Press release | Date: 22/01/2010| No: 10.004
On Thursday, 21 January, Norway's Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Audun Lysbakken, will be questioned by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
On Thursday, 21 January, Norway's Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Audun Lysbakken, will be questioned by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He will account for Norway's efforts to fulfil terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Norwegian authorities have responded to the UN children’s committee three times previously, but this will be the first time a Norwegian minister of children's affairs has come before the committee.
The meeting arises from Norway's reporting commitments to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. All countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child are required to present a report every five years. Norway’s fourth report, submitted in 2008, will form the basis of Thursday's questioning. The hearing is to be conducted by the committee’s members. Afterward, the committee will provide its concluding remarks to the Norwegian authorities. Those remarks include both praise and criticism, but most importantly recommendations on how Norwegian authorities should strengthen their efforts on behalf of children.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has given advance notice on some of the subjects to be discussed at the meeting:
- Service coordination, including the role and responsibility of the child welfare service
- Non-discrimination – specific measures, plans and programmes initiated to combat discrimination
- Violence against children, including corporal punishment and a review of the statutory provision that permits "light spanking"
- Harmful tradition-based practices, including forced marriage
- The right to a satisfactory standard of living – particularly in regard to minority children who live below the poverty line
- Unaccompanied juvenile asylum seekers and child refugees, including the disappearance of youngsters from national reception centres
The Ombudsman for Children in Norway and the Forum for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (composed of a number of non-governmental organizations) have submitted supplementary reports to the UN children's committee. These reports are critical of the government's policies in many areas affecting children. The UN committee is likely to confront Minister Lysbakken with this criticism.
"The government sees these reports as a useful corrective in our work to support children and young people," says Mr. Lysbakken. “It is my hope that we have a constructive dialogue today on how to strengthen the rights of children in Norway."