Annual Review 2013
Norway continued to expand its LGBTI equality framework through: (i) the extension of the national asylum guidelines to cover gender based persecution, including against trans and intersex people; and (ii) an increase in the amount of funding available for action to tackle hate violence. This said, the country still has gaps to address in relation to rights of trans people, in particular in relation to gender recognition legislation and proper access to health.
Access to goods and services
- In November, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombudsman decided that a lesbian couple had been discriminated against in access to housing as they were denied the ability to rent a house after the landlord was informed about their sexual orientation. The decision is the first of its kind regarding the non-discrimination section of the Tenancy Act.
- In March, the Supreme Court ruled on a case pending from 2011 regarding an asylum seeker from Iraq. Citing the UK Supreme Court judgement given of July 2010, the court ruled that gays and lesbians should not be coerced into returning to their country of origin and ‘hiding their sexuality’ to avoid persecution. In June, the Ministry of Justice changed the guidelines on gender based persecution accordingly, and included trans and intersex people.
- In spite of the above, in October, an openly gay Afghan asylum seeker was deported to Afghanistan on the grounds that the Immigrations Appeals Board did not find his “alleged homosexuality” credible. LLH, Queer Youth and Queer World strongly advocated against his deportation and organised a rally in front of the Norwegian Parliament. Around the same time, a lesbian couple from Iran, after three years of waiting for a decision, received asylum in Norway. LLH and the Norwegian Bar Association were involved in their lengthy application procedure.
Bias motivated violence
- In October, the Government stated that it will increase its annual support to fight homophobic violence with 700,000 NOK (circa €95,000).
Equality and non-discrimination
- During 2012, the Pink Competence project, launched in 2006 to train staff within the Norwegian healthcare system on how to receive LGBT people in a professional manner, was expanded to the justice and educational sectors.
- During 2012, LLH extended their advocacy on foreign policy work on LGBT issues to include Eastern Europe.
- In June, Save the Children Norway published the results of a study of the situation for young LGBT people in Vietnam and Nepal. This was a starting point for cooperation between Save the Children Norway and LLH on LGBT youth and children outside Norway.
Freedom of expression
- In May and June, LLH met with Kiyv Pride, Gay Alliance of Ukraine, Nash Mir, Fulcrum, Gay Forum of Ukraine and a representative from the Ombudsman of Ukraine regarding Kyiv Pride in May 2012. Together with Kyiv Pride, LLH asked the Norwegian embassy to support Pride 2013. The decision is still pending.
- In June, Queer Youth and LLH organised a demonstration outside the Ukrainian Embassy against the proposed ‘anti-homosexual propaganda’ laws.
- In June, Polina Savchenko from the Russian organisation Coming Out in St Petersburg was invited to the LGBT event Skeive dager to discuss the ‘antihomosexual propaganda’ laws. During her visit she met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, head of the Norwegian Parliament Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. She also met with Håkon Haugli, the LGBT rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Norway.
- In November, in views of trans people’s lack of access to proper health services, LLH sent an open letter to the Ministry of Health. Among other issues, the letter called for a ban on compulsory sterilisation and an end to the pathologisation of trans identities.