Backlash against rights – how can we respond?

The controversial anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda is just one of many recent examples of backlash against human rights around the world. Women, LGBTQI persons, migrants, religious and ethnic minorities, and other excluded groups are disproportionately experiencing reversed rights.

How should we address this development? Listen in to a debate with the South African civic space expert Aarti Narsee on May 25th, 9-10 am (Oslo time) at Litteraturhuset.

75 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, people around the world increasingly experience that their rights are under attack. Authoritarian leaders are tightening the grip, democracies are declining, and freedom of expression is curtailed in a growing number of countries.

Civic space expert and former South African journalist Aarti Narsee will give an overview of global trends, including powerful examples of rights violations. Naarsi calls herself an ‘intersectional feminist’, highlighting the need to understand how the most excluded groups are the most impacted by increasing restrictions.

This raises questions about the role of development cooperation actors and donor relations in countries where human rights are severely violated.

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation welcomes you to a panel discussion on key questions related to the global backlash against human rights:

  • How should development cooperation actors respond to backlash of rights in partner countries?
  • Should we withdraw funding and end partnerships or try to influence from within?
  • Which dilemmas do we face when fundamental rights seem to clash, such as freedom of religion and belief versus the rights of women and/or sexual minorities?


  • Aarti Narsee, Policy and Advocacy Officer for the European Civic Forum, former journalist and researcher at Civicus
  • Tor-Hugne Olsen, Executive Director, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Norway (Sex og Politikk)
  • Liv Hernæs Kvanvig, Policy Director, Section for Human Rights, Norad
  • Hjalmar Bø, generalsekretær, Digni - paraplyorganisasjon for utviklingsarbeidet til 19 misjonsorganisasjoner og kirkesamfunn
  • Erling Rimestad, statssekretær i Utenriksdepartementet (Ap)

Moderator: Nina Bull Jørgensen, Norad

Click here to register.



Published 15.05.2023
Last updated 15.05.2023