Interview with the Norwegian Ambassador Espen Lindbaeck

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Q: Is human rights part of the Norwegian government’s foreign diplomatic and aid policy?

A: The promotion and the protection of human rights is a core priority in Norwegian foreign policy and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constitutes a fundamental part of the international rule-based order that Norway actively seeks to support. It is not only a core priority, but it is a cross-cutting aspect for all our development assistants. Every time we have a project that is being reviewed, we consider the human rights aspect. It is indeed a high-priority issue for the Norwegian government.

Q: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes thirty basic rights. Which of those rights does Norway give more importance to?

A: The Norwegian government has for a long time given importance to human rights defenders. We find that these are people that go to great sacrifice so that they can defend the human rights of everybody. We focus a lot on that and especially when it comes to women human rights defenders. Women’s rights are a very strong priority in our focus. We think that it is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do particularly when it concerns women economically. I was impressed with the strong women I met at the Human Rights bazaar who are advocating for women’s rights including on the economic level. This reminds me of the speech given by our Queen during her visit to Jordan three years ago in which she said that the economic empowerment of women played a big role in Norway’s economic success even before the oil discoveries.

Q: How do you see Jordan’s efforts in raising awareness of human rights?

A: We follow closely the implementation of His Majesty’s vision on the political modernization agenda and included in that an increase in focus on transparency and political participation. Norway has a strong partnership with Jordan on human rights. We not only support women’s rights and gender issues but we have supported the government in the implementation of the women’s strategy and women’s peace and security agenda. Also, we have supported pay equity in the economic area and a global priority for us which is high journalistic quality here in Jordan we have been supporting and collaborating with the Community Media Network and this fantastic fair that CMN has made for human rights organizations, and we have seen those strong organizations. We believe that a strong civil society is important, and we have supported a number of their initiatives also Jordan Media Institute which has helped train high-quality journalists.

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