January 26, Norway reply to Chair holocaust remembrance alliance

26 January 2017

"Mr Chair,

Combating prejudice and intolerance, as well as ensuring freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, is fundamental to my government. Efforts to combat antisemitism are part of the government’s general approach to combat discrimination, racism and group-focused intolerance.

We have a small Jewish community, and there have been no serious violent anti-Semitic incidents in Norway. Still, antisemitism seems to be on the rise. The government has therefore engaged the Jewish community, other civil society organisations, academics, media and relevant institutions in a discussion of how to prevent prejudice and discrimination against Jews. The result is a government action plan covering a broad range of topics. No less than six ministers have signed the action plan.

Allow me to mention a few points:

Preventing antisemitism in schools will be strengthened as part of the broader efforts to teach respect, mutual understanding, human rights and democracy. This includes more knowledge of Jewish culture and history, and training of teachers.

Support for Jewish museums and cultural institutions will contribute to better knowledge and understanding.

Registering hate crimes is a general priority for the police. Anti-Semitic hate crimes will now be specified in the statistics.

Surveys of attitudes towards Jews and other minorities will be conducted every five years. It is important to monitor changes in these attitudes.

The internet is an arena where many people both express and experience antisemitism, racism, harassment and prejudice. This action plan includes an initiative to monitor antisemitism expressed and spread on the internet.

The government will increase its support to the Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, as well as to other research institutions working on antisemitism and Jewish culture.

Mr Chair,

Norway will continue cooperating with our partners in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the Council of Europe and OSCE, in combating antisemitism. We highly value the work and expertise of ODIHR in combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Thank you, Mr Chair"