Ombudsman: – Norway fail minorities, especially Gypsies

Gypsy plaing the fiddle. Photo:

Equality Ombudsman – Norway fail national minorities, especially the Gypsies

Equal Opportunities and Discrimination Ombudsman, Hanne Bjurstrøm, believes that Norwegian authorities must ensure the rights of national minorities – including travelling Rom (Gypsies).


The Ombudsman believes that the Council of Europe’s report on national minorities should be a wake up call for the Norwegian authorities. The report was published Monday, may 29.

The Ombudsman oversees the Women’s Convention (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination (CERD).

– An important issue raised in the report is whether the rights under the convention also include traveling rooms. The committee recommends a more inclusive approach that I support. I therefore urge the authorities to ensure rights, including for visiting Rom, Bjurstrøm emphasizes.

The Council of Europe report on the protection of minorities shows that Norway does not do enough to protect minorities. The Ombudsman is concerned about racist comments and racially motivated harassment and discrimination; especially affecting Jews, Taters / Romani and Gypsies.

Perceived as organized criminals

– For example, Rom people with temporary residence in Norway are perceived as organized criminals that beg, steal and rob. We want more education about national minorities in school. Also we need more knowledge about discrimination, hate -speech and -crime affecting these, explains Bjurstrøm.

It is the fourth time that the Council of Europe is examining Norwegian practice in this area. Among the groups which are considered national minorities, Kvæner (Finns), Jews, Tater (Romani), Norwegian Rom and Forest Finns.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today