Walter Keim, E-Mail:
Almbergskleiva 64
NO-6657 Rindal, 15.7.2015

Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC)

PO Box 68543

London SW15 9FP


Subject: Shadow report: What can be done about NORWAY ranking highest in Europe in use of coercion in psychiatry including human rights breach forced drugging?

Dear Mental Disability Advocacy Center,

Norway ratified CRPD as 130. state and delivered 2. July 2015 its first report to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (5) defending highest used of coercion in Europe, by referring to its reservation and «broad understanding among the States Parties».

I am drafting suggestions for a shadow report (withdraw reservation, ban forced drugging with law) and would like to ask for support using your knowledge and expertise. I found less then a dozen other reservations of 47 European states. What look these reservations like, can Norway refer to other states to excuse itself? Can you help?

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). “

Thank you for sending the legal opinion of MDAC showing that Norway should withdraw reservations to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (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. The Attorney General answered 4.12.2013: “I presuppose that the office of the Prime Minister will subject your views to due consideration”. Did you get an answer from the Prime Minister?

The Attorney General considers this a political question, and in his legal procedures patients are not subject to CRPD rights. Judgements Borgating Court of Appeal 13-091092ASD-BORG/03, Borgating Court of Appeal, 19 November 2014; 14-159767ASD-BORG/02 and Oslo District Court, 21 November 2014; 14-163619TVI-OTIR/0, The Supreme Court HR-2014-01799-A Premisser i sak nr. 2014/932) and The Supreme Court HR-2014-01792-A, (sak nr. 2014/1279) show that judges appointed by the government chosen by a committee appointed be the government follow the Attorney General and not even consider CRPD. This is a violation of separation of powers, making it of little use for patients who have the state as counterpart. The Supervisory Committee for Judges is also appointed by the government.

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.

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.

However it seems to be a waste of time to write to Norwegian authorities about human rights.

In order to use limited resources best most effort should be put into shadow reports to FN. A good example is We Shall Overcome. Their comment to the state hearing consists of the text in Norwegian referring to earlier comments and the appendix consisting of their comment to the Commissioner for Human Rights CoE.

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).

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...”

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 % reduction 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 uphold its reputation international?

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

Yours sincerely,

Walter Keim

Copy: Foreign minister of Norway (ref. 2014/6998), Prime Minister of Norway (ref. 2015/815), Ministry of Health and Care Services (ref. 2014/4257), 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)

Answer 16.7.2015 on Facebook. “Dear Walter, thank you for getting in touch. No, we received no reply from the Office of the PM. We would be pleased to discuss collaboration with you regarding coercion in psychiatry and Norway's reservation. Could you please drop us an email to Best wishes.”

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]