, 85 unaccompanied minors of this age group went missing from asylum centres. NGOFHR recommended that Norway ensure that all children who are identified as victims of trafficking are placed under the care and assistance of the Child Welfare Services.

32. Council of Europe - Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CoE-GRETA) stated that Norway should: (a) adapt its system to provide specifically tailored assistance to meet the needs of child victims of human trafficking; (b) strengthen co-operation between child protection services, outreach services, police and immigration authorities so that child victims of trafficking receive adequate care, taking into consideration their individual needs and best interests; (c) ensure that child victims of trafficking aged 15 to 18 are placed under the care and assistance of child welfare services; and (d) ensure that an individual risk assessment is carried out before returning child victims to their country of origin.

34. NGOFHR stated that Norway has 10 Children’s Advocate Centres which provide for police or judicial interviews, medical investigations and psychological support for children. As evident from the 2012 annual report from these Centres, the time it took for the filing of a police report to a judicial or police interview varied from 42 days to 123 days; a considerable deviation from the statutory period of 14 days. NGOFHR recommended inter alia effective procedures to strengthen the due process of law for children who are alleged victims of violence or sexual abuse by ensuring that they are interviewed within the statutory deadline.

Right to health

58. NI stated that there was inadequate staffing for local health services which played a vital role in fulfilling the rights to health for children and young people.

Right to education

60. NI stated that children’s rights to education were repeatedly violated in some municipalities, with no consequences for the municipal educational authorities. It recommended introducing sanctions for those that failed to comply with the provisions of the Educational Act.

61. SCN stated that while the Kinder Garden Act gave all children the right to attend kinder garden, it did not confer such right on children living in reception centres, irrespective of their immigration status. Also, asylum-seeking children above the age of 16 years did not have the right to secondary education.

62. Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) called for an increase in subsidies to private schools. It also stated that all students with special needs attending private schools should receive assistance similar to that given to students attending public schools.

63. NI stated that the high level of absenteeism among Roma children was reason for concern. NI recommended that Norway introduce an action plan to ensure the right to education for Roma children.

64. Council of Europe – Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Third Opinion on Norway (CoE-AC) recommended that Norway: (a) continue and to intensify the measures taken to remedy the difficulties encountered by Roma and Romani/Taters children in the education system; and (b) find solutions suited to the particular lifestyle of Roma and Romani/Taters children in order to grant them equality in access to quality education while preserving their culture.

65. JS2 stated that sexual education was not obligatory and was dependent on the school and pupils. The school curricular included a small selection of competency objectives in which themes related to sexuality were embedded. This was insufficient to guarantee comprehensive sexual education.

Minorities and indigenous peoples

74. SIEF stated that an increased number of Roma families have lost custody of their children. The gravity of some of those cases has led the Norwegian Child Protection Offices to implement extreme measures, such as granting parents limited visitation rights with their children, and in some cases no visitation rights at all. In cases where visitation rights have been granted, the children and their parents were not allowed to speak Romanés to each other. Roma children living with Norwegian foster families were deprived of their right to receive education on Roma culture and language. Many young Roma women also feared getting pregnant or giving birth in Norway as they feared that Child Protection Services will take their children away.

Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

83. LNU welcomed the amendment of the Immigration Act providing for unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors the right to a representative, in accordance with recommendation 106.40 made at the Review in 2009.

84. NI expressed concern by the serious and harmful effects of the temporary residence permits given to unaccompanied asylum seeking minors between the ages of 16 and 18 years and the uncertainty it brought to those young people.

85. LNU stated that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children between the ages of 15 and 18 were subjected to discrimination in so far as they are not given the same rights to care as other children, pursuant to the Child Welfare Act. It recommended that Norway place the responsibility for all unaccompanied minor asylum seekers up to the age of 18 years with the Child Welfare Services.

86. NGOFHR stated the best interests of the child should be considered in all immigration matters. It recommended specifying in the relevant regulation how these interests should be interpreted.

87. JS1 stated that it has become increasingly difficult for asylum seekers to prove their sexual orientation following the ruling of the Norwegian Supreme Court that LGBT asylum seekers should not be sent to their home country if they would be required to hide their sexual orientation to avoid persecution, and the introduction of new regulations in The Norwegian Directory of Immigration. It called for a review of the existing practices.


Accepted and rejected recommendations

131. The following recommendations will be examined by Norway, which will respond to them in due course, but no later than the twenty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council, in September 2014:
131.13 Sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the CRC on a communications procedure (Portugal); 
131.20 Accelerate the process of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (Congo);
131.23 Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (Germany);
131.24 Consider becoming party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that relating to persons with disabilities, both of which relate to individual grievance procedures (Ghana);  
131.29 Strengthen the domestic legislation in accordance with international law to prevent and address violence against women and girls (Maldives);
131.30 Enact specific legislation to put in place comprehensive measures to prevent and address violence against women and girls, and provide adequate assistance and protection to the victims (Poland);
131.31 Enact specific comprehensive legislation on domestic violence and put in place general measures to prevent violence against women and girls, including marital rape and ensure that perpetrators be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the severity of the crimes committed (Honduras); 
131.34 Amend legislation in the area of adoption of children in order to better ensure the protection of the rights of children (Russian Federation); 
131.75 Ensure the respect of gender equality both in offices and in schools (Timor-Leste); 
131.114 Combat discrimination against children from minority groups, and children with disabilities (Jordan);
131.115 Combat discrimination against children belonging to minorities, indigenous people, and children with disabilities (Bahrain);
131.116 Ensure equal rights and opportunities for children of immigrants, Roma and indigenous people, investigate allegations of bullying ethnic minority children in schools and take effective measures to protect them against prejudice, violence and stigmatization (Uzbekistan);
131.128 Continue to implement appropriate policies and programmes to combat violence and abuse against children, and ensure recovery and social integration for victims (State of Palestine);
131.129 Intensify measures aiming at realization of the rights of the child and prevention of violence against children (Algeria);
131.130 Strengthen efforts to combat and prevent domestic violence, including various forms of violence and sexual abuse against children (Azerbaijan); 
131.133 Adopt more efficient measures to prevent domestic violence and all other forms of violence against and abuse of women and children (Viet Nam);
131.134 Strengthen efforts within the context of the fight against domestic violence, rapes, violence and sexual abuse of children, as Norway has already committed itself to do (Niger);
131.135 Take effective measures to deal with violence against women and girls (India);
131.136 Strengthen measures to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence and provide assistance to women and child victims of violence, in particular social rehabilitation (Sri Lanka); 
131.145 Review the system of preventative detention with regard to juveniles and adopt alternative measures in conformity with recommendations of United Nations treaty bodies (Uzbekistan);
131.146 Revise its system of detention to reduce the use of police custody for children, and ensure that police custody of children is a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time possible (Canada);
131.147 Implement policies and programmes for the prevention, rehabilitation and social integration of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly minors (Costa Rica);
131.148 Seek to ensure the protection of all child victims and/or witnesses of crimes and comply with the United Nations Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime (Libya);
131.149 Implement juvenile justice standards, in particular in regard to pretrial detention of juveniles and the segregation of juveniles from adult prisoners (Austria);
131.150 Continue its efforts in the protection of all minors in conflict with law by taking into account the principles of best interest of the child, including the possibility of incorporating the principle of restorative justice in its juvenile justice system (Indonesia); 
131.158 Consider improving services at the Children’s Houses further, including by providing shelter for all children below 18 years of age, enhancing training programmes for professionals working with and protecting children, and expediting cases within the 14-day statutory deadline (Thailand);
131.159 Review the practices concerning the removal of children from their families by the Child Welfare Service, in the light of the best interest of the child and take necessary measures to maintain the special bond of the child with his/her cultural, ethnic and religious identity, after removal from the family (Turkey);
131.160 Ensure that emergency shelters and social housing units meet an adequate standard, especially for families with children (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland);
131.161 That the services of the Children’s Houses be available and accessible to all children up to the age of 18, and the due process of law be strengthened for victimized children by ensuring that they are interviewed within the 14-day statutory deadline (Iceland);
131.162 Elaborate and implement a substantially more effective strategy to
fight child poverty (Kyrgyzstan); 
131.170 Redouble efforts to reduce abuse of drugs and other psychotropic substances, in particular by children, adolescents and youths (Costa Rica);
131.171 Strengthen efforts to reduce drug abuse, as recommended by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (Botswana);
131.172 Ensure the right to education for Roma Children and intensify measures taken to remedy the difficulties encountered by Roma and Romani/Taters children in the education system; and find solutions suited to the particular lifestyle of Roma (Iran (Islamic Republic of));
131.173 Take additional measures to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education by children with an immigrant background and eliminate discrimination in access to education for them (Kyrgyzstan);
131.174 Guarantee access to primary and secondary education to all children, including migrant children and asylum seekers (Mexico);
131.175 Take additional measures to ensure the full enjoyment of the right to education by children with an immigrant background (Portugal);
131.176 To pursue in its efforts to ensure that indigenous peoples enjoy their right to education (Timor-Leste);
131.177 Continue its efforts to allocate sufficient pedagogical resources to
support the right to education of the indigenous peoples of Norway (Benin); 
131.179 Place special emphasis, in its general policy of protection of persons with disabilities, on the protection of children with disabilities, who are more vulnerable to discrimination (Spain); 
131.191 Reformulate the plan of action to improve the living conditions of the Roma community which began in 2009 in order to ensure that it includes fundamental issues such as the eradication of illiteracy and providing Roma children with inclusive and quality education (Ecuador);
131.196 Reassess involuntary return practices and asylum processes,
particularly for minors, in order to guarantee refugees the full protection
accorded by the law (United States of America);
131.197 Take further steps to integrate the best interests of the child at all
stages of the asylum and migration process, in line with human rights
obligations under the CRC, and to ensure special protection for
unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (Austria);
131.198 Continue and strengthen efforts to ensure respect for the best interest of children when enforcing public policies on the rights of migrants (Brazil);
131.199 Ensure the best interest of the child in all matters related to
immigration (Chile);  
131.200 Take measures to prevent minors from disappearing from reception centres by identifying and ensuring the protection of children at risk of being trafficked (Finland);
131.201 Continue giving top priority to the issue of unaccompanied asylumseeking minors placed in asylum centres and protecting them from disappearances, including providing the necessary resources, enhancing measures to quickly identify and bolstering previous efforts in this regard
131.202 Place the responsibility for all unaccompanied minor asylum seekers up to the age of 18 years with the Child Welfare Services (Hungary).



Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.