NPAs reactions to the Government platform

Jerusalem Cliff Mosque Wailing Wall Temple Mount Norwegian People's AidView of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Photo:

Norwegian People’s Aid’s reactions to the Government

Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) is inquisitive about the Norwegian Government’s Israel-Palestine policy.

The Norwegian Government state that they will pursue a balanced Middle East policy, while at the same time strengthening the strongest party through enhanced economic cooperation.

“If the Government wants to strengthen economic cooperation with Israel, they must at the same time make unequivocally clear that trade with Israel cannot include trade in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian soil. Norway should as soon as possible make an unequivocal recommendation to the business community to avoid all economic interaction with these settlements. It should be a matter of course that the majority Government will follow international law, but it will be important to clarify this,” Secretary-General of Norwegian People’s Aid, Henriette Killi Westhrin, announces.

Another part of the Government platform also gives cause for concern for its Palestine policy. In a point about combating hate speech, racism and anti-Semitism, the government specifically points out organisations in the Palestinian territories.

“Of course, we agree that organisations that utter hate speech should not receive support. But why should it be pointed to one nationality in this context? The Government should rather establish the civil society’s right to work for democratic and legitimate political affairs throughout the world, including Palestine,” Westhrin continues.

Like many other organizations, Norwegian People’s Aid has found that it is becoming increasingly difficult for civil society to work in Palestine, we want to work with the Norwegian authorities to ensure that both Palestinians and other ethnic groups are guaranteed the right to express themselves and work for social changes.

Development policy – business development must be followed by human rights, state building and strengthened civil society

In the development policy, the Norwegian Government attaches great importance to business cooperation and international trade. Economic development and job creation are important, but Norwegian People’s Aid believes that business development must be accompanied by a significant strengthening of state institutions, civil society and the protection of human rights.

In very many countries, civil society is under great pressure and democratic rights are threatened. We expect the Government to work for a balanced development policy that safeguards fundamental rights and equitable distribution of power and resources. If economic growth only benefits a small minority in a country, jobs will not contribute to less inequality. Norway has, through its support for the UNs sustainability goals, committed to working for less inequality. This must also apply to the business venture.

5,000 quota refugees – and something must be done with the situation of the paperless

“It is very good that children in reception will finally have the legal right to kindergarten on the same level as other children in Norway. We are also positive about the Government’s proposal for a one-time solution for older, unreturnable asylum seekers. The point must, however, be made concrete and designed in a way that ensures the elderly who have lived on reception over the age of 16 a worthy old age,” The Secretary-General stresses.

Norwegian People’s Aid has advocated that the number of quota refugees Norway accepts should have increased to 5,000 per year – and is naturally very disappointed that the Christian Democrats (KrF) and the Liberals (Venstre) failed to land this victory.

Norwegian People’s Aid is also disappointed that the paperless right to health care is not mentioned with a word in the declaration. Here, both the Christian Democrats and the Liberals lost a golden opportunity to raise one of their heart issues into the Norwegian Government’s tasks.

About the Norwegian People’s Aid

Norwegian People’s Aid is the Norwegian Trade Union’s humanitarian solidarity organisation. We are a member organisation, and our strategic areas are a fair distribution of power and resources and protection of life and health. We work within the main areas of international development cooperation, humanitarian disarmament, rescue service and refugee and integration. Norwegian People’s Aid has 2,200 employees in 40 countries.

© Norwegian People’s Aid / #Norway Today