Norway nudges Saudi Arabia

Human rights were on the agenda when Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide visited Saudi Arabia this week during a Middle East tour filled with “political conversations.” Søreide was keen on nudging Saudi Arabia towards showing more respect for human rights, while the Saudis claim they won’t let anyone tell them what to do. “Saudi Arabia […]

MP accuses China of ‘manipulation’

UPDATED: “It’s clear China has manipulated us,” declared a Member of Parliament to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Tuesday afternoon. MP Petter Eide was responding to NRK’s report about how the Chinese Embassy in Oslo managed to prevent Amnesty International from mounting a protest when China’s third most-powerful man visits the Norwegian Parliament on Wednesday. Eide […]

New ambassador needed in China

Just weeks after organizing a conciliatory state visit to China following a lengthy diplomatic freeze, Norway’s foreign ministry needs to place a new ambassador in Beijing. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wants to name Geir O Pedersen, Norway’s current ambassador to China, as his special envoy in Syria, leaving the Norwegians to replace Pedersen at […]

State visit ‘renews’ Chinese friendship

Norway’s King Harald V got some support from Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, both in the literal and figurative sense. Xi reportedly slowed his pace and helped the 81-year-old monarch up some stairs during state visit ceremonies in Beijing, and confirmed that the two countries are friends again. “With this visit we are renewing […]

King to speak up while in China

Norway’s King Harald V was winning praise after he said he would bring up human rights concerns during a meeting with China’s authoritarian president Xi Jinping this week. Norway’s leader of Amnesty International called the king’s stated intention to be on the offensive “very gratifying.” The monarch, who is on a state visit to China […]

Minister disappoints on human rights

UPDATED: Norway’s Culture Minister Linda Hofstad Helleland wound up a six-day trip to China over the weekend without mentioning a word about human rights abuses when speaking with her Chinese counterparts. She disappointed, even “shocked,” human rights activists at home in Norway who wanted her to bring up all the jailed authors, journalists and others in China […]

Free trade deal tops Norway’s agenda

Norway’s Trade Minister Monica Mæland arrived in Beijing a day ahead of her government colleagues, eager to start negotiating a new free trade agreement between Norway and China. That’s her top priority as the two countries resume relations after a six-year diplomatic freeze. “We agreed to start free trade negotiations within five months,”  Mæland of […]

Amnesty objects to Solberg’s China trip

The human rights organization Amnesty International is strongly criticizing Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s trip to Beijing next week, which aims to officially restore Norway’s diplomatic relations with China. Amnesty wants human rights to be on the agenda, claiming that its omission sends “a dangerous signal.” Solberg’s upcoming trip was first announced last December, when China […]

Legal community condemns Turkey

Norway’s entire legal community, represented by professional organizations for the country’s judges, legal scholars and attorneys, has sent a letter to Foreign Minister Børge Brende expressing deep concern for their colleagues in Turkey. They’re asking Brende to consider sending a formal state complaint about the Turkish government’s political meddling in its own judiciary branch, to the European […]

Honduran priest wins Rafto Prize

The Bergen-based foundation that awards the annual Rafto Prize for Human Rights announced Thursday that this year’s winner is the Honduran priest Ismael Moreno Coto, better known as Padre Melo. He was hailed for his defense of “freedom of expression in one of the most violent countries in the world.” The Rafto Prize jury cited Padre Melo, […]