The Norwegian Government wants to abolish discrimination in the housing market

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– People belonging to minority groups experience discrimination when they wish to rent a place to live. We want to put an end this problem, says the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Ms. Erna Solberg. –The reason why the Government wants an explicit prohibition in the Housing Act is to emphasise that discrimination will not be tolerated. In a multicultural society we must respect that we are all different. Differences should not affect us when we choose whom we let or sell our housing to.

– We may have a different faith, or we may have a different skin colour or ethnic background that for some people feel a bit unfamiliar. But this should not prevent us from living where we want to live, says the Minister.

The home is supposed to be a secure frame around our existence, and everybody has the right to reside safe and well. Discrimination contributes to the difficulties many immigrants have when it comes to getting into the housing market. If proven that somebody has been discriminated against, the one responsible for the discrimination will have to pay a compensation.

This initiative is a part of the Government’s National Plan of Action to Combat Racism and Discrimination that was presented in July 2002. The Government gives high priority to combating discrimination, and will present a bill to Parliament (the Storting) on an act against ethnic discrimination in 2004. This act will include a prohibition against ethnic discrimination, and discrimination on the basis of religion or beliefs. The law will apply to all aspects of society, and will; therefore, go further than just the statutory provisions in the housing acts.

The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development will also implement an advertising campaign to fight discrimination in the housing market.