Alternative report to the un human Rights Committee regarding Norway’s sixth Periodic report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights December 2010



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Norway provides necessary health care to asylum seekers, including TB screening and treatment if positive on this test. The health authorities have issued guidelines specifying the right to health care in the different stages of the asylum seeking procedure. The right to health care in acute situations is generally granted in practice, but problems arise when the asylum seeker is in need of more specialized health care, including care and treatment related to sequelae of torture. Access to mental health care assistance is particularly difficult.

As the right to health care in practice basically is in the hands of the local health provider, services may come out quite differently from one municipality compared to the next and from one asylum centre to the next. And there are frequent reports of health problems, somatic as well as mental, and even in relation to consequences of severe human rights violations, that are not met and that persons with such needs have been refused, often on the basis of a reluctance to initiate treatment in a situation where the stay in Norway can come to an end on short notice. This practice may be seen as discriminatory. It is therefore important that the Norwegian health authorities develop more specific provisions in relation to equal rights to equal care when needed, and that services in particular in relation to health problems due to human rights abuses, are dealt with, and irrespective of the person’s ability to finance such services.



Recommendations to Norway:
- Strengthen the collaboration between the different instances involved in health care and reception conditions in order to ensure that necessary health care, including psychological/psychiatric services are provided to asylum seekers.
- Give special focus to the health care needs of asylum seekers with special needs, in particular persons who have been exposed to severe human rights abuses, such as torture and sexual violence.
- Provide annual statistics or reports on how the health care needs of asylum seekers are being met.




ICCPR Art.

Subject

State Report para.

Keyword

6

Access to health care for stranded asylum seekers and irregulars


Not mentioned

De-facto access to emergency health care and other necessary health care

Stranded asylum seekers and other irregulars have difficulty receiving health care. Individuals belonging to this group have the right to receive emergency health care, but may decide not to make use of this right since the authorities have not given a declaration that an irregular will not be apprehended upon contact with emergency health personnel.

A pro-bono medical centre run by the Norwegian Red Cross, the Church City Mission and a group of volunteer doctors, nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists, provides medical services to stranded asylum seekers and irregulars at a concealed address in Oslo. The centre has limited hours and works at the full of their capacity. Such centers do not exist in other parts of the country. The police has agreed not to survey the centre and the authorities has agreed not to prosecute its participants under the penal provision of the Immigration Act of 2008 section 108(3) for wilfully assisting an illegal immigrant’s stay in Norway, that may be penalized with fines and up to three years in prison under the Act.



 Recommendation:

The right of stranded asylum seekers and other irregulars to receive medical care should be provided in law.

ICCPR Article 7


ICCPR Art.

Subject

State Report para

Keyword

7

Pre-trial detention


51

Relevance to ICCPR Article 7

The Government has chosen to consider pre-trial detention and police custody under Article 9 but we believe these issues should be considered in relation to Article 7 as well, as the most critical detention conditions tend to be inhuman. Despite this disagreement, we follow the organisation of the state report for easier reference.

ICCPR Art.

Subject

State Report para.

Keyword

7

Female Genital Mutilation


52-60

FGM as torture in asylum cases
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