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NORWAY/TAIWAN: Taiwanese registered as Chinese citizens in Norway

The European Court of Human Rights ruled the application of Taiwanese in Norway inadmissible

The European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) refused to accept the case on the ground of “manifestly ill-founded” in July after three Taiwanese residents in Norway applied with the Court in Strasbourg in May.

ECtHR says it did not find any human rights violation

 

Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association/ HRWF (16.08.2021) – On May 5 this year, Liu and others filed a complaint to the ECtHR in Strasbourg, France. Since the Norwegian government registers them as Chinese citizens on their residence documentation, they claim that Norway has violated their right to personal identity protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).

 

Two months after their submission, the ECtHR began reviewing the case in a single-judge formation. At the end of July, the decision made by Maltese judge, Lorraine Schembri Orland, was soon delivered, declaring the case inadmissible.

 

In the Court’s decision, it found that “in the light of all the material in its possession that the matters complained of do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or the Protocols thereto. Accordingly, these complaints are manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a).”

 

Since 2010, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (“UDI”) has changed its policy to register the citizenship of Taiwanese from “Taiwan” to “Kina” (“China” in Norwegian), which has caused dissatisfaction among Taiwanese residents in Norway. In 2017, a group of Taiwanese students, led by Liu and others, launched the “Taiwan My Name My Right” movement and began to seek legal remedies. After exhausted all local remedies, they finally applied with the ECtHR this May to accuse Norway’s treatment against them. Recently, the result came out as the European Court refused to accept the case.

 

 

No chance to present in courts, no reasonings provided

 

With a new graph saying, “Taiwan is Taiwan, my name is my right!”, which was posted on their Facebook fan page, Liu and his team released a statement declaring: “The procedures from all levels of courts in Norway to the European Court of Human Rights not only failed to allow us to present our arguments orally, the Norwegian Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights even failed to provide substantive reasoning for their decisions. It is a shame that we cannot know and understand the concrete reasons for the inadmissibility of our case.”

 

Submitting to the Court with more than 700 pages of application documents and evidentiary material, which was completed by their legal team, including lawyers and scholars from different countries, Liu and his team stated that they not only were disappointed at the Court’s decision itself but also questioned the judge’s view of their application as an entirely political one without engaging with the substance of their legal points. For this application, Liu and others have recruited London-based lawyer Schona Jolly QC, the chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales. She has rich international litigation experience on privacy and anti-discrimination and has criticized the Chinese government for human rights violations.

 

 

“Taiwan My Name My Right” movement: a bottom-up legal action

 

Before June 2010, the citizenship of Taiwanese residents in Norway was still “Taiwan”. It was not until the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time, Jonas Gahr Støre, confirmed to the parliament that: “Norway is pursuing a one-China policy. Norway recognizes the People’s Republic of China, of which Taiwan is a part of under international law. Accordingly, Taiwan does not have its own country status” on March 23, 2010, the citizenship of Taiwanese started to be registered as Chinese by the UDI.

 

Liu and his team first filed a complaint to the UDI in March 2017, claiming that the Norwegian government has violated the articles of privacy in the Norwegian Constitution, the ECHR and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. The article of privacy has provided protection to the right to personal identity according to ECtHR’s precedents. However, Liu and others’ claim was dismissed by all administrative and judicial instances of Norway. Finally, their application with the ECtHR this May was rejected again.

 

Nevertheless, the process of this movement has allowed Norway’s largest newspaper “Aftenposten” not only to report in-depth on the issue itself on May 23, 2018, but also to discuss Taiwan’s absence in the World Health Assembly since 2016 through an exclusive interview with Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Wu, on November 22, 2020. The reports of the movement have brought Taiwan, which has long been isolated by the international community for decades, back to the Norwegian and European’s spotlight.

 

 

The journey ahead?

 

Many Norwegian scholars also questioned their government’s policy toward Taiwan and Taiwanese people through commentaries in the newspaper. For example, Halvor Eifring, a professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo, and many other scholars have jointly contributed to an article in the Norwegian Daily Business News (“DN”) on March 4, 2021, to support the rectification of Taiwanese residents’ citizenship and Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization.

 

After the brief journey to the ECtHR, Liu and his team will discuss filing another complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as their next step. The relevant follow-up works will be further announced after discussions with their lawyers in September.

 

 

Co- Authored by Yiling Cheng, Betty Hu, and Joseph Liu.

Yiling Cheng,

Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association / Media Relations Manager

Betty Hu,

Taiwan Digital Diplomacy Association / Europe Program Specialist

Joseph Liu,

The Initiator of the “My Name, My Right” movement





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NORWAY: Jehovah’s Witnesses: A strange Norwegian decision

Jehovah’s Witnesses: A strange Norwegian decision

A Norwegian court “annulled” an ecclesiastical decision disfellowshipping a woman—a clear violation of religious freedom.

By Massimo Introvigne

 

Bitter Winter (06.08.2021) – https://bit.ly/3s0Yy2W – Last month, anti-cultists posted on social media news that a woman had been disfellowshipped by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Norway, and accused of immorality for having been raped, but happily a Norwegian court had ordered the Witnesses to take her back into their fold and pay an exorbitant sum in damages and expenses.

The story sounded immediately very strange. Later, a former Jehovah’s Witness published in a scholar’s mailing list an account still hostile to the Witnesses but that made somewhat more sense. However, only when I received from the lawyers involved the voluminous decisions of the case at all stages, with the names of the persons involved redacted for reasons of privacy, I was able both to understand what happened and to realize that the Norwegian court had indeed produced one of the most dangerous decisions for religious liberty in recent years.

The case concerns a married woman from a provincial Norwegian town, who was a Jehovah’s Witness from 1987 to 2018. In 2018, she accepted to have dinner with a male Jehovah’s Witness, himself divorced, in a restaurant in Oslo, after which they went to the man’s hotel room. Of what happened there, two versions exist. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who were part of the judicial committee that examined the case, the woman told them that in the hotel room they drank more alcohol with respect to what they had already drunk in the restaurant, engaged in “kissing and fondling,” and lied on a bed together. The woman didn’t remember what happened next, except that she woke up naked with the man on top of her.

In the court case, the woman told the judges that they went to the hotel room to recover a coat she had left here, denied that they had drunk more alcohol or engaged in kissing or fondling in the room, and stated that she took a nap there because she was tired, from which she woke up more than 12 hours later when she found the man on top of her and realized she was naked.

In both versions, the two then separated (in the elders’ version, she told them they still had a friendly breakfast before going their separate ways), but the woman was later told by the man that he had started engaging in oral sex with her while she was asleep.

What the two versions have in common is that the woman was repeatedly asked whether she had felt raped, and she repeatedly said no, and the Witnesses’ judicial committee found that the woman and the man were “obviously not enemies,” as they still “had contacts” after the incident. She testified that she had realized that what happened might legally be described as rape only several months later, and after she had been disfellowshipped. However, she did not take any action against the man at the time, including going to the police, and in fact has never done so.

It was the woman herself who had moral scruples that she might have been guilty of sexual immorality, a ground for being disfellowshipped among the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A judicial committee was convened, found that she had indeed behaved immorally, and disfellowshipped her in 2018. She appealed, but an ecclesiastical appeal committee confirmed the judicial committee’s decision. Before the ecclesiastical appeal committee, she also denied having been raped.

Considering also that the public announcement, which normally follows such decisions, that she was no longer one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, exposed her to the risk that relatives and friends who remained in the congregation would no longer associate with her (because of the so-called “shunning” practiced by the Witnesses), she went to see a lawyer and first challenged her local congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses before a Conciliation Board. The Board rendered its decision on June 5, 2019. It concluded that the woman had been disfellowshipped for having been “assaulted,” and declared the decision to disfellowship her invalid. It also ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses to pay NOK 100,000 ($11,365) as damages, plus the woman’s legal costs.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses took the case to the Follo District Court, located in Ski, arguing, first, that secular courts had no jurisdiction on internal congregational matters, and second, that the judicial committee and the appeal committee had correctly applied the rules about immorality of the religious organization. On February 27, 2020, the District Court found in favor of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It stated that “freedom of religion” implies that “Courts cannot review the decisions of a religious community that require an assessment of religious issues.” Assessing what constitutes, or does not constitute, sexual immorality within the context of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ theology is a religious issue. It cannot be determined by secular courts through secular criteria, the District Court said, and “falls outside what a court can review.”

The woman appealed the District Court’s decision before the Borgarting Court of Appeal, which rendered its decision on July 9, 2021. Two out of three judges found in favor of the woman. The third wrote a dissenting opinion, where he explained why he believed the District Court’s decision to be correct. The majority opinion stated that § 10 of the Religious Communities Act of 1969 should apply in this case, which was in force in 2018 although omitted in the new Act on Religious and Life Stance Communities of 2020, which came into force on January 1, 2021. The old § 10 stated that “no one must use improper arguments, promises or threats, or proceed by other questionable means for the purpose of persuading another person to join or resign from a religious community.” According to the Court of Appeal, both § 10 and general principles of Norwegian law that survived its repeal allow secular courts to examine and eventually annul decisions of exclusion of members by ecclesiastical bodies when they have been rendered by violating their own rules or based on incorrect descriptions of facts, and when their consequences seriously affect the welfare of the persons involved. Some legal decisions rendered abroad, which stated that pronouncements of exclusion by judicial committees of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cannot be annulled by secular courts as they are internal matters of a religious body, were examined, but the Borgarting court concluded that they referred to different cases, where there had been no factual or procedural errors.

Based on these principles, the court concluded that what had happened to the woman was rape under the definition of Norwegian law, that the relevant elder’s manual of the Jehovah’s Witnesses states that “one who was raped would not be guilty of porneia [sexual immorality],” and that consequently the judicial and appeal committees misinterpreted the facts and did not faithfully apply the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own internal rules. The decision caused to the woman considerable distress, considering the policies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses towards disfellowshipped members. The judge stated that “it would be offensive to the general sense of justice if someone is excluded from a religious community on the basis of something that it is possibly a rape,” and ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses to readmit the woman within their fold, and pay to her NOK 100,000 in damages, NOK 512,063.50 as expenses for the Court of Appeal case, and NOK 386,082 for the expenses before the District Court, i.e., a total bill of NOK 998,145.50, equivalent to $113,440.

An appeal will be sought before the Supreme Court. I believe the verdict to be a catastrophic assault on religious freedom, and I hope it will be overturned. I understand that there is today a special sensitivity when rape or “possible rape” of vulnerable women is involved. I agree that tolerance for sexual abuse of women has been a plague of our societies for centuries, and that religious liberty may never be an excuse for sexual abuse. This, however, refers to causes of action the woman may have against the man who took advantage of her sleep in the Oslo hotel. What we are discussing here is the different matter whether a secular court can second-guess a decision by an ecclesiastical body, and order a religious organization to readmit a member it has excluded.

I believe the decision is wrong on three different counts. First, it seems to me that the (repealed) § 10 of the Religious Communities Act of 1969 has nothing to do with decisions by ecclesiastical bodies excluding a member from a religious organization. It clearly seems to refer to cases where citizens are compelled to leave their religion or join another one through physical violence or fraud. I would have been reluctant to interpret Norwegian law, of which I am not an expert, had it not be for the circumstance that Judge Agnar A. Nilsen, Jr., one of the judges of the Appeal Court, came to the same conclusion after a detailed analysis of the legislative history of the provision. He noted that § 10 was never applied to allow secular courts to review a decision of exclusion by an ecclesiastical body or authority. Judge Nilsen also criticized the comment that this review remains permissible in Norwegian law after § 10 was repealed, and stated that “the view that under the current law one can establish a legal norm of ‘offensive to the general sense of justice’ as barrier to a religious community’s right to exclude persons they do not want as a member, is also not legally rooted in any source.”

Second, it seems to me that the facts were reconstructed tendentiously and one-sidedly by the majority in the appeal case. Unlike the District Court, they took for granted that the woman’s account of what happened in that fateful night before the secular judges was true, and the earlier one she gave to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ judicial committee was either false, or misinterpreted by the committee. Based on this questionable reconstruction, the majority embarked in a dissertation about porneia, a word used 24 times in the New Testament, and whose exact meaning has been a bone of contention between Christians for centuries, as it has consequences inter alia on whether divorce is permissible or not, a question on which Catholics have different opinions from most Protestants. The centuries-old question about what is and is not porneia is a typical theological matter, solved differently by different Christian denominations and organizations, and a textbook example of issues on which secular courts should not interfere.

Interpreting the elder’s manual of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (which is not the only source on which the judicial committees base their decisions) is also a religious matter, on which secular courts have no competence nor jurisdiction. At any rate, sleeping in a room with a man who is not a woman’s husband, and drinking a significant quantity of alcohol with him, not to mention “kissing and fondling” if it happened, may already amount to “sexual immorality” according to the standards of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, the argument that ecclesiastical decisions excluding members from a religious organization can be annulled by a secular court when the latter believes that they are based on factual or procedural mistakes is wrong, inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights, and also with the international decisions on the Jehovah’s Witnesses that the court of appeal quoted but misinterpreted.

It is clear, and understandable, that in this case the sympathy of the two judges who ruled in her favor was with a woman they regarded as a victim of rape. But, as Judge Nilsen said in his dissenting opinion, believing that a “general sense of justice” may be invoked when a decision of exclusion from a religion appears as unfair means that all such decisions may be overturned by secular courts. If the latter are authorized to interpret the procedural rules of a religious organization in a different way from the religious body itself, or even revisit theological interpretations (such as in the question of whether the woman’s acts might be defined as porneia), this simply means that secular courts operate as courts of appeal authorized to re-examine any and all decisions of ecclesiastical bodies.

It seems also bizarre that they can “annul” a decision of exclusion by an ecclesiastical body, nor is it clear what legal or practical effects this is supposed to have. If what is asked is that the Jehovah’s Witnesses take back the woman into their fold, this would be tantamount to order to a husband or a wife who has ceased the cohabitation with his/her spouse to start living together again, if the court believes that the decision to separate was based on an incorrect assessment of facts that the judges presume to know better than the parties involved.

That states may interfere with the internal activities of a religious organization is precisely what the international decisions quoted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Norwegian case tried to prevent. The Norwegian decision is an example of an alarming reductionist trend considering religious liberty as a right vested on the individual believer, and ignoring the collective freedom of religious organizations. One hopes the Norwegian Supreme Court will accept to hear the appeal, and render a decision consistent with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and high courts worldwide.

Photo: The Old Building, the Borgarting Court of Appeal, Oslo, Norway (credits).

Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.





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NORWAY: Significantly fewer churches are burning in Norway

Significantly fewer churches are burning in Norway

Satanists set fire to many churches in Norway in the 1990s. Now churches are not attacked as often as they used to, and smaller denominations hardly ever experience church fires.

By STEIN GUDVANGEN

 

Evangelical Focus (24.06.2021) – https://bit.ly/3y7duOL – 1992 was an annus horribilis for church fires in Norway. That year alone self proclaimed satanists set fire to at least five churches.

During the next few years several more attempts of arson were made by young men belonging to or identifying with the black metal wave.

One key figure spearheaded the so-called Satanic metal movement, a young man whose birth name was Kristian Larsson Vikernes. He later called himself Varg Vikernes – Varg meaning wolf – and was also nicknamed The Count. By 1994 he was convicted of both murder and arson of three churches. He served 15 years in prison before moving to France adopting the legal name Louis Cachet.

There were a total of 25 church fires in Norway in the 1990s, not all of them caused by arsonists, and not all of the arsonists identifying with satanism. Some fires were caused by electrical failures or lightning. Still two dozen fires or attempted arsons have been attributed to the black metal scene, although several incidents never proved to be connected to people from those circles.

Fewer fires since 2000

At the turn of the millennium the picture changes significantly. Between the year 2000 and 2010 there were only eight church fires in Norway. The next ten years only seven.

A vast majority of the church fires have been in buildings belonging to the former state church, the Church of Norway. A bit less than 70 percent of the Norwegian population are member of Church of Norway, and their many local parishes own about 1,630 church buildings.

While the Church of Norway was hit by fire around 35 times between 1990 and 2020, not including failed attempts of arson, there were only two major fire incidents in so-called free churches during the same three decades.

On Christmas Day in 1992, the Methodist Church in Sarpsborg, built in 1857, went up in flames. A smoke diver died in the attempt to extinguish the fire making this the only church fire with a deadly outcome in Norway in modern times. A well known satanist was suspected to have set the building on fire, but was never convicted.

On 4th June, 1995 Moe Church in Sandefjord, owned by Det evangelisk-lutherske kirkesamfunn (DELK), was burned to the ground. The investigation concluded that the fire started because of an electrical malfunction.

Since then there have been no fires in Norwegian free churches. A conservative estimate is that there are 700 to 800 free church buildings in the country, but still the number of fires is very low as compared to the number of fires in Church of Norway houses of worship.

Police superintendent Kenneth Didriksen has taken part in investigations of church fires for many years. He confirms that free churches are seldom targeted by arsonists, and he thinks he knows the reason.

Free churches are not considered typical power symbols like Church of Norway houses of worship, since the Church of Norway has been so closely connected to the state. The free churches have not represented the authorities in the same way”, explains Didriksen.

Paying money back

The overall picture however is that the number of fire incidents is going down. This is also reflected by the fact that the insurance company KA Kirkeforsikring is now paying money back to the parishes after several years with fewer fires.

After summing up last year KA Kirkeforsikring, who are dominating this segment of the market, paid back more than 890,000 euros in insurance premium, an equivalent of 29 percent of the total premium last year, according to figures presented to Christian press agency KPK. After 2019, 430,000 euros were paid back to the policyholders.

“When there isn’t much damage, the insurance money is not being used, so then we return some of the premium to our customers”, says director Knut Are Hole.

Photo : Karmøy kirkelige fellesråd.

 





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TAIWAN v. NORWAY: “We are Taiwanese, not Chinese!”, Taiwanese say in court

Taiwanese fight the Norwegian government – We are Taiwanese, not Chinese!

By Mette Larsen

 

ScandAsia (11.06.2021) – https://bit.ly/3zierWd – For the past four years, Taiwanese nationals in Norway have been fighting the Norwegian government over being forced to register as ‘Chinese’ instead of Taiwanese. They are now taking the issue to the European Court of Human Rights.

 

According to an article by Taipei Times, Norway changed the nationality of the country’s Taiwanese residents to Chinese after a diplomatic row between Norway and China in 2010. But many Taiwanese nationals in Norway refuse to be registered as Chinese including Joseph Liu who came to Norway four years ago to study law and learn more about human rights.

 

Joseph Liu and other’s fight to use their national identity resulted in the launch of ‘My Name, My Right movement’ that aimed to pressure the Norwegian authorities to change the country designation back to Taiwan. They eventually took the case to the Norway’s supreme court, where they lost in November last year. Joseph Liu is not surprised at the outcome as “we didn’t even have a chance to represent ourselves in court,” he says. “The judge just rejected us on grounds that our allegations were unfounded. I’m quite disappointed in Norway’s legal system.”

 

Despite the court loss, Liu and his team are not giving up their fight, and last month they filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in France. ECHR has about 65.000 pending cases so they might have to wait up to a year to see if the case is accepted.

 

“It doesn’t matter if we win or not, but we need to keep speaking out,” he says. “If we remain silent, then it will become difficult in the future for Taiwanese to exercise their right to self-determination. Not saying anything means that we’ve quietly accepted the fact of being designated as Chinese,” Joseph Liu says.

 

Joseph Liu explains that If the lawsuit is rejected, he plans to help Taiwanese in other countries who have similar issues or bring the issue to the UN. My Name, My Right states in a press release that if this lawsuit wins, it would be the first time for the European Court of Human Rights to make a decision related to national identity.

 

ECHR is binding on 47 member states that have signed the European Convention on Human Rights which means that all these countries could also no longer register Taiwanese citizens as “Chinese.”

 

Photo courtesy of My Name, My Right

 





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LGBT Equality: Gay rights in Norway

According to recent surveys, Norway is one of the world’s best countries to be LGBTQ+. We take a look at the history of gay rights in Norway and what barriers remain in place.

 

By David Nikel

 

Life in Norway (02.01.2020) – https://bit.ly/2QXWWFe – Recent research by two American bloggers has put Scandinavia as the world’s friendliest region for LGBTQ+ travellers. The LGBTQ+ Danger Index ranks Sweden as the most friendly country, with Norway placed third. Beyond that, all the other Nordic nations placed well. The rankings for Finland (7th), Iceland (9th), Denmark (14th) were all in the upper reaches of the results.

 

The research was designed for travellers, but it looked at eight factors that impact lifestyle in general. These included the legal status of same-sex marriage, legal protections of worker rights, and whether a country had any anti-discrimination or anti-LGBTQ+ “morality” laws in place.

 

This means the research results were a great starting point for assessing wider attitudes within a culture.

 

Norway also scores well in the Rainbow Europe country ranking, placing 6th among 49 European countries. The index is based on laws pertaining to same-sex marriage, adoption, rights for transgender people, and more.

 

Now, let’s take a look more closely at the rights LGBTQ+ people have in Norway.

 

A steady improvement over time to LGBTQ+ rights

 

As with the other Nordic countries, Norway is regarded as one of the world’s most LGBTQ+ friendly nations. Generally speaking, there is high societal acceptance along with many equality laws. Most recently Norway has made major strides forward in the recognition of trans people and other gender issues.

 

Norway’s gay rights story can best be described as a “slow and steady” one. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 1972, when the age of consent was also equalised at 16. Then in 1981, Norway became one of the only countries in the world to include sexual orientation in an anti-discrimination law. But it took many years for many other laws to be brought up to date.

 

Gay marriage in Norway

 

Norway made gay marriage legal in 2009. Previously, Norway had been the second country to allow same-sex couples to enter into registered partnerships. This began in 1993, following Denmark in 1989.

 

Since the gay marriage law passed in 2009 it has not been possible to create new registered partnerships. However, those with that status can choose to keep it or convert to marriage. In the three years following the change, 754 partnerships were converted to marriages.

 

Gay marriage has also been possible in the Lutheran Church of Norway since 2017. When the change was announced the previous year, King Harald spoke about the value of diversity. He also said LGBTQ+ people are “part of the fabric of Norwegian life”. He also described Norwegians as “girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and boys and girls who love each other.”

 

His comments were termed a welcome gift by campaign groups in a year when populist politics was grabbing headlines. In particular, a neo-Nazi group based in Norway has used social media and leaflets to target the so-called “gay lobby.”

 

Public opinion remains positive. A 2017 Pew Research Center poll revealed that 72% of Norwegians support same-sex marriage. Less than one-in-five answered negatively.

 

Discrimination and hate crime

 

Norway recorded a world first in 1981 when it became the first country to enact an anti-discrimination law that included sexual orientation. This included the provision of goods or services and in access to public gatherings. Hate speech laws were swiftly amended to include LGBT people in the definition.

 

Anti-discrimination laws on employment have been in place since 1998, while discrimination based on gender has been in place since 2013.

 

LGBT Parenting in Norway

 

Under Norwegian law, married and committed same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children. Full adoption rights were granted in 2009, while adoption of stepchildren has been allowed since 2002. Artificial insemination is available for lesbian couples. In such cases, the other partner will have all the rights and duties of parenthood.

 

LGBT and Norway’s military

 

It is legal for openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve in all Armed Focus. Since 1979, they have held full rights including anti-discrimination. Transgender people are also permitted to serve.

 

Health issues for LGBT people

 

Norway was the first country in the world to make PrEP available by prescription from the national health service. PrEP is a daily HIV-prevention drug that is available to those people who are not HIV-positive but are in a high risk group. Since June 2017, gay and bisexual men have been permitted to donate blood in Norway.

 

Transgender rights

 

In 2016, Norway introduced a law permitting legal changes of gender with no psychiatric or psychological evaluation required. This also applies to those under 16 but only with parental consent. 190 people applied to change their gender within a month of the law coming into force.

 

As previously mentioned, transgender people are permitted to serve openly in all Norway’s Armed Forces. Transgender people are also covered by Norway’s anti-discrimination laws on issues such as housing and employment.


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