Act relating to the Norwegian National Human Rights Institution

MinistryThe Ministry of Justice and Public Security
Last amendedAct -2022-12-20-117, from 01.01.2023
PublishedIn 2015 Norwegian Law Gazette 5
Entry into force1 July 2015
Made public22 May 2015 at 15.20
Short titleHuman Rights Institution Act

Section 1. Purpose and scope

The purpose of the Act is to establish a national institution for human rights, the Norwegian Human Rights Institution, (NIM).

The primary task of the Norwegian Human Rights Institution is to promote and protect human rights in accordance with the Constitution, the Human Rights Act and other legislation, international treaties and international law.

Section 2. Relationship with the Storting (Parliament)

The Norwegian Human Rights Institution shall perform its tasks freely and independently and shall decide how its work is to be organised and carried out.

The institution shall submit an annual report to the Storting on the institution’s activities and the development of the human rights situation in Norway. Such reports shall be made by 1 April each year and shall include the activities of the institution during the period 1 January to 31 December of the preceding year.

The institution may, if it reveals circumstances of such a nature that the Storting should be notified, issue special reports to the Storting.

The institution’s reports shall be public.

The Storting may issue supplementary provisions regarding the institution’s activities.

Section 3. The functions of the national institution

The Norwegian Human Rights Institution shall contribute to strengthening the implementation of human rights in accordance with the Paris Principles on the status of National Institutions, in particular by:

a) monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Norway, including by making recommendations to ensure that Norway’s human rights obligations are fulfilled,

b) advising the Storting, the Government, the Sami Parliament and other public bodies and private parties on the implementation of human rights,

c) disseminating information about human rights, including by providing guidance to individuals about national and international complaints mechanisms,

d) promoting the teaching, education and research on human rights,

e) facilitating cooperation with relevant public bodies and other parties engaged in human rights work,

f) participating in international cooperation to promote and protect human rights.

The institution does not have an individual complaints mechanism to consider cases concerning violations of human rights.

Section 4. The governance of the national institution

The Norwegian Human Rights Institution shall be governed by a board and a director.

Section 5. The composition and appointment of the board

The board of the Norwegian Human Rights Institution shall consist of five members.

The board members shall represent different fields, including legal expertise on human rights, and the board shall have organisational management expertise. One of the board members shall have particular knowledge of Sami matters. The board shall have at least two members of each gender.

The Storting elects the board, including the chair and deputy chair of the board. The Storting shall actively inform about the right to nominate candidates to the board, in order to ensure an open and consultative process.

Board members shall be elected for a term of four years. Members may be re-elected, but no one may serve on the board for more than two periods. No more than three members should be replaced at the same time.

The Presidency of the Storting determines the remuneration of the board members.

Section 6. The duties of the board

The board has the overall responsibility for the institution’s activities, finances and operation. The board shall adopt an overall strategy for the activities, approve the national institution’s activity plan, submit annual reports to the Storting, submit annual accounts, and submit annual budget proposals to the Storting’s Presidency. The board determines the institution’s financial regulations based on the state’s financial regulations.

The board has a quorum when at least three members are present.

Section 7. The director

The Norwegian Human Rights Institution’s day-to-day activities shall be led by a director.

The director shall be appointed for a period of six years by the institution’s board following external announcement. Following a new external announcement, he or she may be appointed for another period of six years. The board determines the director’s salary, pension and other working conditions in accordance with the agreements and provisions that apply to employees in government positions.

The director shall meet strict requirements regarding formal qualifications and personal suitability, including legal qualifications or other human rights qualifications, and he or she should have experience in human rights work.

The board may only dismiss the director if he/she is guilty of a gross breach of duty or other material breach of the employment contract that is incompatible with the trust required to serve in the position of director of the institution. The procedural rules of the Civil Servants Act apply to the extent they are appropriate.

The director is responsible for the day-to-day administrative, personnel and academic management of the institution and for the institution’s internal organisation within the framework established by the board. The director is the secretary of the board, prepares and makes his/her recommendation on matters presented to the board, and is responsible for implementing board resolutions. The director participates in board meetings but does not have voting rights.

Section 8. The staff

The director has day-to-day employer responsibility for the institution’s staff. Staff members are appointed by the board based on recommendations by the director. Sections 4 to 7 of the Civil Servants Act relating to announcements, recommendations and appointments apply. Disputes concerning preferential rights pursuant to Section 13 of the Civil Servants Act shall be decided by the board.

More detailed provisions regarding the appointment procedure and right to delegate the board’s authority shall be set out in staff regulations. The Storting’s Presidency may revise the personnel regulations.

In connection with appointments, it shall be taken into consideration that the institution shall have a broad range of expertise, including on the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

The staff’s salary, pension and working conditions are determined by the director in accordance with the provisions that apply to civil service employees.

The Public Administration Act applies in cases concerning disciplinary penalty, discharge, suspension or dismissal. The appellate body is the Presidency of the Storting.

The Act of 18 July 1958 No. 2 on Public Service Disputes applies to employees of the institution.

Section 9. Advisory committee

The board appoints an advisory committee affiliated to the institution that shall have no fewer than ten and no more than fifteen members. The director shall propose members.

The Advisory Committee shall contribute with information, advice and input to the work of the institution.

The Advisory Committee shall consist of members from civil society organizations, academia or other particularly qualified professional groups, the Parliamentary Ombud for Scrutiny of the Public Administration, the Ombudsperson for Children, the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud and other particularly affected public institutions. At least one member shall have special knowledge of Sami issues.

The director convenes and chairs the meetings of the Advisory Committee.

Section 10. Assistance from public authorities for the national institution

Public authorities and other parties that carry out tasks on behalf of the government administration shall provide such assistance as is necessary to enable the Norwegian Human Rights Institution to discharge its functions under this Act.

Section 11. Right of access to documents

Anyone may require access to the institution’s case documents, journals and similar registers. The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and associated regulations apply correspondingly, to the extent applicable. Documents exchanged between the Storting and the institution, and which relate to the institution’s budget and internal administration, may be exempted from public disclosure.

Chapter II of the Archives Act, with the exception of sections 7 and 8, applies to the institution’s activities. Associated regulations apply as far as they are appropriate.

The director, or a person authorised by the director, shall decide whether a document is to be wholly or partly exempt from public access. Such decisions can be appealed to the board.

Section 12. Duty of confidentiality

Everyone who performs services for or works for the national institution has a duty to prevent others from gaining access to or knowledge of information of a personal nature that comes to their attention in connection with their service or work. The duty of confidentiality also applies to information concerning operating and organisational secrets, and information that is classified under the Security Act or the Document Protection Instructions.

The duty of confidentiality also applies after a person leaves his/her service or work. He or she may not make use of such information as mentioned in the first paragraph in his/her own business or in service or work for others.

Otherwise, the provisions of the Public Administration Act Sections 13 a. to 13 g. shall apply to the extent they are relevant.

Section 13. Processing of personal data

The Norwegian Human Rights Institution may process personal data, including personal data as mentioned in Articles 9 and 10 of the General Data Protection Regulation1REGULATION (EU) 2016/ 679 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL – of 27 April 2016 – on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/ 46/ EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (, when this is necessary to perform tasks under this Act.

Section 14. Application of the Act Relating to National Security ( the Security Act)

For the institution’s board and personnel, the provisions on the processing of classified information and personnel security in the Security Act and regulations and the protection instructions apply. The Storting’s administration is the clearance authority. The Presidency of the Storting is the appellate authority for decisions made by the Storting’s administration.