Head of state
King Harald V
Head of government
Jens Stoltenberg
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
4.9 million
Life expectancy
81 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f)
5/4 per 1,000

Asylum-seekers were forcibly returned to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation and to Iraq. Protection for women survivors of sexual violence remained inadequate.

Refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers

Despite serious concerns about inadequate asylum determination procedures and poor detention conditions in Greece, 277 asylum-seekers had been transferred there under the Dublin II Regulation by 30 September. In October, the immigration authorities suspended Dublin II transfers to Greece and started substantively examining these asylum applications.

Contrary to guidelines by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, 140 Iraqis were forcibly returned from Norway to Iraq, including on charter flights organized jointly with other European states.

In October, the Ministry of Justice invited NGO input into policy proposals being drafted to improve the situation of asylum-seeking children. In the same month, the Minister of Justice announced planned improvements to the asylum procedure and reception conditions for asylum-seeking families with children. In December, the Directorate of Immigration announced the closure of places for up to 292 asylum-seeking children in various reception centres.

In April, the government signed a three-party agreement with Afghan authorities and UNHCR on the return of asylum-seekers to Afghanistan, including plans for a reception centre for asylum-seeking children returned to Afghanistan.

  • In August, a Syrian Kurd rejected asylum-seeker, Abd al-Karim Hussein, was forcibly returned to Syria, where he was held in incommunicado detention for 15 days, during which time he said he was tortured. He was released without charge and subsequently fled Syria.
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Violence against women

Protection and access to justice for survivors of rape and other sexual violence remained inadequate in law and practice. The definition of rape in the General Civil Penal Code continued to link rape with the use or threat of physical violence by the perpetrator. Prosecution and conviction rates for rape remained low and national statistics on rape were not maintained.

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International justice

In March, the Borgarting Court of Appeal found Mirsad Repak, a naturalized Norwegian citizen who served in the Croatian Defence Forces, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 1992 at Dretelj detention camp, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In December, the Supreme Court quashed the Court of Appeal’s decision to convict Mirsad Repak on charges related to war crimes and crimes against humanity, on the basis that these crimes were not part of the Norwegian Penal Code at the time they were committed. The Supreme Court’s decision on the charge of “deprivation of liberty” was expected in 2011.

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Legal, constitutional or institutional developments

By the end of the year, Norway had not signed the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and continued to delay ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

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Human rights by region

World regions Midde East and North Africa Asia Pacific Europe and Central Asia Africa Americas


A number of countries in Africa celebrated the 50th anniversary of their independence during the year while others prep ...


In the Americas many human rights have been recognized in law, if not always in practice, over the past 50 years. Whi ...

Asia Pacific

In a region with almost two thirds of the world’s population, stretching a third of the way around the planet, ...

Europe & Central Asia

The right to truth and justice, and the determination of victims and their relatives to achieve this how ...

Middle East and North Africa

2010 dawned with Yemen an unusual focus of international attention following an alleged terrorist ...

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