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Norway

Norway has been an OSCE participating State since June 25, 1973. It has periodically had its elections observed by the OSCE/ODIHR.

Norway is a constitutional monarchy in Scandinavia, bordering Sweden on one side and the North Sea on the other. It is a founding member of NATO as well as of the Council of Europe. Much of its wealth comes from the government-controlled petroleum industries, but it also has a thriving private sector.  Nearly 95 percent of its population of approximately 5.2 million is Norwegian, with 3.6 percent hailing from other European countries and the remaining 2 percent from other continents. Almost 85 percent of the population is Christian and 10.1 percent are unaffiliated.  Just under 4 percent of its population is Muslim, 0.5% is Hindu, 0.6% is Buddhist, and 0.1% is Jewish.

Norway has been a strong supporter of the OSCE process and outspoken on human rights concerns.  In addition to hosting a 1991 CSCE Seminar on Democratic Institutions, Norway chaired the OSCE in 1999, and has hosted OSCE PA meetings, including a 2005 Economic Seminar and the 2010 Annual Session.

The OSCE’s former High Commissioner on National Minorities from 2007-2013, Knut Vollebaek, also served as the OSCE’s Chair-in-Office and appeared at a hearing before the Helsinki Commission.

Commission delegations led by Senator Cardin attended the 2010 OSCE PA meeting in Norway, and visited Svalbard, Norway Global Seed Vault in the Arctic Circle to make additions to unique seed collections from around the world.

Following the 2011 Norway attacks by Anders Breivik, the Commission has had a heightened focus on human rights concerns in Norway, including gains by political parties that espouse hate; laws on circumcision and ritual slaughter, which impact Jewish and Muslim life; and monitoring discrimination towards non-ethnic Norwegians (such as Sami and Roma), including high rates of employment discrimination found for people of African descent.

Staff Contact: Alex Tiersky, senior policy advisor

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Publications

Helsinki Commission Summer 2021 Digital Digest

Aug 02, 2021

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Statements

Cardin and Wicker Discuss July 2021 Congressional De...

Jul 21, 2021

Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I take this time to talk about the work of the U.S. Helsinki Commission in a recent opportunity we had to participate in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. I am joined on the floor by Senator Wicker, who is the Republican chair of the Helsinki Commission. The two of us have worked […]

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Delegation Advances Priority Iss...

Jul 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) last week led a U.S. delegation to the 2021 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Annual Session in Vienna, Austria. The assembly was the first major gathering with an in-person component since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The 2021 […]

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Hearings

Sweden’s Leadership of the OSCE

Jun 11, 2021

In 2021, Sweden chairs the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—which comprises 57 participating States stretching from North America, across Europe, and to Central Asia and Mongolia. Even as the OSCE begins to emerge from the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is tackling other critical challenges, including Russia’s ongoing […]

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Press Releases

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde to Appear at Hels...

Jun 03, 2021

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following online hearing: SWEDEN’S LEADERSHIP OF THE OSCE Priorities for 2021 Friday, June 11, 2021 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Watch Live: https://www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission In 2021, Sweden chairs the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization for Security and Cooperation […]

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Commemorates 45 Years of Advanci...

Jun 03, 2021

WASHINGTON—To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, on June 3, Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD) and commission leaders Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) and Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following statements: “The Helsinki Commission has played a vital role in elevating […]

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Press Releases

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to Appear at Helsin...

Sep 09, 2020

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following online hearing: ALBANIA’S CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE OSCE Responding to the Multiple Challenges of 2020 Thursday, September 17, 2020 1:00 p.m. Watch Live: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission In 2020, Albania holds the chairmanship of the world’s largest regional security organization—the Organization […]

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Articles

2019 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

Sep 13, 2019

From September 16 to September 27, OSCE participating States will meet in Warsaw, Poland, for the 2019 Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).  As Europe’s largest annual human rights conference, the HDIM brings together hundreds of government and nongovernmental representatives, international experts, and human […]

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Press Releases

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem D...

Jul 17, 2019

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing: STATE OF MEDIA FREEDOM IN THE OSCE REGION Thursday, July 25, 2019 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Capitol Visitor Center Room HVC-210 Live Webcast: www.youtube.com/HelsinkiCommission Journalists working in the 57 participating States of the Organization for […]

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Publications

The Helsinki Process: A Four Decade Overview

Jun 28, 2019

In August 1975, the heads of state or government of 35 countries – the Soviet Union and all of Europe except Albania, plus the United States and Canada – held a historic summit in Helsinki, Finland, where they signed the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This document is known […]

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Briefings

Lies, Bots, and Social Media

Nov 29, 2018

From the latest revelations about Facebook to ongoing concerns over the integrity of online information, the U.S. public has never been more vulnerable or exposed to computational propaganda: the threat posed by sophisticated botnets able to post, comment on, and influence social media and other web outlets to generate a desired outcome or simply sow […]

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Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Briefing to Examine Computationa...

Nov 26, 2018

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following briefing:   LIES, BOTS, AND SOCIAL MEDIA What is Computational Propaganda and How Do We Defeat It? Thursday, November 29, 2018 10:30 a.m. Senate Dirksen Office Building Room 562 Live Webcast: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission From the latest revelations about […]

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