• Norway's news in English
 

Saudi Arabia slams Norway on human rights

Published: 29 Apr 2014 09:31 GMT+02:00

Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries accused Norway of doing too little to protect its Muslim minority, with Saudi Arabia calling for all criticism of religions or their prophets to be made illegal. 
 
Meanwhile, Russia accused the country of allowing extremist groups to "operate freely" and of moving too quickly to separate children from their parents. 
 
Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende was in Geneva on Monday to respond to criticisms from no fewer than 91 other country's during a session of the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review, under which UN members take turns to go under scrutiny. 
 
Before Monday's hearing, Brende conceded to Norway's NTB newswire that many of the countries collected together to criticise Norway themselves hardly had spotless human rights records. 
 
"It is a paradox that countries which do not support fundamental human rights have influence on the council, but that is the United Nations," he said. 
 
Human Rights Watch's latest report on Saudi Arabia noted that in 2012 the country had "stepped up arrests and trials of peaceful dissidents, and responded with force to demonstrations by citizens."
 
"Authorities continue to suppress or fail to protect the rights of nine million Saudi women and girls and nine million foreign workers," it continued. "As in past years, thousands of people have received unfair trials or been subject to arbitrary detention. The year has seen trials against half-a-dozen human rights defenders and several others for their peaceful expression or assembly demanding political and human rights reforms."
 
The Netherlands and Italy also criticised Norway for the long periods crime suspects spend in police custody and pre-trial detention, with more than 40 percent of those arrested spending longer than the 48 hour maximum recommended by the United Nations. 

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'The glaciers are melting', Ban warned
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon meets journalists on Monday. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

'The glaciers are melting', Ban warned

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been told to expect the worst when he visits the Arctic islands of Svalbard on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Norwegian foreign minister Børge Brende warning that “climate change is happening in double quick time”. READ  

Oslo man tried to fire 'machine gun'
Photo: NTB scanpix

Oslo man tried to fire 'machine gun'

Norwegian police are chasing a man in his 60s who, witnesses say, attempted to fire a machine gun, according to Norwegian newspaper, Verdens Gang. READ  

EU report: Oslo lacks drug strategy
A heroin user injecting on the streets of Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Photo: Canada/Flickr

EU report: Oslo lacks drug strategy

A new EU report has found that Oslo, a city that for many years has topped the heroin overdose ranking, still lacks a comprehensive strategy to combat drug use. READ  

Norway proposes jailing fake asylum seekers
Welcome to Norway. Might asylum seekers now be spending time in Oslo prison? Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Norway proposes jailing fake asylum seekers

Norway’s justice minister has announced plans to jail asylum seekers if they do not have a good enough reason to seek refuge in Norway. READ  

Video
 Norway town breaks book domino record
The books laid out in Tvedestrand's sports hall. Photo: Screen Grab

Norway town breaks book domino record

A small town in Norway has broken the Guinness world record for the longest chain of books toppled as dominos. READ  

Charged NGO's allies slam Norway in UN
Professor Jean-François Fechino from International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights criticises Norway's actions on the floor of the UN. Photo: GNRD

Charged NGO's allies slam Norway in UN

The Stavanger-based NGO accused of money-laundering has hit back, denouncing Norway for acting like “a totalitarian regime” during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. READ  

Norwegians use steroids to get 'summer body'
Norwegian customs agents made a huge steroids haul at the Swedish border this year. Photo: Norwegian customs

Norwegians use steroids to get 'summer body'

Norwegian customs officials are blaming the desire for the perfect summer body for a massive leap in the quantities of illegal anabolic steroids and testosterone seized. READ  

92-yr-old absconds from nursing home with lover
The Vilberg nursing home in Eidsvold. Photo: Eidsvoll Municipality

92-yr-old absconds from nursing home with lover

The search for a 92-year-old woman who vanished from a old people's home in Norway has been called off after it turned out she had absconded with her Swedish lover. READ  

Sunday shopping 'breaks Norway constitution'
Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien. Photo: Church of Norway

Sunday shopping 'breaks Norway constitution'

Norway’s most senior bishop has declared that allowing shops to open on Sundays would violate the country’s constitution. READ  

Norway police pic sends temperatures soaring
Norwegian traffic police as photographed in 2010, and as photoshopped lust objects. Photo: Toni Kaarttinen/Flickr

Norway police pic sends temperatures soaring

They may not be armed but they’re certainly packing! A photo purporting to show a trio of buff Norwegian traffic police in their summer uniform has spread like wildfire across social media. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Oslo is the crystal meth capital of Europe
Sport
VIDEO: Man in Norway catches fish too big for boat
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
International
'Snowden could come to Norway to collect prize'
Technology
Oslo builds world's first bumblebee highway
Culture
World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
Norway's men soon to be among Europe's fattest
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,210
jobs available