Tougher on China, ‘shamed’ on Assange

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt declared on Wednesday that China has been putting “unacceptable” political pressure on Lithuania. It’s the closest Norway has come to criticizing China after a long diplomatic freeze of its own finally ended, but it comes just as Huitfeldt is also being “shamed” for not protesting the pending extradition of […]

‘Word of the year’ chides Qatar, China…

Last year Norway’s national language council (Språkrådet) chose a variation of “Corona” (koronaen) as the one new word that was most used or had a defining effect on society. This year’s word: “sportsvaske,” the Norwegian equivalent of the “sportswashing” that describes how authoritarian countries’ leaders use international sports to help clean up their bad image. […]

Minister drops Olympics in Beijing

Norway’s government minister in charge of sports and culture has decided not to travel to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, in a move widely viewed as a sign of her concern over the lack of human rights in China. Norwegian football officials, however, have opted to travel to Qatar this month, claiming it would present […]

Qatar’s ambassador summoned to Oslo

Norway’ foreign ministry called in Qatar’s ambassador to Norway on Wednesday, after two journalists from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) were arrested while on assignment in Qatar earlier this week. Their alleged offense while covering the run-up to the controversial World Cup in Qatar next year: taking photos on what local officials claimed was private property. Their […]

NRK journalists arrested in Qatar

Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt and Norway’s embassy in Abu Dhabi took contact with authorities in Qatar after two journalists from Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) were arrested by police in Qatar late Sunday night. They’d spent last week gathering information in connection with the upcoming World Cup, and the Norwegian government is shaken over how officials in […]

Ambassador rebuked in Turkey

Norway’s Embassy in Turkey has been scolded and its ambassador among those called in for a rebuke by the Turkish government on Tuesday. His offense was the Norwegian Embassy’s participation in a demonstration, along with nine other embassies in Ankara, against Turkey’s imprisonment of government critic Osman Kavala. Ambassador Erling Skjønsberg and the nine others […]

World Cup protest gains momentum

UPDATED: They won their latest qualifying match to play in the next World Cup, but Norway’s national men’s football team marked its uneasiness this week over Qatar as the World Cup’s venue. That grabbed international attention, and now Norway’s head coach hopes other national teams will also pressure Qatar into honouring human rights. Germany did, on […]

Qatar boycott now up to the players

Norway’s football federation (NFF) managed to avoid discussion over the weekend on rising calls to boycott the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Now it may be up to the national football team’s players themselves to take up the ball, or at least try to make the international football federation FIFA more human-rights oriented. It was a […]

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 […]