Norway is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The government consists of a prime minister, a cabinet, and a 169-seat parliament (Storting), which is elected every four years and may not be dissolved. The monarch generally appoints the leader of the majority party or majority coalition as prime minister with the approval of parliament. Observers considered the multiparty parliamentary elections in 2017 to be free and fair.
The national police have primary responsibility for internal security. Police may call on the armed forces for assistance in crises. In such circumstances, the armed forces operate under police authority. The National Police Directorate oversees the police force. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the national police.
There were no reports of significant human rights abuses.
The government investigated officials who allegedly committed violations of human rights.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution and law prohibit such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
There were no significant reports regarding prison or detention center conditions that raised human rights concerns.
Physical Conditions: The country has no detention centers for pretrial prisoners. By law authorities must transfer all detainees from police stations to prisons within 48 hours; they usually make the transfer within 24 hours. Prisons generally met international standards, and there were no major concerns regarding inmate abuse.
A report on the 2018 visit by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) found that, in the Bodo, Ila, and Ullersmo Prisons, remand prisoners subjected to court-ordered full isolation were usually locked in their cells for 22 hours a day, had very limited contact with staff, and were offered one hour of outdoor exercise (alone) and one-hour access to a fitness room (alone). The CPT delegation observed, “major problems in the prisons visited in transferring severely mentally ill prisoners to psychiatric hospitals.” At the Bodo and Ullersmo prisons, newly arrived prisoners waited sometimes for several weeks before receiving visits due to delays in obtaining the necessary clearance for their visitors.
Administration: Authorities conducted proper investigations of credible allegations of mistreatment.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted visits, including unannounced visits, by independent human rights observers. On January 17, the CPT issued a report on its 2018 visit to the country.
Improvements: In 2018 the government remodeled the Trandum detention center in response to concerns raised in 2016 and 2017 by Amnesty International Norway and the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS). NOAS and the CPT confirmed that the physical conditions at the detention center had improved substantially but continued to raise concerns that some of the procedures used to detain and secure deportees were more stringent than those used for convicted criminals in prison.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provide for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest or detention in court, and the government generally observed these requirements.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees
The law requires warrants authorized by a prosecutor for arrests. Police may make an arrest without a warrant if any delay would entail risk of injury to police or civilians or damage to property. If police arrest a person without a warrant, a prosecutor must consider as soon as possible whether to uphold the arrest. Detainees must be informed of the charges against them immediately after an arrest, and, if the prosecutor wishes to detain suspects, he or she must arraign them no later than three days after arrest. The arraigning judge determines whether the accused should be held in custody or released pending trial. There is a bail system, but it was rarely utilized. Officials routinely released defendants accused of minor crimes pending trial, including nonresident foreigners. Defendants accused of serious or violent crimes usually remained in custody until trial. By law authorities should provide detainees access to a lawyer of their choice before interrogation or, if the requested lawyer is unavailable, to an attorney appointed by the government. The government pays the attorney fees in all cases
The CPT found that detained persons without financial resources were not always provided access to a lawyer free-of-charge from the time of arrest. Criminal detainees benefited from legal aid if it was expected that the period of police custody would last more than 24 hours (for adults) or 12 hours (for juveniles). Consequently, it was not uncommon for criminal suspects to be subjected to police questioning without a lawyer present.
The law mandates that detainees be transferred from a temporary police holding cell to a regular prison cell within 48 hours.
The law provides that a court must determine whether and for how long a detainee may be held in solitary confinement during pretrial detention. In May 2018 the government informed the visiting CPT delegation that, in the entire prison system, only two remand prisoners were being held under court-ordered full isolation for more than one month: One for five weeks and one for six weeks.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality.
The constitution and the law provide for the right to a fair and public trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence and the right to be informed promptly of the charges against them. Trials were held without undue delay. Defendants have the right to be present at their trials. Defendants also have the right to counsel of their choice at public expense, to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense, to free interpretation as necessary from the moment charged through all appeals, to confront and question adverse witnesses, and to present their own evidence and witnesses. Defendants may not be compelled to testify or to confess guilt. They have the right to appeal.
Political Prisoners and Detainees
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Individuals or organizations may seek civil remedies for human rights violations through domestic courts. They may appeal cases alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights by the government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after exhausting all avenues of appeal in domestic courts.
The government and the Jewish community reported that Holocaust-era restitution was not an issue. No litigation or restitution claims regarding real or immovable property covered by the Terezin Declaration, which the government endorsed, were pending before authorities.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, and there were no reports that the government failed to respect these prohibitions.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Expression, Including for the Press
The constitution and law provide for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government generally respected this right. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for the press.
Freedom of Expression: The law prohibits “threatening or insulting anyone, or inciting hatred or repression of or contempt for anyone because of his or her: (a) skin color or national or ethnic origin; (b) religion or life stance; (c) sexual orientation or lifestyle; or (d) disability.” Violators are subject to a fine or imprisonment for not more than three years.
Press and Media, Including Online Media: Independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views without restriction. The prohibitions against hate speech applied also to the print and broadcast media, the publication of books, and online newspapers and journals.
The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.
Academic Freedom and Cultural Events
There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.
b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The constitution and law provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.
c. Freedom of Religion
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at https://www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.
d. Freedom of Movement
The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights.
e. Internally Displaced Persons
f. Protection of Refugees
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as NOAS and Amnesty International criticized the government for issuing instructions to immigration authorities that more strictly interpreted immigration and asylum regulations as a means of restricting access to asylum without changing the underlying legislation. NOAS cited examples of the government’s redefining the level of civil safety in Somalia in order to withdraw or deny asylum to applicants by claiming it was “safe to return to Somalia.”
In one example in June, immigration authorities revoked the refugee status of a single mother of Afghan descent and her three children who had fled from Iran. Immigration authorities attempted to return them to Afghanistan even though none of the three children was born in Afghanistan and had never visited. The basis for the revocation was a claim by the government that it was safe for the family to return to Afghanistan. In the course of her detention, although the mother lapsed into unconsciousness, she was still placed on an airplane with the three children. Upon arrival in Istanbul, the mother, who had not regained consciousness, had to be returned to Norway for medical reasons. The minor children remained in Istanbul pending their deportation to Afghanistan. The Afghan government ultimately refused to accept them, forcing Norwegian officials to accept the children back after 10 days. Under these circumstances and due to the efforts of several NGO’s, the children were allowed to remain in the country pending an appeal of their immigration status.
Safe Country of Origin/Transit: The country is party to the EU’s Dublin III regulation, which allows the government to transfer asylum seekers to the European country determined to be responsible under the regulation for adjudicating the case.
Freedom of Movement: The law permits detention of migrants to establish their identity or to deport them if authorities deem it likely the persons would evade an order to leave. The detention is limited and subject to judicial review.
Employment: Regulations allow asylum seekers who reside in integration facilities to obtain employment while their applications are under review. Eligible asylum seekers must fulfill certain criteria, including possession of valid documentation proving identity, a finding following an asylum interview that the individual will likely receive asylum, and participation in government-defined “integration” programs that assist asylum seekers in adapting to Norwegian society by the use of educational resources such as language or job training.
Durable Solutions: The government offered resettlement for refugees in cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The government’s Directorate of Immigration had several programs to settle refugees permanently in the country.
Through the International Organization for Migration and other government partners, the government assisted the return of unsuccessful asylum seekers to their countries of origin through voluntary programs that offered financial and logistical support for repatriation. Identity documents issued by either the Norwegian or the returnee’s government are required in order to use this program. The government continued routinely to offer migrants cash support in addition to airfare to encourage persons with rejected asylum claims to leave the country voluntarily.
Individuals granted refugee status may apply for citizenship when they meet the legal requirements, which include a minimum length of residence of seven of the previous 10 years, completion of an integration course on Norwegian society and pass a language test.
The government continued to provide welfare and support for refugees living in the country as part of the government’s Integration Goals administered by the Ministry of Children and Families. In order to facilitate the transition of immigrants into productive members of society, certain categories of immigrants, including refugees, are eligible for programs designed to provide Norwegian language instruction, job training, job placement, access to schools and universities, and basic instruction for living in Norwegian society. Refugees and asylum applicants have access to welfare benefits for short-term or long-term housing and medical care, and are provided direct access to, or financial support for, necessities such as food, clothing, basic entertainment, and public transportation. Children are eligible to attend public schools and preschools as if they were citizens, and there are programs for children who have recently arrived and need language assistance prior to entering the regular education system.
In 2018 parliament passed legislation to allow dual citizenship. The new law will come into effect as of 2020, and thereafter eligibility for citizenship will no longer be contingent on renouncing one’s prior citizenship.
Temporary Protection: Through the end of August, the government provided temporary humanitarian protection to 48 individuals who may not qualify as refugees. The permits for temporary protection may be renewed and can become permanent. The government provided temporary protection to fewer than 10 unaccompanied minors, who were granted residence permits in the country until the age of 18. NOAS and the NGO Norwegian Refugee Council claimed that the government’s policy is not to renew temporary protection for these minors when they turn 18 so they may be deported, even though the circumstances that led to their humanitarian protection remain unchanged.
g. Stateless Persons
According to UNHCR 2,809 stateless persons lived in the country at the end of 2018; they were not counted as refugees. According to the Directorate of Immigration, at the end of August, an additional 81 stateless asylum seekers lived in reception centers, a decrease of 50.6 percent from the same period in 2018. Of these, 28 persons had permission to stay, and 87 were under orders to leave the country. The remainder continued the asylum application process.
The government effectively implemented laws and policies to provide stateless persons the opportunity to gain nationality on a nondiscriminatory basis. NOAS believed, however, the process was deficient because, while there is a well-defined process for stateless persons to gain nationality, it found the government’s process for being declared stateless to be ambiguous and difficult to achieve.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
A variety of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials often were cooperative and responsive to their views.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The country has ombudsmen for public administration (the parliamentary ombudsman), children, equality and discrimination (the equality and antidiscrimination ombudsman or LDO), and health-care patients. Parliament appoints the parliamentary ombudsman, while the government appoints the others. All ombudsmen enjoyed the government’s cooperation and operated without government interference. The parliamentary ombudsman and the LDO hear complaints against actions by government officials. Although the ombudsmen’s recommendations are not legally binding, authorities usually complied with them.
Parliament’s Standing Committee on Scrutiny and Constitutional Affairs reviews the reports of the parliamentary ombudsman, while the Standing Committee on Justice is responsible for matters relating to the judicial system, police, and the penal, civil, and criminal codes.
The Norwegian National Human Rights Institution (NIM) is an independent body funded by the parliament. NIM submits an annual report to parliament on human rights in the country. By advising the government, disseminating public information, promoting education and research on human rights, and facilitating cooperation with relevant public bodies, it makes recommendations to help ensure that the country’s international human rights obligations are fulfilled.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and the government generally enforced the law. The penalty for rape is up to 21 years in prison, depending on the severity of the assault, the age of the victim, and the circumstances in which the crime occurred. Most cases resulted in sentences of three years and four months in prison.
The law provides penalties of up to six years in prison for domestic violence and up to 21 years for aggravated rape. Violence against women, including spousal abuse, was a problem. The government generally enforced the law, although the foundation Oslo Crisis Center continued to criticize the conviction rate (approximately 10 percent) as too low.
The government had programs to prevent rape and domestic violence, and offices within the police districts offered counseling and support to victims. All police districts had a domestic violence coordinator. In March the government launched a three-year Action Plan against Rape outlining 33 specific measures to be taken, focusing on prevention, improvements of care and services to victims, and improvements to the judicial system.
Public and private organizations operated 47 government-funded shelters and managed five 24-hour crisis hotlines. Victims of domestic violence have a right to consult a lawyer free of charge before deciding whether to make a formal complaint. If the government initiates criminal proceedings, the victim is entitled to free assistance from a victim’s advocate. Victims may also qualify for a one-time payment from a government-sponsored fund.
In June the government released its Action Plan against Domestic Violence. The Ministry of Justice implemented the plan with specific responsibilities delegated to the Ministry of Children and Families, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry Elderly Care. The plan also engaged the Sami community and a range of NGO’s and research organizations as implementing partners.
Sexual Harassment: The law provides that “employees shall not be subjected to harassment or other unseemly behavior,” and the government effectively enforced this provision. Employers who violate the law are subject to fines or prison sentences of up to two years, depending on the seriousness of the offense. The costs and resources needed to bring such cases to court have been barriers to victims seeking redress in all but the most egregious cases. A new Antidiscrimination Tribunal became operational and assumed jurisdiction for such complaints from the LDO.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: Under the law public and private authorities must advance gender equality in all areas of society. The law mandates that 40 percent of the members of boards of directors of publicly listed companies be women. Although women have the same legal status as men, they experienced discrimination in terms of gaining employment as well as discrimination in the workplace itself (see section 7.d.). As of September, 78 of 300 (26 percent) complaints reported to the tribunal involved gender discrimination.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents; children born in the country do not automatically become citizens. All birth clinics in the country reported births to a central birth register and provided the parents with a birth certificate. The birth certificate does not confer citizenship.
Child Abuse: In 2018 the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth, and Family Affairs initiated 47,279 investigations of alleged child abuse and completed 48,194. By the end of 2018, the government’s Child Welfare Services assisted 39,043 children, of whom 30,175 received in-home assistance, while 8,868 were removed from their family home.
An independent children’s ombudsman office under the Ministry of Children and Families is responsible under the law for the protection of children and providing assistance and support services. If criminal proceedings are initiated, the victim is entitled to free assistance from a victim’s advocate.
In September the ECHR ruled that the government violated the European Convention on Human Rights when the Child Welfare Services allowed a woman’s son to be adopted without her consent. As of September the ECHR was reviewing 23 other cases against the Child Welfare Services.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum legal age for marriage in the country is 18 for both women and men.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Commercial sexual exploitation of children younger than 18 is illegal, both in the country and abroad when committed by a citizen of the country. In both cases the punishment is either a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years. Child pornography is also illegal and punishable by a fine or a prison sentence of up to three years. The government generally enforced the law. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data/reported-cases.html.
Approximately 1,400 Jews lived in the country, 780 of whom belonged to Jewish congregations. Jewish community leaders reported the public and government generally supported the community although they acknowledged incidents of anti-Semitism.
According to NGOs and research institutes, including the University of Oslo, the Institute for Social Research, and the Jewish community, hate speech on the internet against ethnic minorities and religious groups continued to be a problem. In 2018 several Jewish organizations filed criminal complaints for hate speech against rapper Kaveh Kholardi, who used the phrase “F****** Jews” during a concert, which was promptly condemned by the City of Oslo as well as the leader of the country’s Jewish community and the Israeli Ambassador. In March after a criminal investigation, the Prosecuting Authority decided not to prosecute Kholardi. The then director of public prosecutions, Tor-Aksel Busch, rejected an appeal to overrule the Oslo Police District’s decision, and reignited the controversy when as part of his decision he implied that Kholardi’s statement could be interpreted as legitimate criticism of the State of Israel as opposed to an anti-Semitic comment. Critics noted that, during the entirety of the incident, there was no mention of any specific Israeli policies or actions by Kholardi and the words “Israel” or “Israeli” were never used. One of the complainants, the group With Israel for Peace, noted that the decision not to prosecute was “alarming because [the Director of Public Prosecutions] finds ambiguity where there is none.” Subsequently the Prosecuting Authority recanted this portion of its decision but allowed the overall decision to reject the appeal to stand.
In June, Tore Tvedt, leader of the neo-Nazi organization Vigrid, was convicted of racism and hate speech after sending 1,300 emails to schools and day-care institutions in which he claimed that schools “brainwashed children into worshippers of Jews,” and referred to Jews as “reptiles” and “parasites” on his blog. Tvedt was sentenced to 60 days in prison.
In July the National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) published a cartoon that was criticized for being anti-Semitic. The cartoon depicted a man playing scrabble with an Orthodox rabbi who constructed the word “jodesvin” (“Jewish swine”) with his tiles. After heavy criticism, on July 26, the NRK decided to remove the cartoon from its website and issued a public apology.
The government continued to implement measures from its Action Plan against Anti-Semitism 2016-2020 and provided an additional two million krone ($230,000) in funding under the current budget. The action plan provided programmatic support and coordination towards integrating anti-Semitism education into all schools, supporting Jewish museums and cultural institutions, funding research on anti-Semitism and Jewish life, and public advocacy programs to combat anti-Semitism.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.
Persons with Disabilities
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities, and the government effectively enforced and implemented these provisions. The law mandates access to public buildings, information, and communications for persons with disabilities.
According to the Antidiscrimination Tribunal, as of September, 108 of the 300 (36 percent) discrimination complaints it received were based on disability.
During the year the government released a strategy to ensure equality for persons with disabilities. The 10-year strategy aims to reduce discrimination, increase access and opportunities to housing, transportation, employment and health care as well as participation in cultural and social activities.
Discrimination against immigrants, including asylum seekers and irregular migrants, and ethnic minorities remained a problem. Ethnic discrimination occurred in employment.
Racial profiling is against the law, but authorities did not keep records relating to the stop and search of members of vulnerable groups. NGOs such as the Norwegian Center against Racism continued to report complaints of police profiling of members of ethnic and racial minority groups, particularly young men. During the year the Antidiscrimination Tribunal received four cases of ethnic discrimination by the police or judiciary.
According to NGOs and research institutes, including the University of Oslo, the Institute for Social Research, and the Center against Racism, hate speech on the internet against ethnic minorities, continued to be a problem. The government continued to implement the national strategy against hate speech released in late 2016.
In addition to the Sami, five ethnically non-Norwegian groups with a long-standing attachment to the country have a special protected status under the law: Kvens/Norwegian Finns, Jews, Forest Finns, Roma, and Romani/Tater people (a distinct group of travelers who emigrated to Norway and Sweden in the 1500s).
There is no official registry of Sami in the country. As of January 2018, government statistics showed that 55,544 persons lived in the areas defined as “Sami,” in the northern part of the country. In addition to participating freely in the national political process, the Sami elect their own parliament, the Samediggi, which exercises certain administrative and financial powers according to the law. Members of the Sami parliament also represent their constituents in international fora and organizations such as the Arctic Council and the United Nations. Elections for the Sami parliament took place in 2017.
NGOs and Sami officials continued to express concern over Sami children’s lack of access to Sami language education due to a lack of qualified teachers.
The Sami remained concerned about high levels of domestic violence within Sami communities and a lack of cultural understanding and training by police and social welfare services which has rendered many domestic violence prevention, treatment, and criminal justice programs ineffective. Favoring a more Sami community-based approach that relies on increased recruiting of Sami to work in these programs the Sami community welcomed the invitation to play a significant role in developing and implementing the Action Plan against Domestic Violence released in June. The Sami have expressed concern about damage to their traditional reindeer grazing areas and migratory routes by land development and extractive industries. They have also objected to what they considered to be inadequate consultation by the government regarding restrictions on the maximum size of their herds.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, citizenship law, and access to government services such as health care. While violence motivated by discriminatory attitudes towards transgender persons is not considered a hate crime, crimes based on discriminatory attitudes towards sexual orientation can be treated as aggravated crimes.
According to NGOs and research institutes, including the University of Oslo, the Institute for Social Research, and FRI–The Organization for Sexual and Gender Diversity, hate speech on the internet against ethnic minorities, religious groups, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons continued to be a problem. The Institute for Social Research publicized a study that found that one in four members of the LGBTI community experienced some form of hate speech, compared with 10 percent of the general population.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Media and the Norwegian Center against Racism reported continued anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in society. In a video posted online by the group Stop Islamization of Norway (SIAN), Fanny “Anna” Braten, its deputy leader, stated that “Islam has no place in Norway and that all Qurans must be destroyed.” In February the Public Prosecutor indicted Braten and SIAN leader Lars Thorsen under hate crime legislation for leaflets handed out by the group at a SIAN event in June 2018 in Stovener and a speech in September 2018 in front of the parliament building. The leaflets and speech contained statements such as “good Muslims are notorious sexual predators,” asserting that all Muslims were sex offenders, killers, and a terrorist threat. During a subsequent trial in November, Thorsen was convicted and given a 30-day suspended jail sentence and fined 20,000 krone ($2,300). Braten was acquitted after Thorsen stated that he was the sole author of the leaflets and was the primary individual handing them out.
On August 10, Philip Manshaus allegedly killed his adopted Chinese stepsister and attempted to commit a mass shooting at the al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum, a neighboring municipality to Oslo. Manshaus entered the mosque between prayer services, so few people were present, and was overpowered by a 65-year-old member of the mosque. Police apprehended Manshaus, and authorities investigated him for terrorism and murder. The investigation revealed that he was active in online forums for white supremacists and inspired by the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15. The Manshaus incident was universally condemned by the prime minister and leaders of all political parties. Manshaus was being held in pretrial detention pending a full investigation by prosecutors. Police also seized Manshaus’s property pending the outcome of the investigation and probable trial.
On November 2, the Danish white supremist association Scandza Forum organized a conference in Oslo featuring several American and European speakers. Shortly before the event, the Police Security Service arrested white supremist author and publisher Greg Johnson under the Immigration Act on the grounds that he could influence others to commit violence. Police also arrested 28 counterprotestors who disobeyed police instructions and attempted to storm the conference. Johnson was detained and deported to Hungary two days after his arrest.
According to NGOs and research institutes, including the University of Oslo, the Institute for Social Research, and the Center against Racism, hate speech on the internet against religious groups continued to be a problem. In August the government announced that it would develop a five-year action plan to combat anti-Muslim sentiment and xenophobia. Discussions about the plan had begun earlier this year, but the shooting at a mosque in the Oslo suburbs solidified the decision and prompted a formal announcement by the prime minister in August.
Section 7. Worker Rights
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
The law provides for the right of workers, including migrant workers (those who have a work permit in the country), to form and join independent unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination and requires reinstatement of workers fired for union activity.
The right to strike excludes members of the military and senior civil servants. With the approval of parliament, the government may compel arbitration in any industrial sector if it determines that a strike threatens public safety. Trade unions criticized the government for intervening too quickly in labor disputes.
The government effectively enforced applicable laws. The penalties were sufficient to deter violations.
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits all forms of forced or compulsory labor, and the government effectively enforced laws against it. A maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment for violations of the law was sufficiently stringent to deter violations. In 2018 police received 95 reports of violations of the labor law and no reports of forced labor from the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority (NLIA).
Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at https://www.state.gov/trafficking-in-persons-report/.
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
Children between the ages of 13 and 15 may be employed up to 12 hours per week in light work that does not adversely affect their health, development, or schooling. Examples of light work include assistant work in offices or stores. Children younger than 15 need parental permission to work, and those older than 15 can work as part of vocational training, as long as they are supervised. Between the ages of 15 and 18, children not in school may work up to 40 hours per week and a maximum eight hours per day. The law limits work by children who remain in school to only those hours “not affecting schooling” without specific limits, but less than 40 hours per week. Child welfare laws explicitly protect children from exploitive labor practices. The government effectively enforced these laws, and both civil and criminal penalties were sufficient to deter violations.
While employers generally observed minimum age rules, there were reports that children were trafficked for forced labor (see section 7.b.). Children were subjected to forced begging and criminal activity, particularly drug smuggling and theft. Commercial sexual exploitation of children also occurred. There were also reports of children forced to work as unpaid domestic help.
d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation
The law prohibits discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The government effectively enforced the law and invoked penalties when violations were discovered.
Discrimination in employment and occupation occurred with respect to gender and ethnicity. The law provides that women and men engaged in the same activity shall receive equal wages for work of equal value. In 2018 women earned on average 13.8 percent less than men on a monthly basis, according to Statistics Norway, which also reported that 37 percent of women and 14.6 percent of men worked part time in 2017, the most recent year for which data were available.
Equally qualified immigrants sometimes had more difficulty finding employment than nonimmigrants. As of August the unemployment rate among immigrants was 5.2 percent, compared with 3.6 percent among nonimmigrants, according to Statistics Norway. African immigrants had the highest unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, followed by Asians at 5.9 percent, immigrants from eastern EU countries at 5.3 percent, and South and Central Americans at 5.1 percent.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
The law does not mandate an official minimum wage. Instead, minimum wages were set in collective bargaining agreements. Statistics Norway uses 60 percent of the median household income after tax for the relative poverty limit. In 2018, the most recent year for which data were available, 11.5 percent of the population had an income below the poverty limit.
The law provides for premium pay of 40 percent of salary for overtime and prohibits compulsory overtime in excess of 10 hours per week.
The law provides the same benefits for citizens and foreign workers with residency permits but forbids the employment of foreign workers who do not have residency permits. The law provides for safe and physically acceptable working conditions for all employed persons. The NLIA, in consultation with nongovernment experts, sets occupational safety and health standards. These standards are appropriate across all sectors of the industry in the country. The law requires enterprises with 50 or more workers to establish environment committees composed of management, workers, and health-care personnel. Enterprises with 10 or more workers must have safety delegates elected by their employees. Workers may remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment; authorities effectively protected employees in this situation.
The NLIA effectively enforced laws and standards regarding acceptable work conditions in the formal sector. The number of labor inspectors was sufficient to enforce compliance. The NLIA may close an enterprise immediately if the life or health of employees is in imminent danger and may report enterprises to police for serious breaches of the law. A serious violation may result in fines or, in the worst case, imprisonment. The penalties were sufficient to deter violations.