Statement by Ambassador Hans Brattskar at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council. Item 3 – Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on perons with disabilites. Delivered at 28 February 2020.
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Thank you, Chair.
On behalf of the Norwegian Government, we would like to express our appreciation for the report from your country visit to Norway.
We hope that you had an interesting and fruitful visit, and that the meetings with parliament, ministries, municipalities, NGOs and other stakeholders in Oslo, Tromsø and Karasjok were useful to your report.
The purpose of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.
The Norwegian government’s political platform shares the same vision. We want everyone to have the freedom to make their own choices. The Government works for equality and equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
We share your concern on geographical variations regarding accessibility and availability of services for people with disabilities. In response, we have initiated a project to improve the knowledge of the CRPD in Norwegian municipalities. The aim of the project is to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities at the local level.
Furthermore, you are right to stress the need for continued efforts to make our society accessible for all. When planning for new buildings, public spaces, trains, buses and terminals, we are committed to enforcing existing regulations and standards on accessibility. To strengthen these efforts, we are working on a new plan for universal design that will be effective from 2021.
As outlined in your preliminary report, we acknowledge that we still have a way to go before we achieve an equal and inclusive society. Persons with disabilities in Norway continue to face barriers to equal opportunities.
In 2018, the Government launched the new strategy "A Society for All" which applies for the period 2020 – 2030.
The strategy rests on the following four pillars:
- Developing universal solutions and special measures;
- Working for self-determination, participation, involvement and inclusion;
- Better organizational coordination at all levels;
- The focus areas of education, employment, health and care, and culture and leisure.
The Government has developed an Action Plan for the period 2020 – 2025 to implement the strategy. Eight ministries took part in developing the Action Plan, which contains 85 actions. It is a dynamic plan, and new measures that promote equality and participation will be included continuously. Revising the guardianship legislation is among the action points included in the Plan.
Both the Strategy and the Action Plan were developed in close collaboration with disabled peoples' organizations. We remain grateful for their valuable contributions.
Finally, we are pleased to share that the Government will put forward a White Paper to the Parliament on the human rights for persons with intellectual disabilities later this year.
In many areas, the trend is going in the right direction. However, we know there is still a gap between the goals and the reality many persons with disabilities experience in daily life.
We appreciate the important guidance your report presents as we continue to address these issues, and we look forward to conducting a thorough review of all your recommendations.