Intensified efforts and closer cooperation on human rights

Press release | Oct. 7, 2019 |  ‘Human rights are under considerable pressure. In response to this, we are increasing our support for human rights efforts by NOK 77 million in 2020,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

In 2020, the Government will give priority to promotion of women’s rights, respect for human rights defenders, freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, and democracy.

‘The links between human rights, peace, and sustainable development are becoming increasingly clear. Respect for human rights is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the promise to leave no one behind. This is an important reason why we are increasing our support for human rights to a total of NOK 825 million,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

The current allocation of NOK 165 million to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will be maintained in 2020. This is one of the largest contributions by a UN member state. It is a direct follow-up of our call for the UN’s human rights efforts to be strengthened. The four-year agreement that we entered into in 2018 is helping to ensure that all member states meet their comitments in the field of human rights.

Norway is collaborating with several other countries to defend international norms and strengthen implementation at country level. We must cooperate even more closely with both traditional and new partners, across regional divides, in the time ahead. This is one of the conclusions of the recent white paper on Norway’s role and interests in multilateral cooperation (Meld. St. 27 (2018-2019)).

Norway has a strong enagement in the efforts to protect human rights defenders, and this year we also won broad support for a UN resolution on the protection of environmental human rights defenders. This work will be continued in 2020. Our efforts to combat the death penalty are progressing – albeit slowly – and require close cooperation with many other countries and with civil society. In many countries, LGBTI people are being subjected to discrimination and violence. We will therefore continue our cooperation with civil society, the UN, and and a number countries to ensure that human rights apply to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

‘Promoting human rights has become harder and the challenges greater, not least in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. But if we get as many other actors as possible to work with us, we will be able to make a difference,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.

‘In our follow-up of the white paper on multilateral cooperation, we are engaging with new partners and strengthening our cooperation on the development of norms. We will monitor even more closely the activities we fund through the UN, to ensure that they achieve results at country level,’ she added.

In addition to being a high priority in foreign policy, the promotion of human rights is also a cross-cutting issue in all Norway’s development efforts.