Norway

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NORWAY 2021

The annual resettlement quota for refugees was continued but the government made clear that it could use its legal scope to refer asylum seekers back to other “safe countries”. Parliament adopted a new law obliging larger companies to ensure respect for human rights and decent working conditions throughout their operations and supply chains. Plans were announced to redefine rape as sexual intercourse without consent.

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

In July, the government announced that it would stop all deportations to Afghanistan.

The new government, elected in September, continued the annual resettlement quota commitment to accept 3,000 refugees. Separately, however, it announced that it would consider the possibility of using the “room for manoeuvre” in current legislation to “refer” asylum seekers back to so-called “safe countries” outside Europe if they had come to Norway via those countries. This meant that it could deprive asylum seekers of their right to apply for and receive asylum in Norway – something that would represent a serious setback in national refugee practice.

Corporate accountability

In June, the parliament adopted a corporate due diligence law based on the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The legislation required larger enterprises (a total of around 9,000 companies) to carry out due diligence with respect to human rights and decent working conditions in relation to their own operations, their supply chain and all business relationships within the value chain. It obliged companies to disclose key findings – as well as preventive measures taken to avoid adverse impacts – on an annual basis and to respond to specific enquiries within a three-week time limit.

Violence against women and girls

In October, the new government announced its intention to amend the Penal Code and to define sexual intercourse without consent as rape, in line with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), which it ratified in 2017.