Walter Keim, E-Mail:
Almbergskleiva 64
NO-6657 Rindal, 10.7.2015

Council of Europe
Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Subject: What is the solution that NORWAY ranks highest in Europe in use of coercion in psychiatry including human rights breach forced drugging?

Dear Secretary General,

thank you for your report human rights 2000 (Menneskerettigheter 2000: Årsrapport om norsk innsats for menneskerettighetene) as Foreign Minister in Norway defining the aim to reduce coercion in health care in Norway («Målet er å redusere bruken av tvang»). Human rights are also for Norwegian patients.

Unfortunately your successors messed up totally, with one third increase of coercion (4). 5 UN Committees are now concerned about reducing and removing coercion in psychiatry in Norway (3).

I refer to Commissioner for Human Rights CoE visit of and report on Norway (1) with the call to end practices which result in forced institutionalisation and treatment of people with disabilities.

I have always appreciated and admired your visionary approach and would like to draw your attention to this solution according to General Assembly in resolution 60/147 (2005) (thank you WSO, CRPD Committee, 30 March 2015) to overcome these human right violations:

Norway has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as 130. state. I also refer to the legal opinion of MDAC showing that Norway should withdraw reservations to CRPD, because they undermine the very object and purpose of the CRPD. MDAC send this legal opinion to the Prime Ministers Office filed under reference 2013/1135 but not answered.

In response to the Commissioner for Human Rights CoE visit and report the governments answer “acknowledges the challenges and complex questions” and “will consider further steps on the basis of the coming assessment of the national strategy carried out by the Directorate of health”. Obviously Norway's answer of practising more coercion then any other country in Europe is wrong. These human right violations of forced drugging are not necessary in a democratic society. 15 years talk and plans to reduce coercion in treatment have been a failure, i. e. one third increase (4).

I think this is unacceptable for a country such as Norway, which has a global reputation promoting and protecting human rights. Therefore I wrote to the Norwegian Prime Minister.

In order to make it easier for other people to support this letter to the Norwegian Prime minister, I started a campaign (2).

In addition I would like to draw your attention that the information about 5 UN Committees concerned about reducing and removing coercion in psychiatry in Norway (3) was passed on to the Prime Minister of Norway (ref. 2015/815), Ministry of Health and Care Services (ref. 2014/4257), Directorate of Health (ref: 2012/9562), Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion (ref. 2013/4343), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ref. 11/05400) and Parliament Storting.

Compared with other European countries, Norway ranks the highest when it comes to the use of compulsory treatment” in mental health care (page 44, reference 6). “The truth is that Norway has a long tradition of extensive use of compulsory admissions and has been a world leader in use of this kind of force in ‘psychiatry’ (7). “

The Committee against Torture asks Norway in its List of issues due 2016 to indicate:

(a) “Whether the use of restraints and the enforced administration of intrusive and irreversible treatments such as neuroleptic drugs and electroconvulsive therapy has been abolished in law...”

In General Comment 1 premiss 42 the CRPD-Committee states:

As has been stated by the Committee in several concluding observations, forced treatment by psychiatric and other health and medical professionals is a violation of the right to equal recognition before the law and an infringement of the rights to personal integrity (art. 17); freedom from torture (art. 15); and freedom from violence, exploitation and abuse (art. 16).”

The Ministry of Health answer to me has so far been to wait for the results of a National Strategy to reduce coercion in Psychiatry (2012-2015). Results has so far not exceeded 5 to 7 % per year. However since year 2000 it was known that coercion in psychiatry raises human rights questions and there have been plans to reduce coercion in psychiatry. The overall result was an increase of a third from 2000 to 2015 (4).

Can you help Norway in order not to loose its reputation international?

I send a copy to Norwegian civil society shareholders to keep them informed.


Walter Keim

Copy: Foreign minister of Norway, Prime Minister of Norway (ref. 2015/815), Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion (ref. 2015/2134), Directorate of health (ref. 2015/581)

PS: MDACs legal opinion was filed by the Prime Ministers Office reference 2013/1135 and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ref. 2011/11385)

References (documentation):

  1. NORWAY MUST FULLY RESPECT RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, SAYS the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks:


  3. 5 UN committees have criticized Norway and suggested to respect human rights of persons with psychososial disabilities:

  4. Reduction of coercion failed from 2000 to 2015 (Reduksjon av tvang feilet i 15 år):

  5. Reporting status for Norway for all Conventions:

  6. Compulsory Mental Health Care in Norway: A Study of the Interface between the Law and Psychiatry. Rigmor Randi Diseth cand.jur. (2013)

  7. Arnulf Kolstad, Haldis Hjort, Einar Kringlen. Letters to the Editor on Norwegian psychiatry. History of Psychiatry, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2005, 16 (2), pp.247-256. <10.1177/0957154X05054860>. <hal-00570827>

Walter Keim

[Patients rights]