Sharing our insights on extraterritorial prison agreements

Between 2015 and 2018, Norwegian authorities hired extraterritorial prison services from the Dutch authorities at Norgerhaven prison in the Netherlands. The National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) at the Parliamentary Ombud visited the prison in 2016 and was highly critical to the agreement. In February 2022 we were invited to share our experiences at an international conference in Kosovo.  

The conference, which was held on the 15th of February 2022, focused on a preparations for an agreement between Denmark and Kosovo regarding the hiring of 300 prison placements in Kosovo.

Extraterritorial prison agreements
The agreement between Norwegian and Dutch authorities was signed in September 2015 and entailed hiring 242 prison placements in the Netherlands. The agreement expired in 2018.

The Parliamentary Ombud provided several consultations to the Norwegian authorities regarding this agreement.

The establishment of «Norwegian» prison placements abroad sparked several questions regarding the protection and care of inmates, as well as how their rights would be upheld. It also challenged Norway’s obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture, to prevent as well as prosecute torture and inhuman treatment.

Following the Parliamentary Ombud’s visit to Norgerhaven prison in September 2015, we published a visit report. Here we pointed out that purchasing prison placements in other countries does not relieve Norwegian of its responsibility to prevent breaches of human rights. Furthermore, we pointed out that it is crucial that states avoid creating legal “gaps”, which undermine protection mechanisms for prisoner’s human rights.

Read the consultation documents from The Parliamentary Ombud (Previously known as The Parliamentary Ombudsman) here:

  1. Consultation comment regarding amendments to the Norwegian execution of sentences act (Execution of sentences in another state etc.) 27.02.2015 (PDF)
  2. Comment by the Parliamentary Ombud following the consultation in the Parliamentary standing committee on justice on 28 april 2015 (PDF)
  3. The Parliamentary Ombud participated in a consultation procedure in the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) regarding a bill concerning the execution of sentences abroad 28.04.2015. (PDF)
  4. The NPMs visit report on Norgerhaven Prison in 2016