Report | Date: 05/03/2002 | Ministry of Culture and Equality
Originally published by: Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs
European charter for regional or minority languages
Second periodical report
This second periodical report describes the implementation of the provisions of the European Charter for regional or minority languages in Norway. The languages considered as regional or minority languages in Norway covered by the Charter are the Sami language, the Kven/Finnish language, Romanes and Romani.
Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The Storting is Norway’s national assembly, and under parliamentary rule the majority in the Storting determines which party or coalition of parties will have the power of Government. The present government has 19 members, prime minister and 18 ministers, who head 17 ministries.
The country is divided into 19 counties and 435 municipalities.
The Sámediggi (the Sami Parliament) was established in 1989 pursuant to Chapter 2 of the Sami Act. The business of the Sámediggi is any matter which in the view of the Sámediggi particularly affects the Sami people. The Sámediggi may on its own initiative raise and pronounce an opinion on any matter coming within the scope of its business.
Norway covers an area of 385 155 sq. km, including Svalbard and Jan Mayen territories, and as of 1 January 2001 the population figure was 4 504 000. No reliable population census of the Sami people has been taken in either of the Nordic countries. Based on the definitions set out in the Norwegian Sami Act, it is estimated that the total Sami population numbers somewhere between 50 000 and 100 000. The majority, at least 70%, lives in Norway.
There are no accurate estimates of the number of inhabitants belonging to national minorities in Norway, since no statistics of ethnic origin are kept. A possible estimate is that there are currently around 10 000-15 000 Kven, 1 500-2 000 Jews, a few hundred Skogfinn, 2 000-3 000 Romani people/Travellers and 300-400 Roma/Gypsies. It must be emphasized that the figures are imprecise and reflect the number of people who might conceivably regard themselves as belonging to the minority group, not the number of those who speak the language fluently.
Norway has two official languages, Norwegian and the Sami language. Norwegian is the language spoken by the majority of the people, while the Sami language is the language of the indigenous Sami population. The Sami language is considered a regional language, and has been granted protection under Part II and Part III of the Charter. The Sami language in Norway constitutes four major languages, Northern Sami, Southern Sami, Lule Sami and Eastern Sami, which exhibit varying degrees of similarities.
The majority of the Sami population speaks the Northern Sami language. The Sami are a North European ethnic group, the indigenous population of the vast open areas of the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as some of the northwestern districts of Russia. It is believed that approximately 25 000 people in Norway speak the Sami language, cf. a language utilization survey that was completed by the Sami Language Council in October 2000. 17 per cent of the respondents declared themselves to be Sami-speaking, which in this context was defined as being able to understand Sami well enough to follow along in a conversation conducted in Sami.
In part II of this report, it is reported on the status of the Southern Sami and Lule Sami languages. The Sámediggi has contributed to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. Points 3 and 4 of the report discuss the current status of the Southern Sami and Lule Sami languages, respectively. The Sámediggi indicates in this report where the speakers of Southern Sami and Lule Sami languages reside. The speakers of the Northern Sami language mainly reside in Finnmark and Troms counties.
The Kven/Finnish language is considered a minority language in Norway, and has been granted protection under Part II of the Charter.
The settlement and history of the Kven in Norway are part of an extensive process of colonization by Finnish peasants, almost in the form of a mass exodus from the old agricultural communities of Finland and northern Sweden. This wave of emigration continued for several hundred years, from the 16th century up until the first half of the 19th century. This was followed, later in the 1800s, by modern labour migration on a larger scale.
Kven/Finnish is used in Troms and Finnmark, the two northernmost counties of Norway. The estimates of the number of speakers of Kven/Finnish vary from 2 000 to 8 000, depending on the criteria and methods used. The Norwegian Association of Kvens has presented its views on this matter in a letter to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2.
Romanes is considered a non-territorial minority language in Norway, and has been granted protection under Part II of the Charter.
Romanes is the language of the Roma ("Gypsy") minority in Norway. Approximately 400 people have lived in Norway during the last decades, mainly in the Oslo area. All of these are assumed to have Romanes as their mother tongue. During the last ten years some Roma have come to Norway as refugees from Bosnia and Kosovo. The numbers of these are not known, since there is no registration of language affiliation or ethnic origin in Norway (except for the register of Sami electors).
Romani is considered a non-territorial minority language in Norway, and has been granted protection under Part II of the Charter.
Romani is the language of the Romani people (the so-called "taters" / "travellers"). This group has lived in Norway for several centuries. The number of speakers of Romani has been estimated to some hundreds to some thousands.
9. Recent statements by the Government regarding its policy concerning the protection of regional or minority languages
On 8 December 2000 the Government presented a report to the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) on its policy in respect of national minorities (Report No. 15 (2000-2001) to the Storting on National Minorities in Norway). The report deals with policy in respect of Jews, Kven, Roma/Gypsies, the Romani people/Travellers and Skogfinn. The report discusses ways of ensuring equal conditions for participation in society and the preservation of language, culture and cultural identity, and describes official plans for further work in this field.
The Government presented a separate report to the Storting on Sami policy 31 August 2001. This report also discusses the situation of the Sami language. The Storting has not yet debated the report, and as a result of the change of government in October 2001, there are plans to present an additional report on Sami policy to the Storting this spring.
- Article 110 a of the Constitution of Norway
- Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to Place Names, Regulations of 5 July 1991 No. 456 laid down pursuant to section 12 of the Act
- Act of 12 June 1987 No. 56 relating to the Samediggi (the Sami parliament) and other Sami legal matters (the Sami Act), Chapter 3 concerning the Sami language, Regulations of 30 January 1992 No. 79 regarding the language provisions of the Sami Act, laid down pursuant to sections 3-2, 3-3, 3-7, 3-10 and 3-12 of the Sami Act, Regulations of 31 March 1992 No. 204 laid down pursuant to section 3-8 of the Sami Act
- Act of 17 July 1998 No. 61 relating to education, Regulations of 28 June 1999 No. 722 laid down pursuant to section 2-7, 6-2 and 6-3 of the Act
Copies of these acts and regulations are annexed to the report, cf. enclosure no. 3-11. The regulations and the Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to Place Names are not available in English. The Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to Place Names has not yet been translated into English due to coming amendments to the act and its appurtenant regulations.
2. Bodies or organisations which further the protection and development of regional or minority languages
The Sami language
The Sami Language Council was established pursuant to Chapter 3 section 12 of the Sami Act, and its tasks were set out in the provisions concerning the Sami language laid down in the Act. In connection with the restructuring of the Sámediggi, a decision was taken (case number 23/00) to discontinue the Sami Language Council and replace it by a new Sami Language Board consisting of five members. The former Language Council administration was integrated into the administration of the Sámediggi as a new Department of Language.
The Ministry of Cultural and Church Affairs is preparing amendments to the Sami Act section 3-12 and its appurtenant regulations.
Department of Language
The Kven/Finnish language
The Norwegian Association of Kvens
Strandvegen 144 b
The Roma in Oslo:
International Romani Unions representative in Norway:
Kjelsåsveien 28 F
v/ Egil Kanestrøm
v/ Anne-Jorunn Merkesvik
Romani Interesse Organisasjon
v/ Roger Rydberg
Lachmanns v. 24
The preparation of Norway’s second periodical report has been co-ordinated by the Ministry of Cultural and Church Affairs based on reports from the relevant Ministries concerning their field of responsibility. In a letter dated 9 August 2001 the Ministry of Cultural Affairs invited the Samediggi and representatives of the national minorities to present their view on the situation for their languages in connection with the preparation of this report.
The report of the Committee of Experts and the Norwegian authorities’ comments on proposed recommendations and observations made by the Committee of Experts were distributed to the Samediggi and representatives of the national minorities in a letter from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs dated 30 November 2001.
4. Measures to promote a broader knowledge of the rights and duties deriving from the implementation of the Charter’s provisions in Norwegian law
The Sami Parliament was informed about the ratification of the Charter in a letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 1 October 1993. Associations and representatives of the different minorities and the authorities concerned have received an information letter in July 2000 with a copy of the Charter in Norwegian.
The Norwegian authorities have published a brochure in Sami and Norwegian on the language provisions of the Sami Act.
In 1999 a conference was held at The Glomdal Museum where representatives of the authorities and the different minorities participated. The Charter was one of the topics that were discussed at this conference.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published in 1999 a brochure called "Focus on Human Dignity; Some aspects of the Norwegian Plan of Action for Human Rights White Paper No. 21 (1999-2000)" which mentions the Charter. This brochure was published both in English and Sami in addition to Norwegian.
Norway’s initial report was distributed to the different ministries, the Samediggi and representatives of the national minorities in August 2001 for use in the preparation of Norway’s second periodical report. The Norwegian authorities will make this report public in accordance with article 15, paragraph 2 of the Charter.
5. Measures taken to implement the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers and comments on the observations made by the Committee of Experts in their report
The Committee of Ministers adopted its recommendations based on the report by the Committee of Experts with respect to the application of the Charter by Norway at their meeting 21 November 2001. Given the short period of time between the adoption of the recommendations and the time for the submission of Norway’s second periodical report, the Norwegian authorities are not at this time in a position to report on measures taken to implement the recommendations.
Some of the recommendations are identical with the observations made by the Committee of Experts in their report. In the following, we will comment on the Committee of Experts’ observations.
- The Committee encourages the Norwegian authorities to consult
with the representatives of the users of the Romani and Romanes
languages, in order to establish whether the users of these
languages are interested in special protection and/or promotion.
As part of the preparations for the Report to the Storting no. 15 (2000-2001) on national minorities, the Norwegian authorities consulted representatives of the users of the Romani and Romanes languages in order to establish whether the users of these languages wanted special protection and/or promotion.
The users of Romanes did not want an official policy for their language.
The users of Romani pointed out that their language is endangered and expressed concern over its future. However, they also emphasized their wish to keep study of the Romani language within their group, without exposing it to the scrutiny of linguistic researchers or teachers from the majority population. One Romani NGO has received some initial funding from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development to develop teaching materials for Romani.
- The Committee encourages the Norwegian authorities to
contribute to the development of links between the users of the
different regional or minority languages.
We refer to our comments on the report adopted by the Committee of Experts on 1 June 2001. We would like to add that the Government has discussed this issue on a informal basis with representatives of the various NGOs. Meetings were held in 1999 and 2001 which were attended by representatives of the various national minorities, and there are plans to hold similar meetings either annually or every other year.
- Yiddish: The Committee wishes however to bring this situation
to the attention of the Norwegian authorities, giving them the
possibility to return to this issue in later periodical reports.
Traditionally, the Jewish minority in Norway spoke Yiddish. As far as we know, this language is only understood by a small number of elderly people in Norway today. A few hundred members of the Jewish community in Norway speak Modern Hebrew. Most members of the Jewish community in Norway use Norwegian as their primary language or they are bilingual. Based on this information given to the authorities by Det Mosaiske Trossamfunn (the Jewish Community in Oslo), we will not at this time extend the Charter’s protection to Yiddish. As a part of the preparation of this report, the Jewish Community in Oslo has submitted some additional information regarding the status of Yiddish in Norway, cf. enclosure no. 12.
- The Committee encourages the Norwegian authorities to clarify
their position as concerns the Kven/Finnish language in
consultation with the users of this language.
The term "Kven" is used by Norwegian authorities to refer to the spoken language of the Kvens, i.e. Kven dialects traditionally used in Northern Norway. There is no agreement among the Kvens as to whether this language should be referred to as "Kven" or "Finnish", and the Norwegian Government has chosen the more neutral term "Kven/Finnish".
Moreover, neither the Kvens themselves nor linguistic experts seem able to agree as to whether Kven is a separate language or a variation of Finnish. The number of Kvens who regard Kven as a separate language seems to be growing, but this is a relatively recent development. Until 1997, the language spoken by Kvens was referred to as Finnish by Ruijan Kveeniliitto (The Norwegian Association of Kvens). There is currently a discussion going on among the language users about whether Kven language in Norway and Meän Kieli or Tornedalian in Sweden should be considered as one language, and consequently, whether Kven should be written in the Meän Kieli standard used in Northern Sweden.
It is the position of the Norwegian Government that, in principle, the users of the language themselves are entitled to clarify whether their language is to be regarded as a separate language or a dialect. As the Kvens are still discussing this matter, it would be inappropriate for the Government to take a clear stance at this time. The Government has chosen to support activities and practices that may reinforce and develop Kven as a separate language. However, in the view of the Government it is still too early to consider introducing a separate written standard for Kven in the public schools.
This argument was put forth by Norway when the Committee of Ministers discussed the report adopted by the Committee of Experts on Norway’s first periodical report at their meeting on 21 November 2001. The Committee of Ministers has recommended that the Norwegian authorities clarify the status of the Kven language, and we will therefore give careful consideration to this question.
The Norwegian Association of Kvens has presented its views on this matter in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs would like to clarify that the Association received information about the Charter at the Conference in Elverum in 1999. The organization was also informed of developments regarding the Charter in an letter dated 3 June 2000 circulated by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
- The Committee: In the territory where part III of the Charter
is applied, only Northern Sami is traditionally used. Lule and
Southern Sami will consequently be dealt with as Part II languages.
In the instrument of ratification, Norway granted protection under Part III of the Charter to the Sami language. The Sami language in Norway constitutes four major languages, Northern Sami, Southern Sami, Lule Sami and Eastern Sami, which exhibit varying degrees of similarity. The majority of the Sami population speaks the Northern Sami language. Southern Sami and Lule Sami are both minority languages that have been formally granted protection under Part III of the Charter, but since most of the Articles will only be applied in areas where the number of residents using the languages justifies the measures, it is understood that the Committee of Experts finds it appropriate to deal with Southern Sami and Lule Sami as languages under Part II.
- The Committee encourages the Norwegian authorities to elaborate on the situation for the Lule and Southern Sami languages in the next periodical report.
The Southern Sami Language
In Norway, the Southern Sami area extends from the Saltfjell Mountains in the north to Engerdal municipality in Hedmark County in the south. Administratively speaking, this area extends into four different counties and 70 municipalities, and is divided into three different reindeer herding districts. The Sami community is widely dispersed. The livelihoods of most of the Sami families in the area are linked to reindeer husbandry. According to reindeer husbandry statistics for 1999, there were 110 reindeer-herding operations in the Southern Sami area in the Norwegian sector. Duoddji (Sami handicrafts and applied art) also plays a central role in affirming Sami culture and identity. The Southern Sami people have traditionally enjoyed close ties regardless of whether they have lived on the Norwegian or Swedish sides of the border.
Today, there are two Sami cultural institutions in the Southern Sami area: Saemien Sijte in Snåsa and Sijti Jarnge in Hattfjelldal. NRK Sámi Radio has a local office in Snåsa and sends two broadcasts in Southern Sami each week.
Vast distances and small linguistic communities have made it difficult to sustain and develop the Southern Sami language. A few child-care facilities in Hattfjelldal, Snåsa, Elgå, Brekken and the Røros area have established language motivation programmes. There is a challenge involved in providing suitable tuition in Southern Sami. The language programmes at primary and lower secondary level are primarily concentrated at the two Sami schools in Hattfjelldal and Snåsa. At the upper secondary level, Mosjøen Upper Secondary School is in charge of tuition in Southern Sami. In addition, the Nord-Trøndelag University College is primarily responsible for providing an educational programme in Southern Sami language and culture. The Nesna University College has helped to establish a forum for Southern Sami language and culture. The secretariat for the forum is located at Mosjøen Upper Secondary School. There are very few textbooks available in Southern Sami.
Written and spoken Southern Sami are very different from the other Sami languages. The Sámediggi (Sami parliament) has drawn up a Southern Sami language plan (1993) which states that linguistic efforts will be strengthened and further developed in all language regions. The Sámediggi proposes that Sami language centres be established in the long term in the Rana and Røros areas. The Sámediggi budget for 2001 allocated funding for a Southern Sami language specialist position located at a branch office of the Sámediggi in Snåsa.
The Sámediggi has submitted a contribution to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. Points 3 and 4 of the report discuss the current status of the Southern Sami and Lule Sami languages, respectively. Please see point 5.2 on the revitalization of the Sami language as well.
The Lule Sami
The central part of the Lule Sami area is located in Nord-Salten, and consists of the municipalities Tysfjord, Hamarøy and Sørfold. The Lule Sami people on both the Norwegian and Swedish sides of the border speak the same language, Lule Sami.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, the living situation for the Lule Sami living in the border area towards Sweden became very difficult. The people were forced to move out towards the coast. The families that settled in the inner fjord areas held onto their language and cultural traditions to a greater degree than those living in the outer parts of Salten and Ofoten, where the population became increasingly assimilated into Norwegian society in the latter part of the 19th century. Only a few words and place names still reveal an origin in the "coastal" Sami dialect. Today, the Lule Sami population of Norway and Sweden combined is estimated to be somewhere between two and three thousand.
In Nord-Salten, the Sami people have traditionally earned their livelihoods as fishermen.
The Lule Sami language (julevsámegiella) is used in the Norwegian sector in Ballangen, Tysfjord, Hamarøy and Folda, as well as in Jokkmokk and the southern portion of Gällivare in the Swedish sector. There have been few textbooks available in Lule Sami, and almost no teachers of the language. In 1983 the College of Teacher Education in Bodø introduced a course in Lule Sami. In addition, a few primary and lower secondary schools and Hamarøy Upper Secondary School offer tuition in the language. The Sámediggi has a language expert in Lule Sami working in Drag in Tysfjord.
Each Ministry is responsible for measures concerning national minorities within its respective sphere. Below follows a survey of the different measures taken by the Government to support minority languages and ensure official recognition of these languages pursuant to Article 7.
In 2001, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development granted financial support to the following language measures:
- NOK 50 000 to Stiftelsen Roma (Romani NGO) for compilation of a book for children in Romani/Norwegian;
- NOK 60 000 to Stiftelsen Roma for compilation of education materials in Romani;
- NOK 20 000 for implementation of a Finnish/Kven language and culture camp for children and youngsters in Nordreisa, Troms;
- NOK 20 000 for data collection and publication of Kven personal names – Nordreisa municipality;
- NOK 55 000 for a Nordic newspaper and publishing cooperation in Kven/Finnish/Meänkieli - Ruija Forlag (a Kven publisher);
- NOK 2 596 000 to the Samediggi for efforts to strengthen the Sami language in the Southern Sami and Lule Sami areas, Ofoten and Sør-Troms and in coastal and fjord areas.
With reference to Article 7 paragraph 1 sub-paragraph a, the Ministry of Labour and Government Administration is drafting legislation regarding the establishment of a bilingual official name for Finnmark County. The new name will probably be "Finnmark-Finnmarkku" (hyphenated names in Norwegian and Sami) with compulsory usage in all official contexts. The proposal is intended to support and legitimate the use of the Sami language.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has implemented a number of measures to support the Kven/Finnish, Romanes, and Romani languages as part of an overall effort to acknowledge these languages as an expression of cultural wealth. Measures taken with regard to cultural activities and facilities for the Sami people, will be presented later in this report, cf. Article 12.
The Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs provides support to projects involving the conservation of Norwegian cultural heritage or efforts to make this heritage accessible to as many people as possible. Both intramuseal projects and independent initiatives are eligible to apply for such funding. The cultural heritage of the national minorities is afforded the same status as the ethnic Norwegian cultural heritage. Several projects relating to national minorities have been allocated support or are currently under consideration. A project to collect traditional Kven cultural material initiated by the Norwegian Association of Kvens has received such funding. The Association has presented its views on this matter in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2.
The Kvæntunet Centre is a centre for Kven language and culture in Porsanger municipality in Finnmark County. This centre is important because it is situated in a local community where the Kven language and culture are still alive. The purpose of the centre is to help to revitalize the Kven language. In general the purpose of Kvæntunet is to document, rebuild and convey Kven tradition and culture to future generations. The centre also aims to try to make Kven culture more visible within Norwegian society. There are plans to expand the centre to include another building that will contain offices, archives, a lecture and conference hall and exhibition facilities. The Norwegian Association of Kvens has presented its views on the plans for this centre in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2.
In 2000, the Vadsø Museum – Ruija Kvænmuseum received funding from the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs for a video documentary project called "The Kven People in Southern-Varanger."
There are plans to establish a Kven Competence and Documentation Centre in Sør-Varanger and a Kven Cultural Centre in Nordreisa. The municipality of Nordreisa has received funding from the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs for this project. In 1999 the Council supported a project involving the collection of data for and publication of a booklet on Kven family names from Nordreisa.
The Glomdal Museum in Elverum is working on a documentation and information project regarding Traveller culture in Norway (Romani). Both the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs have allocated funding for this project.
The main purpose of the foundation in memory of Maria and V. Børresen /The Levanger Museums is to pass on the Traveller’s culture. The Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs made a financial contribution in connection with the purchase of an old Traveller estate, "Solheim".
The Association of Norwegian Museums has conducted a major project, "Document 2000", which is partly focused on the childhood, adolescence and sex roles patterns among the Travellers.
The Travellers have received state support to compile and publish a Norwegian-Romani dictionary. These efforts have been carried out by the Travellers themselves, because many members of the Romani-speaking population are unwilling to subject their language to linguistic scrutiny by scholars from the majority population. The dictionary will therefore only be available to members of the Traveller population.
The Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs has given financial support to author Thor Gotaas, enabling him to publish two books about the Travellers.
Section 3, second paragraph of the Act relating to place names stipulates that Sami and Finnish names commonly used by the local population shall be included by the public authorities on maps, signs, in registers etc. In accordance with this, maps with Finnish and Sami place names have been published and road signs with Kven/Finnish place names have been erected in parts of Northern Norway. The Norwegian Association of Kvens has commented on the use of Kven/Finnish place names in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs would like to stress that both the Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to place names and the appurtenant regulations are undergoing amendment. The Ministry is now considering a report that will provide the basis for draft amendments.
Government support has been allocated to a project to collect Kven/Finnish family names in Nordreisa. This information has now been published in a booklet.
The Aust-Finnmark County Library is nationally responsible for Finnish library services, and has received government support since 1984. The Norwegian Association of Kvens has commented on the Finnish library services in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2.
Since 1999 a Rom music festival has been held each year in Oslo. This is primarily a music festival aimed at promoting the Rom culture. The festival receives funding from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs.
In 1999 the Norwegian Council for Cultural Affairs provided funding for a conference called "The Travellers and their Music" held in Gol on 13-14 February. In 2001 the Council supported the Ethnic Music Club’s production of a documentary phonogram about the Romani culture in Norway.
In the period from 1998 to 2000 the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs implemented a programme called "Art and the Multicultural Society." This programme was designed to promote multicultural initiatives within national cultural institutions and institutions at the local and regional level, as well as to encourage actions to strengthen the position of artists with minority backgrounds in cultural circles and support artistic exchange.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has established a support scheme for artists. Artists working in the various genres can apply for grants (and scholarships) pursuant to regulations issued by the Ministry.
NRK Troms (a regional office of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) sends a 12 minute radio broadcast in the Kven language weekly. The broadcast mainly features news, cultural reports and interviews.
The Kven newspaper Ruijan Kaiku was established in 1995, and has received government support since its founding. In 2001, allocations to the newspaper were increased by NOK 100 000 to a total of NOK 350 000.
The Norwegian Association of Kvens has presented its views on the Kven-language media activities in a letter submitted to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in connection with the preparation of this report, cf. enclosure no. 2.
Measures implemented for the Sami people with regard to media activities will be presented later in this report, cf. Article 11 of the Charter.
Health and Social Services:
The Government issued a plan of action for health and social services vis-à-vis the Sami population on 30 August 2001, cf. enclosure no. 13. One of the aims of this action plan is to establish a Sami language information service for users and personnel working in the health and social services sector. The Sámediggi will be responsible for the administration of this service, although the time frame for implementation has not yet been determined.
Statutory right to Finnish tuition in primary and lower secondary education:
Chapter 2 section 7 of the Education Act of 17 July 1998 provides a statutory right to tuition in Finnish as a second language provided that such tuition is requested by at least three pupils of Kven-Finnish heritage in attendance at a primary and lower secondary education school in the counties of Troms and Finnmark.
The syllabus for Finnish as a second language is included in the ordinary curriculum for the 10-year compulsory school in Norway. As far as upper secondary education is concerned, syllabi have been developed for Finnish as a second language, respectively defined as B and C-languages.
A special grant system has been established for Finnish tuition in primary and lower secondary schools with the aim of enabling local education authorities in the counties of Troms and Finnmark to offer Finnish tuition as a second language to pupils of Kven-Finnish heritage, and as a means of improving the proficiency of the teaching staff in this language.
Statutory right to tuition in the pupils' mother tongue:
Pursuant to Chapter 2 section 8 of the Education Act, the Ministry may adopt regulations concerning the provision of special tuition to pupils belonging to language minorities. According to Section 24 first paragraph of the regulation pursuant to the Education Act, the municipalities shall provide necessary mother tongue instruction, bilingual teaching and specially adapted instruction in Norwegian to pupils in primary and lower secondary education with another mother tongue than Norwegian and Sami, until they have acquired sufficient knowledge of Norwegian to follow the ordinary teaching programmes at the school.
Educational provisions to pupils belonging to the Romani and Romanes language groups:
One of the primary and lower secondary schools in Oslo has participated in a Comenius project aimed at improving the school's relations with parents of children with a Rom background and developing teaching programmes likely to make school more attractive for such children. The project has been financed over the European Union's Socrates Programme, the Ministry of Education and Research and the City of Oslo.
The Ministry is investigating to which extent ICT technologies combined with improved relations between the school and the parents may be used to meet the educational needs of children with a Rom or Romani background, whose families spend parts of the year travelling.
The Lule Sami and Southern Sami languages are protected under Part II of the Charter. These languages are considered to be two distinct languages, and they are spoken in different regions of the country. Lule Sami is mainly used in the county of Nordland, and Southern Sami is used in various parts of Central Norway. As regards the regional or minority languages covered by Part II of the Charter, courses at higher education level are offered as follows:
Bodø University College
Two courses of one semester's duration each, aimed at qualifying the students to provide tuition in Lule Sami to pupils in primary and lower secondary schools. These courses are offered both as part of teacher training and as a separate subject.
The University of Tromsø
Undergraduate courses of three semesters' duration and courses at graduate level (Master's degree).
Nord-Trøndelag University College
Two courses of one semester's duration each, both as part of teacher training and as a separate subject.
The University of Tromsø
A one-semester course that may be extended with one additional semester, aimed at teachers of Kven/Finnish language as a second language. The course includes an introduction to the literature, culture and history of the Kven/Finnish group.
The University of Tromsø
Undergraduate courses of two and three semesters' duration and courses at graduate level (Master's degree).
The University of Oslo
Undergraduate courses of two and three semesters' duration and courses at graduate level (Master's degree).
Finnmark University College
Courses of two and three semesters' duration, both as a separate subject and as part of teacher training.
According to the circular regarding the government grant scheme for national minorities, applications may be submitted for support to projects designed to create contacts and cooperation between national minorities across national frontiers. In 2000, the authorities provided funding for the following projects for this purpose: The International Romani Union’s meeting on Roma and Migration in Oslo in May 2000, the Norwegian Kven Foundation’s project "Cooperation between National Minorities in the Barents Region", and the participation of representatives of Norwegian Rom in the Czech Republic’s annual Roma conference, in International Roma Day in Kosovo in April 2000, in the OSCE’s Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues (CPRSI) and in a Roma festival in Scotland in autumn 2000. In 2001, the authorities provided funding for the Norwegian Kven Foundation’s pilot project "Nordic Cooperation on Kven newspapers and publications".
The Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs provides funding for bilingual measures for child-care facilities with children from linguistic and cultural minorities. This funding is intended to enable municipal and private child-care facilities to provide a satisfactory and developmentally beneficial programme for these children. Such activities include helping children to understand and make themselves understood to the adults and other children at the facility, as well as bridging the differences between the cultures of children with minority language backgrounds and children with an ethnic Norwegian background. Children belonging to national minorities are also encompassed by this scheme.
Since the mid-1980s, the Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs has administered a funding scheme earmarked specifically for Sami child-care facilities. This scheme is designed to offset the extra expenses incurred by such facilities in connection with efforts to further develop the Sami language and culture. This funding is utilized for activities such as language tuition for the children, translation and procurement of educational materials.
As from 1 January 2001, the administration of this funding scheme was transferred to the Sámediggi.
In 2000 there were 49 Sami child-care facilities, encompassing a total of close to 1000 children of Sami heritage, that received funding under this scheme. Sami child-care facilities have been established in Finnmark, Troms, Nordland, Sør-Trøndelag, Hedmark and Oslo.
The Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs and the Sámediggi conduct regular discussions regarding the measures needed to deal with the challenges faced by Sami child-care facilities. The Sámediggi will cooperate closely with the Ministry in the three-year project initiated in 2001 to enhance the quality of the activities offered in Sami child-care facilities. In particular there is a need to focus efforts at the municipal level and on recruiting and keeping trained Sami educational personnel on the child-care facility staffs.
Since 1996 the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has provided special grants to municipalities that incur extra expenses in connection with bilingual Sami-Norwegian primary school programmes.
The right to Sami tuition is regulated in Chapter 6 section 2 of the Education Act. In Sami districts all children at the primary and lower secondary level have the right to receive tuition both in Sami and through the medium of Sami.
Outside Sami districts, if at least ten pupils in a municipality wish to receive tuition in and through the medium of Sami, they have the right to such education as long as there remain at least six pupils in the group.
Outside Sami districts, Sami children at the primary school level have the right to receive Sami tuition. The Ministry may issue regulations concerning alternative forms of such tuition when it cannot be provided by teachers at the school attended by the children.
From the eighth class level, pupils decide themselves whether they will receive Sami tuition pursuant to the first, second and fifth paragraph of Chapter 6 section 2 of the Education Act.
Chapter 6 section 3 of the Education Act contains provisions related to Sami upper secondary education. According to this Sami pupils in upper secondary education have the right to receive Sami tuition. The Ministry of Education and Research may issue regulations concerning alternative forms of such tuition when it cannot be provided by teachers at the school attended by the pupils.
The Ministry may also issue regulations stipulating that certain schools, courses or classes shall provide tuition in or through the medium of Sami or in specific Sami subjects in upper secondary education. The county authority may also elect to offer such tuition.
The content of the tuition is regulated in Chapter 6 section 4 of the Education Act. According to this provision, regulations concerning study programmes pursuant to Chapter 2 section 3 and Chapter 3 section 4 of the Education Act shall require the provision of tuition concerning the Sami people and language, culture and civic life in conjunction with other subjects. The Sámediggi issues regulations concerning the content of such education, according to a framework laid down by the Ministry.
The Sámediggi issues regulations concerning study programmes for tuition in the Sami language in the primary and lower secondary school and in the upper secondary school, and concerning study programmes for specific Sami subjects in the upper secondary school. The regulations must lie within the scope and allocation of resources laid down by the Ministry.
The Ministry issues regulations concerning other special study programmes for education in Sami districts and for pupils outside Sami districts who receive Sami tuition. The Sámediggi shall draft these regulations in consultation with the Ministry.
Pursuant to Chapter 2 section 7 second paragraph, Chapter 6 section 2 fifth paragraph and Chapter 6 section 3 first paragraph, provisions have been laid down in a regulation concerning alternative forms of tuition in Sami and Finnish. According to Section 7 paragraph 1 of the regulation, pupils who have a statutory right to tuition in Sami and/or Finnish, have a right to receive alternative forms of such tuition when this cannot be provided by teachers at the school attended by the children. Alternative forms of tuition may for instance by distance education, intensive training or specific school camps.
Alternative forms of tuition for pupils in primary and lower secondary education shall be developed in cooperation with the parents.
The Sami University College in Guovdageaidnu - Kautokeino employs Northern Sami as a medium of instruction and offers a number of study programmes, including courses in the Sami language of one, two and three semesters’ duration, courses in journalism (2 years), teacher training (4 years), pre-school teacher training (3 years), bilingual education, special education, multicultural understanding etc.
Some of these programmes are also offered as decentralized courses in other parts of the region. As from 1999 the Sami University College has introduced a special education programme at graduate level (Master’s degree) in cooperation with the University of Tromsø and other colleges in the region.
The University of Tromsø offers undergraduate courses in Northern Sami language and literature of one, two and three semesters’ duration as well as courses at graduate level (Master’s degree).
The Oslo University College offers a study programme at graduate level (Master's degree) in Sami handicrafts and applied arts ( duoddji) in cooperation with the Sami University College. The Sami University College offers a one-year programme in duoddji, a semester course in duoddji as part of teacher training, and semester course in Sami chants ( joik) and narrative art.
The Sámediggi has submitted a contribution to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. In point 2.8 of the report the Sámediggi presents its views regarding the implementation of Chapter 3, section 8 of the Sami Act, concerning the right to tuition in Sami, particularly as regards adult education.
According to Chapter 6 section 2 of the Education Act the right to Sami tuition also applies to Sami pupils of compulsory school age outside the Sami districts.
The establishment of a court of Central Finnmark
The access of the Sami population to the legal system is an issue which is dealt with in Report No. 23 (2000-2001) to the Storting, issued by the Ministry of Justice.
It is the view of the Ministry of Justice that Norway has a particular responsibility to protect the interests and culture of the Sami population, and that this should be reflected in the access of the Sami people to the court system.
On the basis of a proposal from the Ministry of Justice, the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) has agreed to the establishment of a court in central Finnmark, which will serve the five municipalities of Karasjok, Kautokeino, Nesseby, Porsanger, and Tana. These municipalities constitute (together with Kåfjord) the Sami language adminstrative district.
The Ministry of Justice acknowledges the need for a development of the Sami legal language, for instance through co-operation between the Sami University College (Samisk høyskole), the Nordic Sami Institute (Nordisk Samisk Institutt) and the legal profession.
Chapter 3 section 4 of the Sami Act states that the parties may submit documents in connection with legal proceedings in Sami, and that the courts, at the request of one of the parties, shall conduct the proceedings in the Sami language. These rights apply to all courts of law whose jurisdiction comprises all or parts of the Sami language administrative district.
There is no extra charge to the person concerned for the use of interpreters and translations into the Sami language when this is necessary in civil and criminal cases. Some exceptions from this will apply to civil cases where the persons concerned do not live in Norway.
Chapter 3 section 2 of the Sami Act stipulates that statutes and regulations of particular interest to all or parts of the Sami population shall be translated into Sami. The following Acts have been or will be translated into Sami:
- The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs :
Act No. 100 of 17 July 1992 relating to child welfare services
Gender Equality Act
The Act relating to day care institutions
- The Ministry of Defence: The Home Guard Act with appurtenant
annexes and instructions and certain military forms are available
in Sami language. The Home Guard Act is distributed to the local
Home Guard Councils. When needed, parts of the Military Penal Code
are made available locally in Sami.
- The Ministry of Justice:
The Sami Act
The Public Administration Act
The Freedom of Information Act
The Ministry of Justice is also preparing new proposed legislation on land rights and administration for the county of Finnmark. These texts will be presented in Sami as well as Norwegian. Parts of the preliminary works have been translated into the Sami language and have been made available to the public.
- The Ministry of Education and Research:
The Education Act
- The Ministry of the Environment: Act of 23 June 1888 relating
to the right to fisheries in the Tana watercourse. The Cultural
Heritage Act has been translated into Sami, and is entitled
Kulturmuitoláhka. Also the "Environmental Impact and
Assessments to the provisions of the Planning and Building Act" are
available in Sami.
- The Ministry of Finance: Act relating to national population
- The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs: The Act of 13
December 1991 relating to social services. The previous Minister of
Health stated that health legislation and other basic user
information will be translated into Sami. The previously mentioned
Government plan of action has been translated into Northern Sami.
Basic information on the Patient Rights Act and the provisions
regarding individual patient-client plans will follow soon.
- The Ministry of Agriculture: Act of 9 June 1978 no. 49 relating
to reindeer husbandry. Regulations pursuant to this act are
undergoing amendment, but will be published in Sami upon
completion. The regulations related to the reindeer husbandry
agreement (an annual agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture
and the Norwegian Reindeer Herders’ Association on government
support schemes) are translated into Sami each year.
- The Ministry of Cultural Affairs: Chapter 23 of the Act of 9 June 1978 No. 50 relating to cultural heritage and Chapter 3 of the Sami Act are administered by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. These acts are both available in Sami. Translation into Sami of the Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to place names has been scheduled, but these plans have been postponed because the act and its appurtenant regulations are undergoing amendment.
The Sami Act defines the Sami language administrative district to be the following six municipalities: Deatnu - Tana, Kåfjord, Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino, Kárásjohka - Karasjok, Porsanger and Unjárga - Nesseby. Those who communicate in Sami to any local public body in this area are entitled to receive a reply in Sami.
In January 2001, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, appointed a working group comprised of the relevant municipalities and others to determine whether the extra expenses incurred by the municipalities in connection with bilingual administration are sufficiently recompensed.
The Sámediggi has submitted a contribution to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. Point 5.1 of the report discusses the administration of funding for bilingualism measures in the Sami language administrative district.
In communications with the Sámediggi, both oral and written replies will be provided in Sami when so requested. The Sámediggi has submitted a contribution to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. Point 2.9 of the report discusses various surveys conducted on the utilization of the Sami language.
The Norwegian Armed Forces
Norwegian is the official language of correspondence with local and regional authorities and with the Sámediggi, as these are defined as multilingual public bodies. Norwegian is also the language used for education and training at military schools and training centres. Home Guard units within the Sami language administrative district, however, normally have local staff members that are proficient in both spoken and written Sami for individual communication.
The Police Force
The Police Force within the Sami language administrative district is able to respond in the Sami language in all spheres where this is necessary to carry out their duties satisfactorily. All local lensman districts within this area have Sami-proficient employees on their staffs.
Each year the Ministry of Justice/the Norwegian Police Directorate sets aside extra budgetary funding to enhance proficiency in Sami for its employees in the Sami language administrative district.
Members of the Sami population or others who are proficient in the Sami language are given priority in admissions to the National Police Academy. The National Police Academy in Bodø admits between 2 and 4 Sami-proficient candidates each year.
Translation of documents and interpreting are offered and carried out according to specific needs in each case.
The Prison Service
The Prison Service utilizes services in education, health care, etc., from the local communities. The Ministry presumes that Sami-proficient personnel are used when this is necessary or possible, or that an interpreter is provided. A Sami-speaking inmate may be transferred to an institution where Sami-proficient personnel can better provide the abovementioned services when this is in accordance with the necessary security considerations. Furthermore, documents will be translated into Sami if necessary.
The administration authority for conscientious objectors
The administration authority for conscientious objectors in Northern Norway can process all written requests submitted in Sami, and will provide written replies in Sami. However, the authority is not able to process or answer oral requests.
There is Sami-proficient personnel at the Office of the Public Guardian in the municipalities of the Sami language administrative district to ensure that the officials are able to communicate in the same language as the client.
Compensation for the victims of violent crime
The Ministry of Justice has published a folder concerning compensation for the victims of violent crime. This folder is available in Sami. If an application is submitted in Sami, the decision will be available in Sami although the administrative work is likely to be conducted in Norwegian.
The overall range of legal aid in Norway today is extensive and available in a host of different forms. Legal aid is provided free of charge by law students, and the public legal aid offices, legal aid insurance and legal aid services offered by unions to their members are all also important. The Consumer Council, the Consumer Disputes Commission and numerous appeals boards also make a significant practical contribution.
The main legislation outside the area of criminal law is the Act of 13 June 1980 No. 35 regarding free legal aid. Free legal aid is paid for in total or part by the state and is provided by privately practising lawyers in the form of free legal advice or free legal conduct of a case.
Pursuant to Article 110 a of the Norwegian Constitution and Article 27 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Norwegian authorities are obligated to use certain affirmative measures to preserve and develop the Sami culture. If an applicant has a juridical problem which in some way is connected to preserving or developing the Sami culture, the Norwegian authorities will grant the applicant free legal aid even if the specific juridical problem would not normally be encompassed by the Act relating to free legal aid.
The Legal Aid Office in Inner Finnmark was established in 1987. The purpose of the Office was to provide with legal service in this part of the country, and especially to the minority groups in Inner Finnmark (the Sami population). The Legal Aid Office has three employees, of which two speak and write the Sami language. The office used to give free legal counselling to the local population, while the rest of the Norwegian population gets free legal counselling only when certain criteria are fulfilled. The Parliament has now decided that legal aid given at this office has to follow the same rules as legal aid given in the rest of the country, i. e the Norwegian act regarding free legal aid has to apply to the specific person. However, as mentioned above, the authorities have in some cases made exceptions from the rules and thereby given free legal aid to individuals (Samis) when this has been thought to be necessary to protect and secure the Sami culture.
The Environmental Administration
The Environmental Administration conducts no written correspondence in Sami. At the county level, all reports concerning the Sami population are translated into Sami. An interpreter is utilized for meetings, etc. when this is necessary.
Statsbygg (Directorate of Public Construction and Property)
All of the Directorate’s personnel in buildings where users of the Sami language are working have command of Sami. Proficiency in Sami is considered to be an important qualification when recruiting personnel to work in such buildings.
The Public Roads Administration
The county roads offices of the Public Roads Administration in Finnmark, Troms and Nordland regularly receive questions, applications etc. in Sami. The Finnmark County Roads Office has several Sami-proficient employees on its staff, and this office assists other roads offices in providing oral replies to enquiries and applications submitted in Sami. For written replies the services of professional translators are utilized. Road signs are issued in both Norwegian and Sami in the municipalities that constitute the Sami language administrative district.
The Norwegian Reindeer Husbandry Administration
The Norwegian Reindeer Husbandry Administration has two local offices in the Sami language administrative district. There are a total of 12 employees in these offices, 11 of whom are fluent in both spoken and written Sami, while one is only able to speak Sami. All applications submitted to these offices in Sami receive oral or written answers in Sami. The local government administration in Alta has three employees who are proficient in Sami, only one of whom is also able to write in Sami. Some applications submitted to this office do not receive answers in Sami.
The Public Employment Service (Aetat)
The Sami language is spoken or written in some extent in the county of Troms, and particularly in following areas in the county of Finnmark: Karasjok, Kautokeino, Tana, Nesseby and Porsanger. There are also employees in Aetat, the labour offices at local level in these areas, who practice Sami in spoken and written language whenever needed. The use of Norwegian language is not considered to be of any practical problem since most of the Sami people speak both Norwegian and Sami in daily life.
The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs lacks information on local compliance and the distribution of centrally issued Sami-language information at hospitals, national insurance scheme offices etc. Information regarding the family doctor reform implemented from 1 June 2001 was distributed in Sami. The Ministry is not aware of any technical or practical problems regarding the update of information relating to health and social affairs in the Sami language.
The Public Roads Administration has published a variety of information material in Sami including a road safety plan for Finnmark, a compilation of words and expressions related to road traffic in Norwegian and Sami, and two booklets aimed at road safety training in public schools.
In connection with the 2001 national population census, Statistics Norway (the Central Bureau of Statistics of Norway) prepared a brochure and information letter in Sami. A Sami-language answer service was also established for oral enquiries.
A majority of the commonly used forms from the Directorate of Taxes have been translated into Sami. For technical reasons, the pre-filled out tax return form is not yet available in Sami. This matter will be taken up for review in the near future.
Statsbygg (Directorate of Public Construction and Property) oversees some of the buildings used in the Sami language administrative district and has been the entrepreneur in charge of constructing a number of these buildings (most recently the Sámediggi complex). In this connection, the Directorate has published some information in Sami. All fault complaint forms in buildings housing Sami users are printed in both Norwegian and Sami. Invitations to ceremonies in connection with the ground-breaking or inauguration of new buildings housing Sami users, as well as other official arrangements, are printed in both Norwegian and Sami.
The Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will prepare Sami-language information material concerning the special pension scheme for representatives serving on the Sámediggi pursuant to Chapter 2 section 15 of the Sami Act.
The Environmental Administration has published several pamphlets that have been translated into Sami. A form used for applications for compensation for damage to reindeer on grazing grounds is available in Sami at the county administration offices.
All administrative texts and forms from the Sámediggi are available in both Norwegian and Sami. The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development translates all its publications concerning Sami policy into Sami.
The National Office of Building Technology and Administration has published a Sami translation of the Technical Regulations under the Planning and Building Act. This is a regulation concerning requirements for construction works and products for construction works.
Published in 2001, Sámediggeválggat 2001 is a 111-page document in Sami containing information about the Sámediggi in Norway and all relevant election procedures. Prior to the September 2001 elections to the Sámediggi and the Storting (Norwegian national assembly), the Ministry published information about the elections in announcements in the daily press. Three of these announcements were published in Sami.
A summary of Report No. 34 (2000-2001) to the Storting on regional policy has been translated to Sami. The Hammerfest branch of the Norwegian State Housing Bank offers a variety of information material in Sami.
The Norwegian Armed Forces publishes its most frequently used forms in both Norwegian and Sami. There is little demand for the latter, even in the Sami language administrative district.
The forms and most important information from the authorities in relation to the reindeer husbandry report are available in Sami.
Chapter 3 section 2 of the Sami Act stipulates that all statutes and regulations of particular interest to the Sami population shall be translated into Sami.
The juridical base for paragraph 2 sub-paragraphs a-f is found in the Sami Act. With regard to sub-paragraph g we refer to the Act relating to place names.
In a report on the provision of bilingual services, the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research has examined the degree to which local authorities in the Sami language administrative district have complied with the language provisions of the Sami Act (NIBR-rapport 2001:17, Tospråklig tjenesteyting). The report concludes that it has become easier to use Sami in contacts with the local and regional authorities, but the findings are not unambiguous. In Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino, 86% of the administrative officers working for the local and regional authorities speak Sami. In Kåfjord the figure is 20%, and about half of these can write in Sami. Some 40 % of the personnel of the local authorities in the Sami language administrative district are capable of providing replies in written Sami.
A report from the Nordic Saami Institute finds that the use of Sami in announcements from regional and local governments is satisfactory (NSI-rapport nr. 1/2001). There is little use of Sami in local and regional publications, with the exception of publications from Finnmark county municipality.
The sessions of the Sámediggi are bilingual. Meetings in the local and regional government administration are bilingual in the municipalities Unjárga - Nesseby, Kárásjohka - Karasjok, Deatnu - Tana and in the county of Finnmark. The meetings in Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino are mainly in Sami. The meetings in Kåfjord, Porsanger and in the regional assembly in Troms are conducted solely in Norwegian.
We refer to article 10 paragraph 1 sub-paragraph a.
The Sámediggi administers funds for Sami interpreting services and bilingualism measures.
There is an adequate number of Sami-speaking tax officials in the Sami language administrative district, so the services of professional interpreters are not needed within this sphere.
It remains difficult for many Sami patients and clients to exercise their right to use Sami in their communications with the health and social services sector as there is a lack of Sami-proficient personnel. It is acknowledged that the use of staff members not connected with the specific case or relatives of the patient as interpreters is unsatisfactory and may give rise to medical and ethical problems. This comment also applies to Article 13 paragraph 2 sub-paragraph c.
The Personal Names Act
The Government has recently presented a bill on personal names. The bill gives everyone the right to take back their great-great-grandparents’ family names. This will, among others, make it easier for the Sami people, the Kven and other national minorities to bring their former family names into use.
Sami characters and ICT
The use of Sami in the Brønnøysund Registers has been evaluated in connection with the Register of Business Enterprises and the Central Coordination Register for Legal Entities. There is no legal stipulation requiring that these nation-wide registries be able to register information in Sami.
In an ICT context, it is problematic that national population registers, for example, are unable to register Sami surnames using indigenous characters. It is a task for the tax authorities to incorporate the new Unicode 10646 standard into their registers. This matter will be reviewed in the near future.
A working group consisting of various ministries and the Sámediggi, has reviewed various issues and proposed solutions concerning how to deal with the indigenous Sami letters in the ICT sector. The proposals from the group include:
- To implement solutions and encourage efforts to make it possible to utilize indigenous Sami letters in the computer software employed at public institutions, based on the common Unicode character set (16-bits).
- To draw up a Nordic agreement regarding a common 8-bits character set for Sami and a common Sami keyboard standard.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is a licence-financed, state-owned public service broadcaster. The NRK recognizes that it has a vital role to play in national and Nordic efforts to safeguard and develop Sami language, culture and civic society. One of the NRK’s main aims is to support democracy through a varied range of news, facts, commentary and debate on social issues, including programmes for ethnic and lingual minorities.
The licensing terms of the two commercial Norwegian public service broadcasters, TV 2 (television) and P4 (radio), contain programming requirements. Transmissions must, over the long-term, contain a broad range of programmes suitable for both large and small viewer groups, including the Sami community and other minorities.
We also refer to sub-paragraph c.
The Norwegian Mass Media Authority processes applications for broadcasting licenses for local radio and television. For the period 1997-2001, out of some 300 local radio stations licensed by the Authority (run by commercial companies, religious organizations, political parties, ethnic and linguistic minorities, educational institutions and various non-profit organizations), only four broadcast solely in Sami.
Regarding the public broadcasts tailored to the Sami population, the following quote is provided from Chapter 6, pp. 51-52 on broadcasts in Sami from 2000 Public Service Broadcaster Report of the NRK (not available in English) (cf. enclosure no. 14):
"In 2000, NRK Sámi Radio supplied NRK Radio as well as NRK Television with elements and programmes.
In 2000, Sámi Radio produced a total of 1 684 hours for radio, of which 1 537 hours were regional broadcasts, 126 hours were produced for P2 and 22 for P1 [names of stations]. In 1999, 1637 hours were produced. The digital radio channel of Sámi Radio broadcast 2 424 hours.
In 2000, NRK Sámi Radio produced 48 hours for television, compared to 38 in 1999. The 2000 programmes included ‘Children’s TV in Sámi’ (24 hours), ‘Sámi Magazine’ (19 hours), ‘Educational TV’ (3 hours), ‘Nordnytt’ [North News] (1 hour), ‘Morning News’ (0.5 hours) and 17 th> of May [national day] broadcast (0.5 hours)."
"The Sámi children programme ‘Mánáid-TV’ was broadcast on Mondays throughout the year, with re-release in Sunday mornings. On average, 85 000 viewers over 3 years of age watched the programme, out of which 28 000 were children between 3 and 11. The news and information programme ‘Sami Magazine’, broadcast on Sunday afternoons, on average had 59 000 viewers. Other programmes in Sami were ‘Sápmelas Oaivil – Sami Point of View’ (55 000 viewers) and ‘CSV – Monthly Magazine (34 000 viewers).
NRK had two regular radio programmes in Sami. P2 broadcast ‘Sámi Radio’ on weekdays at 13.30, which contained news and other subject matter of current interest in Sami. As in 1999, the programme had 19 000 listeners on average. ‘Report from Sami Land’ was broadcast on P1 every Sunday night at 22.30 and had an average of 64 000 listeners."
In August 2001, the NRK introduced daily television broadcasts in Sami. The broadcasts are subtitled in Norwegian, enabling non-Sami speakers to receive news and information about and from Sami society.
Nordic cooperation on a Sami radio station has been initiated, but was discontinued due to delays in the introduction of digital radio technology (DAB) at the consumer end. NRK Sámi Radio has, however, started trial digital broadcasts. The NRK does not recommend the establishment of an analogue radio channel, as digital technology is poised to become the dominant form of technology in the very near future.
The Nordic Sami radio stations have joined forces to establish Saami Web, which was opened in connection with the meeting of the Nordic Ministers of Culture in Copenhagen on 5 March 1999. The primary purpose of Saami Web is to make news and cultural information available on the Internet.
According to the annual report of the commercial public service broadcaster TV 2, the channel broadcast 30 reports on Sami-related matters in its news broadcasts in 2000. In addition, three new documentaries in Sami were broadcast, as well as two re-releases from 1999.
The commercial public service broadcaster P 4 (radio) has a three minute news broadcast in Sami on weekdays. The station cooperates with the local radio station in Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino for production of Sami news.
There are also a small number of private Sami local radio stations in Norway, most of which are privately financed. Local radios offering broadcasts in Sami are, however, eligible to receive support from the Mass Media Authority. The Authority gives particular consideration to applications from ethnic and lingual minorities when allocating funding for local radio purposes.
In 1978, a state subsidy scheme for Sami newspapers was established. In 2001, the subsidies amounted to a total of NOK 10 million.
According to the present regulations, subsidies are allocated to newspapers directed towards the Sami population in Norway. The subsidy is calculated on the basis of the annual number of editions and pages produced, with different subsidy rates for pages produced in Norwegian and Sami respectively. This is designed to take into account the extra costs of news production in Sami. The subsidy scheme is managed by the Mass Media Authority, an agency under the auspices of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
In 2001 three newspapers received subsidies; the Sami language newspapers Min Aigi and Assu, and the Norwegian language newspaper Ságat. In addition, the religious magazine Nuorttanaste received about NOK 250 000.
Nordnorsk filmsenter AS (the North Norwegian Film Centre) is a regional institution that grants support for the development and production of shorts and videos in Northern Norway. In order to be eligible for government funding, the centre is required by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to support the production of at least one Sami film annually.
In 2000, the Sami University College in Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino initiated a new programme for the education and training of journalists in the Sami language.
Pursuant to its obligations under the European Economic Agreement, Norway has implemented the EU’s Television without Frontiers Directive and the TV Standards Directive. Norway is also party to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.
Various measures have been implemented by the government to encourage and/or provide appropriate cultural activities and facilities for the Sami people, cf. article 12.
In the proposed 2002 Fiscal Budget, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs proposes to transfer the administration of the Ministry’s various grant schemes for Sami cultural purposes to the Sámediggi.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs provides funding for the Sami Museum (De Samiske Samlinger), a national Sami museum situated in Kárásjohka - Karasjok in Northern Norway. In addition, several local Sami museums in other municipalities receive financial support from both the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the regional and local authorities.
The Sami Library (Samisk Spesialbibliotek) is the central Sami library service, and is situated in Kárásjohka - Karasjok. Since 1983, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs has provided full funding for this library. A number of other local libraries also have Sami literature in their collections.
Since 1993, the National Library has been responsible for compiling a Sami bibliography. In addition to material in Sami, the bibliography includes material in other languages concerning all fields and subjects relevant to the Sami people. There are plans to establish a joint Nordic bibliography in the long-term. The Sami bibliography has been published in printed form on three occasions, and is available as an electronic document. Information may be found at the National Library’s website: http://www.nb.no/baser/samisk/
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has established a scheme for mobile library services. This scheme is intended to help to increase the population’s knowledge of Sami in the northern parts of Norway, where vast distances make it difficult for most of the population to have regular access to ordinary libraries.
The Sami Archives (Samisk arkiv) is a private foundation that receives financial support from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The primary purpose of this institution is to collect and make available data documenting Sami language and culture. Plans have been made to utilize these archives as the basis for a Sami archives, information and documentation centre. These plans are included in Report No. 22 (1999-2000) to the Storting on archives, libraries and museums, issued by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Theatre and Music
The Beivvás Sámi Teáhter has received state support since 1987. The theatre only performs in the Sami language, and is therefore an important factor in the development of Sami drama. The theatre is situated in Gouvdageaidnu - Kautokeino in Finnmark county, but often tours other parts of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The Sami Music Festival and the Riddu Riddu festival received financial support from the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs in 2001. One of the Riddu Riddu festival’s main objectives is to present Sami culture as part of an international culture of indigenous peoples.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs has established a support scheme for artists. Artists from different genres can apply for grants (and scholarships), pursuant to regulations issued by the Ministry. A certain number of these grants are awarded to Sami artists.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Department of Sports Policy has no current initiatives relating to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Department does not at this time see a need for any initiatives with regard to cultural activities and facilities such as sports arrangements.
The Ministry of Cultural Affairs provides investment support to local, regional and national cultural buildings. In 1995 and 1999 the Sámediggi drew up a plan for Sami cultural buildings. These plans are useful to the Ministry in their overall efforts regarding investment plans for national cultural buildings. A plan for 2002-2005 was submitted to the Storting in the 2002 Fiscal Budget proposal.
According to this plan, the Eastern Sami museum in Neiden will receive financial support in 2002, 2003 and 2004. No other projects related to the Sami people are included in the four year investment-plan, but the Ministry of Cultural Affairs is planning to provide funding for an extension of Aja, a Sami cultural centre in Kåfjord, and a new department for art exhibitions at the Sami museum in Kárásjohka - Karasjok in the period after 2005.
The Sámediggi has submitted a contribution to the Norwegian report, cf. enclosure no. 1, Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001. Point 6.1 of the report discusses the various Sami language centres that have been established.
Annually, some NOK 250 000 has been granted to the project "Sami language in film" by the Norwegian Film Institute. The work is directed towards subtitling of movies for cinema exhibition, video, sound versioning to Sami of children’s films, support for commercial video distribution of Sami texts and support for launching of Sami film projects. A separate catalogue of the films has been published. The catalogue has been distributed to Sami-speaking areas.
The government will re-establish the interpreter’s training programme at the Sami University College. In a few years, this will make it possible to offer specialized training in interpretation for the health and social services sector.
The previously cited Government plan of action from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs strongly emphasizes the patient’s rights as regards necessary health services (which may have language-related implications), easily understandable information concerning treatment and informed consent to the treatment. This is reflected in the Health-care Personnel Act, which regulates the actions of health-care personnel and their duty to guarantee medically responsible conduct towards patients.
The plan of action outlines a strategy for increasing proficiency in the Sami language and promoting understanding of Sami culture within the health and social services sector. The state take-over of hospitals and other specialized health services from 1 January 2002 will make it possible for the government to guide the implementation of this strategy more closely. The government will also establish a dialogue with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities to encourage the municipalities to become more responsive to this issue. The government issues no sanctions towards the municipalities.
Act no. 100 of 17 July 1992 on child welfare services has been translated into Sami. The government has translated various booklets from the National Programme for Parental Guidance into Sami. Other booklets from this programme will also be translated.
There is evidence that the child welfare services, especially in small municipalities with a Sami population, have problems recruiting and keeping employees who can speak and write the Sami language fluently. In the light of this situation, the Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs finds it necessary to implement measures that acknowledge and encourage the use of the Sami language, as well as knowledge about Sami culture, within the child welfare services. As a first step, the Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs has initiated the publication of an overview of professionals in the Norwegian child welfare services who speak Sami fluently. Furthermore, the Ministry will work together with the Sámediggi to identify other measures aimed at strengthening the use of Sami in the child welfare services.
The Ministry of Children’s and Family Affairs will increase budget allocations to the Ombudsman for Children for 2002 to enable the office to enhance its proficiency in the Sami language and its understanding of Sami culture.
Support has been provided for Sami representatives’ participation at the Indigenous People’s Millennium Conference in Panama City, the UN Workshop on Indigenous Media, and the Third Circumpolar Youth conference. In addition, funding has been allocated for the international activities of the Sami Council and the Sámediggi. These activities do not specifically encompass the Sami language.
- No. 1: Report on the status of the Sami language in Norway dated 23 November 2001
- No. 2: Comments from the Norwegian Association of Kvens
- No. 3: The Constitution of Norway (Act of 17 May 1814)
- No. 4: Act of 18 May 1990 No. 11 relating to Place Names,
- No. 5: Regulations of 5 July 1991 No. 456 laid down pursuant to section 12 of the Act
- No. 6: Act of 12 June 1987 No. 56 relating to the Samediggi (the Sami parliament) and other Sami legal matters (the Sami Act), Chapter 3 concerning the Sami language
- No. 7: Regulations of 30 January 1992 No. 79 regarding the language provisions of the Sami Act,
- No. 8: Regulations of 31 March 1992 No. 204 laid down pursuant to section 3-8 of the Sami Act
- No. 9: Act of 17 July 1998 No. 61 relating to education section 2-7
- No. 10: Act of 17 July 1998 No. 61 relating to education chapter 6
- No. 11: Regulations of 28 June 1999 No. 722 laid down pursuant to section 2-7, 6-2 and 6-3 of the Act
- No. 12: Comments from the Jewish Community in Oslo
- No. 13: Plan of action for health and social services vis-à-vis the Sami population dated 30 August 2001
- No. 14: Public Service Broadcaster Report of the NRK 2000
- No. 15: Paragraphs and subparagraphs of the Charter which apply to the Sami language