UN Committee against Torture presents concluding observations on Norway

The Committee recommends measures in regards of prolonged detention in police cells, high rates of prolonged isolation, and lack of appropriate psychiatric health care to prisoners with mental health problems.

In its Observations, the UN body recommends a range of measures to increase protection against torture or inhuman treatment in Norway.

Norway should consider incorporating all provisions of the Convention against Torture, as it has done with several other human rights conventions, “in order to allow it to be directly invoked in court”. This is – as with several other recommendations – a reiteration from previous concluding observations.

The Committee is concerned that persons deprived of their liberty in police detention facilities is not enjoying all fundamental legal safeguards from the outset of their detention, such has being informed about their rights, having access to a lawyer or free legal aid, and being brought before a judge within 48 hours of their apprehension.

The NGO Forum’s alternative report to the Committee, recommended the Committee to focus on prolonged detention in police cells, isolation in pretrial detention, and solitary confinement. These concerns are well reflected in the Committee’s concluding observations, which comprise a range of recommendations to reduce such practices.

Take all measures to ensure that prisoners with psychosocial disabilities and serious mental health problems receive adequate mental health care.

The UN Committee report

 

Norway is recommended to “implement effectively the revised guidelines enacted by the Government in March 2017 that lay down detailed criteria on the use of solitary confinement”, “reduce solitary confinement to situations that are strictly necessary” and “ensure that persons subjected to solitary confinement are attended to by medical staff on a daily basis.”

There is a specific recommendation that “insufficient building capacities and conditions and insufficient staff do not jeopardize the health and lives of persons deprived of their liberty.”

As in previous conclusions, the Committee recommends that Norway “take all measures to ensure that prisoners with psychosocial disabilities and serious mental health problems receive adequate mental health care.”

When it comes to coercive measures in psychiatric health care, the Committee also reiterates previous recommendations. The reiterations indicate Norway has not properly addressed issues pointed at during previous reporting cycles, such as the employment of coercive measures in psychiatric care that are not fully in compliance with human rights standards.

Violence against women is another recurrent theme that the Committee is concerned with, pointing to “ineffective or inappropriate investigations into rape cases, the low number of criminal convictions for rape and the high ratio of acquittals for rape compared with other violent crimes.”

Among recommended remedies are better training of the police, prosecutors and judges to deal effectively with such cases.

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Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal

Assisterende generalsekretærE-post: [email protected]Telefon: +47 95 21 03 07Twitter: @GunnarEkelveSly
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