NCHR at 25: A string of important seminars
The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) 25th anniversary this year has produced a string of seminars of major international significance.
The conference, Disability and development gathered a number of international participants. (photo:cba)
The Norwegian Institute for Human Rights - later renamed to Centre for Human Rights, the NCHR - has evolved through the years from a 5+ employee institution to one that exceeds 60 full time employees. Scientists, international programme officers and the administrative staff work to ensure general high standards, both academically and in the centre's various national and international affiliations.
Indigenous people's rights
The NCHR decided to arrrange a number of major seminars as part of its anniversary celebrations. In March the Centre hosted an international workshop/seminar on Indigenous peoples’ rights: Their emergence in international law and their contemporary implementation.The seminar had a threefold purpose: to celebrate the pioneering work on indigenous peoples' rights in the ILO and in the United Nations, to explore the present impact of that work, and to look ahead to desirable future developments. The seminar took place forty years after the initiation of the Martinez Cobo report and thirty years after the establishment of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, and represented a summary of status quo within this field.
HR in the Norwegian constitution
Later in March, the Centre invited some 200 politicians, scientists, public administration officials, legal officers, judges, NGO's and journalists to a joint luncheon to discuss the inclusion of a human rights protocol in the Norwegian constitution. The luncheon produced some of the most important arguments both in favour of, and in opposition to inclusion of such a protocol. The matter is to be decided by the Norwegian parliament as part of a general evaluation of the Norwegian constitution as part of its bicentennial in 2014.
Disability and development
In October, the NCHR, together with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, organised an international conference on disability rights and development. The conference was inter-disciplinary and aimed at both scholars and practitioners with an interest in the area. It took place in Oslo, and gathered participants from a number of countries. The Conference sought to analyse a range of questions concerning how disability rights impact the field of development. Papers focused on how to ensure that disability rights are mainstreamed into the development processes, and how to ensure that disabled persons are included and can participate in society on equal terms with others.
More seminars to come
In December, two more major seminars are due: First, Group Autonomy and Its Critics:Human Rights Perspectives, which takes place in Oslo on Dec. 7-8. The main objectives of this seminar are to encourage interdisciplinary and international reflection and exchange on core human rights dilemmas pertaining to group autonomy and publication of articles in a separate volume, or as individual papers in recognized journals.
A few days later time has come for a two day workshop called The Nordic Human Rights Paradox. This project explores the Nordic ambivalence towards human rights. On the one hand, the Nordic countries take pride in promoting human rights abroad. On the other hand, Nordic policymakers are increasingly opposed to the expansion of international human rights mechanisms. This paradox deserves more comprehensive analysis, taking both the domestic and international domains of policy and law into account.