MiRA-Senteret ble i år invitert til å delta i FNs rasediskrimineringskomité, CERD, 78. sesjon i Genève. Her var Norge blant de i alt 12 land som ble eksaminert av komiteen om regjeringens arbeid for å bekjempe fordommer og diskriminering i Norge. MiRA-Senteret har vært bidragsyter til en skyggerapport som kommenterer regjeringens redegjørelse til FNs rasediskrimineringskonvensjon, og som også ble lagt til grunn for eksaminasjonen av delegasjonen fra Norge. MiRA-Senteret har i vårt bidrag til rapporten påpekt ting i Regjeringens redegjørelse som gjelder minoritetskvinners situasjon i Norge, og våre hovedpunkter ble gjengitt i vårt innlegg til komiteen.

MiRA-Senterets innlegg på møte med CERD:


Race, gender and ethnic discrimination
MiRA-Senterets innlegg på møte med CERD komiteen!

v/Fakhra Salimi

Women migrants, refugees, black and ethnic minority women living in Norway face multiple forms of discrimination. In our shadow report to the committee, we have highlighted a few areas of concern where black and ethnic minority women are most vulnerable.

The legal rights of black and ethnic minority women are under constant risk to be marginalized. In our shadow report article 157, we emphasize the fact that several restrictive measures have heightened the threshold for family reunification with spouses and minor children. One of them is the subsistence requirement. I would not go into detail here as we have already described it in length in our report, but the consequences of this requirement are that many black and ethnic minority women, who fall out from the labor market due to various reasons, would have difficulty to be reunited with their families.

These restrictions also have an indirect discriminatory effect on the elderly persons particularly women who might find a partner in another country and would like to live with him in Norway. We have already cited a case in our report (page. 28).

The legal status of women migrants, who come to Norway through family reunification, is dependent on their spouses’ legal status for the first three years. During this period, many women and children who are victims of physical or psychological violence and other forms of abuse, have a difficulty to seek help. They are afraid to lose their residence permit and be deported to their country of origin. The present legislation is not enough to protect and strengthen these women’s legal position in a new society. It is therefore recommended by the NGO’s to abolish the three years rule in order to protect women migrants’ legal position.

There is a little information available in various languages on the rights of women to protect them against gender, racial and ethnic discrimination. Therefore, they very seldom report the cases to the police. We recommend that the rights information must be provided to black and ethnic minority women in the languages they understand and the awareness raising programs such as run by the MiRA Centre must be strengthened.

In reference to article 5 I D no 4, point 143-144 in the state periodic report on forced marriages we are concerned about several issues- reference to our report article 199 – 204.

We feel that issues of forced marriages and genital mutilation are over emphasized compared to the need of creating job opportunities and combating gender, racial and ethnic discrimination which is the major hindrance for a better integration of women with black and ethnic minority backgrounds. Many of the measures to combat forced marriages seem to be in line with general restrictive immigration policies rather than addressing the multiple forms of discrimination.

We feel also that over dimensional focus on forced marriages and genital mutilation has stigmatized the young black and ethnic minority women and has affected the public opinion towards more negative attitudes towards black and ethnic minority communities. We have registered several cases of discrimination and derogatory remarks by the fellow students in schools, and in some instances from the teachers, regarding the cultures of origin of young minority students. 

During the four years of action plan combating forced marriages (2008 – 2011), the black and ethnic minority women’s organizations such as the MiRA Centre, have been marginalized within the public discourse; while some of the ethnic Norwegian women’s organizations and the government institutions have mainstreamed the issues from the point of view of the majority society.  There has been an imbalance in the allocation of economic resources to the black and ethnic minority communities and the governments own institutions. 

We assert that in order to combat forced marriages and female genital mutilation, it is important to work with the communities involved. The targeted prevention efforts of the organizations working within these areas must not be marginalized and the community-based organizations such as the MiRA centre must receive adequate financial support.

Black and ethnic minority women who are the victim of violence are often over representative in some of the shelter homes. They usually live in the shelter homes much longer than ethnic Norwegian women and children. One of the reasons we have registered is the discrimination of single mothers in the housing market.  Shelter homes are not equipped with appropriate language and work training facilities for women. And they certainly are not places for children to remain over a longer period of time.

The living conditions and the experience of violence and abuse over a longer period of time, often results into the deterioration of mental and physical health of women and children.  The MiRA Centre has recently conducted a brief survey to document the culturally sensitive health facilities for black and ethnic minority women and children who are victims of violence and physical abuse in Oslo. Our findings are quite disturbing as most of the health institutions we have approached, have reported that they do not have adequate knowledge and culturally sensitive approach to the mental health issues and there is no special competence within the staff on the specific conditions of black and ethnic minorities.   

Gender mainstreaming is one of the priority areas of the Norwegian state. Unfortunately, black and ethnic minority women are marginalized within this priority area. In order to gender mainstream black and ethnic minority women, there is a need for more resources provided to the minority women’s organizations, more gender and racial expertise and more effective tools in public administration.

There is a gap between gender policy statements and the considerations given to the particular situation of black and ethnic minority women. To bridge this gap and have the results of an integrated integration policy, we request the State party to strengthen the position of black and ethnic minority women.

In many areas, gender and race specific measures are necessary to promote equality for black and ethnic minority women. Without channeling the resources to obtain knowledge, to develop tools and to ensure the implementation, any strategy for mainstreaming their issues will remain inadequate. See the shadow report.

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