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“Not Arrested” – Norwegian Ombud investigates Oslo Police District on UN Racial Discrimination Convention Grounds

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“The LDO is under the statutory duty to monitor whether Norwegian law and administrative practices are in accordance with Norway’s obligations pursuant to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination”

Please visit the page “Norwegian Police Violence and Human Rights” to see the full investigative series of articles on this case.

Norway’s Equality and Anti-descrimination Ombud has issued a formal letter to the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs. This is regarding the investigation of a case made public by Circus Bazaar in 2013. The purpose is to stress the importance of Human Rights consideration in their investigation and to request a briefing on the outcome.

Investigation and Responsibility under International Conventions

It is the Equality and Anti-descrimination Ombuds statutory duty to Norwegian society to ensure that practices by Norwegian Law enforcement are in accord with Norway’s responsibility’s as party to the “United Nations International Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Racial Discrimination”. In reference to this particular case is Article 5 of the convention which states that nations “guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law”.

In recent times the body of independent experts that monitor the implementation of this convention (CERD) has encouraged states to prevent “inhuman and degrading treatment” during arrests. This particularly applies to migrant groups that are clearly more vulnerable to mis-treatment at the hands of authorities. In this particular case the individual experiencing the special treatment at the hands of multiple Norwegian Law enforcement officials is both an ethnic minority and registered as seeking asylum in Europe. Special treatment in which is in all probability in contradiction to basic human rights. This gives the Norwegian Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud the authority in which to pursue an independent investigation of Norwegian Police Methods, and this particular case.

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The Norwegian Anti Discrimination Ombud sent a letter to the Norwegian Bureau for the investigation of police affairs requesting a Human Rights aspect to the investigation.

Oslo Police District

In regards to this particular treatment it is not at all clear to what extent forensic searches of individuals internal cavities with police weaponry in public had been used as an undocumented practice within the Oslo Police District. Statements issued clearly paint a contradictory picture to this effect. Last year Circus Bazaar published a article bringing attention to the fact that Oslo Police District had edited their formal press release on the matter. What was once referenced as “this practice should cease immediately” mysteriousley was altered to a “method that is not allowed”.

Further, formal questions asked by the Ombud on “How widespread has this practice been?” have been replied with the answer

the Oslo Police District has no indication that using this method has been a practice” yet “Investigations undertaken after the incident in question show, however, that the method has been known by many.

Impunity and Responsibility

Compounding the confusion is the openness in which these particular police officers were content to perform this “practice/method” described as “inhuman and degrading” in full public view without any concern for public scrutiny.

One can only tremble at the thought that despite the fact the “the substance was in this case most likely swallowed” that “no ambulance was called” and “the person was not taken to the ER”.  Witnesses recount that a secondary police unit arrived on the scene and vacated both the handcuffed men however Oslo Police District state that the “person in the case in question was not arrested in connection with the incident”.

If he was not arrested and he was not given medical treatment then where was he taken?

The Norwegian Bureau for the investigation of Police affairs or more commonly known as the “Special Unit” has the “responsibility for investigating cases that involve the question of whether a person serving in the police or prosecuting authorities has committed a criminal offence in the service.” However, their ability to effectively investigate and prosecute criminal misconduct has been a topic of some debate in many circles.

A striking example of which was a 2012 report in which they criticised Oslo Police District for the forced transportation of foreign beggars to various locations including in some cases “driven to and left at petrol stations on the main E-18 road to Sweden“. In the absents of formal arrest and correct logging of information on behalf of officers the Special Unit claims “no grounds have been identified in which to conclude that punishable acts have been committed in the cases dealt with in Bereau“.

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