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Human Right Course
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What are human rights?
The history of human rights
What right do we have?
The protection of Human Rights
Human rights in everyday life
Human Rights

Did you know

Did you know that everyone who works in the public sector - in schools, after school programmes, hospitals, prisons, child welfare services and other services - is supposed to respect human rights?




Norway is located in a peaceful part of the world and its authorities often stress that human rights should be respected. Nonetheless, one cannot take for granted that the authorities will always treat everyone with the respect human rights demand. People can also be treated in ways that violate their dignity and self-respect in well-functioning democracies as well.

Everyone who acts on behalf of the authorities is responsible for observing human rights. In Norway the state has transferred authority to county councils and local authorities, and these authorities therefore have to respect human rights. It is therefore important that people who work in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, child welfare services, psychiatric hospitals, the police, customs and excise, asylum reception centres, and schools know about human rights. These are people who have a statutory right to exercise authority over other people in certain situations.

Compared with other countries, ours is a rich country and can provide good services, and people are, in general, treated well by public institutions and services. There is also a high level of awareness with respect to the misuse of power and should such misuse occur the media often reports it. The vast majority of us is treated well and has no reason to complain.

Human rights in Norway are therefore perhaps particularly important for those of us who are "different", who are in a difficult situation and who stand out. It could be asylum seekers who are being cared for by the immigration authorities. It could be people with a different skin colour or who are homosexual who feel they are being discriminated against in the labour market or in clubs and restaurants, or in other contexts. It could be children and adults who come into contact with the child welfare services, homeless people, drug addicts and patients in psychiatric hospitals. It can be easier to perceive people who are "different" as more provocative than people who do not have such characteristics. This is precisely why they need the protection that human rights provide. It is often said that human rights namely protect the "right to be different".


- In 1999, the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, adopted a specific Human Rights Act which states that the European convention on human rights and the two UN conventions from 1966 shall be part of Norwegian law. Where the human rights conventions conflict with other sections of Norwegian law, human rights shall take precedence.

- In 2002 and in 2003, Norway was ranked as the best country to live in by the UN.

Fact box

- You can remain detained on remand in Norway for weeks and months without being sentenced. This practice has been criticised by the Council of Europe several times.

Did you know that the word "discriminate" comes from the Latin "discriminare" meaning to distinguish, to make a distinction? To discriminate means to treat differently, usually in the sense of treating someone less well than others. The word is most often used to describe unfair or unreasonable differential treatment of other individuals, ethnic groups, nationalities, religious communities, or the like based on emotional or traditional attitudes.

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