Norway's Initial Report



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Article 17 Protecting the integrity of the person

147. Under Article 102, second paragraph of the Constitution, authorities of the state must ensure the protection of personal integrity. The first sentence, third paragraph of Article 104 of the Constitution states that children also have the right to protection of their personal integrity.


148. Persons with disabilities have the right to respect for their physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others. The Health and Care Services Act and the Patients’ Rights Act both state that everyone is entitled to receive worthy services from the municipal health and care services. This means that the overall service must be organised in such a way as to safeguard the physical and mental integrity of the individual.
149. Examination and treatment of mental illness in persons who lack the capacity to consent and who have, or are assumed to have, a severe mental disorder or who refuse health care may only be conducted with legal basis in the Mental Health Care Act. The Act shall ensure that the implementation of mental health care complies with the fundamental principles of the rule of law and respect for human dignity.

Health care and consent


150. Under the Patients’ Rights Act, the fundamental rule is that health care may only be provided with the patient's consent. Any exceptions to the general rule must be based on law or on "another valid legal basis". For consent to be deemed valid, the patient must have received the necessary information about his or her state of health and on the content of the health care. The Act states that persons aged over 18 have the right to give their consent (are competent to consent) unless special provisions dictate otherwise. The same applies to persons aged between 16 and 18 unless special provisions or the nature of the measure dictate otherwise. Parents or other persons with parental responsibility have the right to consent to health care for patients aged under 16. However, the Act stipulates that increasing importance must be attached to the child’s opinion as he or she grows older and more mature. When the child has reached 12 years of age, he or she must be allowed to express an opinion on all questions concerning his or her own health. The capacity to consent may cease to apply fully or partly if the patient, "on account of a physical or mental disorder" is clearly incapable of understanding what the consent entails. Bearing in mind the patient’s age, mental state, maturity and experience, health care professionals must do their best to enable the patient to give consent to health care.
151. The provisions in the Patients’ Rights Act governing health care for patients who refuse health care entered into force in 2009. The purpose of these provisions is to provide the necessary health care in order to prevent serious adverse health consequences and to prevent and limit the use of coercion. The preparatory works to the Act state that the Ministry will ensure that the provisions in the bill are thoroughly assessed.

Sterilisation


152. As a general rule, requests for sterilisation must be submitted by the person who wishes to be sterilised. If the person is aged under 18, has a severe mental illness, a severe learning disability or a severe mental disorder, both the person concerned and his or her guardian must give their consent. Under the Sterilisation Act, a guardian may apply for sterilisation on behalf of a person with a mental illness, learning disability or mental disorder that is so severe that the person concerned lacks the capacity to form his or her own opinion on the intervention, and no cure or significant improvement can be expected. Applications for sterilisation are considered by a sterilisation board, which is headed by the county governor and consists of two other members appointed by the Government.

Abortion


153. The general rule is that the woman herself decides whether an abortion should be performed (within 12 weeks) and whether she wishes to apply for an abortion (weeks 12 to 22). If a woman has a severe mental illness or significant intellectual disabilities, her guardian may submit the request for an abortion on her behalf. The woman's consent must be obtained if she can be assumed to have the capacity to understand the significance of the procedure. If the woman's consent is not obtained, the pregnancy may only be terminated with the consent of the county governor.
154. The county governor may only consent to termination if this is clearly in the best interests of the woman. See Article 22 for more details.

Article 18 Liberty of movement and nationality

155. Under Article 106 of the Constitution, everyone who resides in the realm may move freely within the borders of the realm and choose their place of residence there. No-one may be denied the right to leave the realm unless it is necessary in the interests of effective legal proceedings or the performance of military service. Norwegian citizens may not be refused entry into the realm.


156. Norway applies no special regulations to persons with disabilities with regard to liberty of movement, the freedom to choose their place of residence or to citizenship. To obtain Norwegian citizenship, applicants must meet requirements for participating in Norwegian language training, must have or must meet the requirements for a permanent residence permit, must not have had any sanctions imposed upon them, and must be released from any other nationality if it is possible and reasonable to require this. An applicant who has been sanctioned for a criminal offence must serve a waiting period before citizenship can be granted. The authorities have distributed a consultation paper proposing requirements for successful completion of a test on Norwegian society and a minimum level of proficiency in spoken Norwegian before Norwegian citizenship can be granted. Under the current system, exemptions from the requirement to complete Norwegian language training may be granted in circumstances where health issues or other compelling reasons make it unreasonable to impose a requirement to complete such training. This applies to individuals who are unable to participate in and complete Norwegian language training. Similar exemptions have been proposed in the consultation paper proposing requirements for successful completion of a test on Norwegian society and a minimum level of proficiency in spoken Norwegian. The training must be adapted to the individual participants, including those with disabilities.

157. Under the Immigration Regulations, a condition governing family immigration is that the family member applying for residence is assured subsistence through the reference person's employment income. However, the requirement for assured subsistence may be deemed to be met if the reference person receives a disability pension under the National Insurance Act. The regulations imply that persons with permanently reduced capacity for work may nonetheless bring their family to Norway.


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