Header image for news printout

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination examines report of Sweden

GENEVA (3 May 2018) - The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its consideration of the combined twenty-second and twenty-third periodic report of Sweden on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Presenting the report, Per Olsson Fridh, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of Sweden, said that hate crime and discrimination were areas of concern and efforts to combat them were part of a continuing process.  Racist messages that had previously only been asserted in extremist contexts now also spread in social media and other Internet fora.  Throughout history Sweden had been a country in which a multitude of viewpoints, opinions and perspectives had been expressed and coexisted.  At the same time, racism and attitudes derived from racial biology had existed in Sweden for a long time, and during particular eras had also been State-sanctioned policy.  The Government had adopted a national plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime in 2016.  The plan set out a structure for coordination and follow-up which laid the groundwork for long-term strategic work in the areas of improved coordination and monitoring, more knowledge, education and research, greater support and dialogue with civil society, strengthening of preventive measures online, and a more active legal system.  One important approach of the national plan was to clarify that there were different forms of racism that had to be highlighted and recognized.  A government agency, the Living History Forum, was tasked with coordinating and monitoring work within the remit of the national plan, whereas in order to improve the work of the Swedish Police Authority against hate crime, the National Police Commissioner had decided to establish a national contact point and specific hate crime units in three metropolitan police regions.  There was a special focus on anti-Semitism, Afrophobia, anti-Gypsyism, Islamophobia and racism against the Saami people.  

In the following discussion, Committee Experts drew attention to the omission of a reference to race in Swedish legislation, criminalization of extremist groups promoting racism, hate speech, collecting data about ethnicity, special measures, capacities of the Equality Ombudsman and setting up a national human rights institution, implementation of the 2016 National Plan to Combat Racism, outcomes of the Living History Forum, and training for judges and law enforcement officials.  Experts requested more information on attacks against Muslims and mosques, and against people of African descent, application of the Anti-Terrorism Law and the fact that right-wing extremism was not treated as terrorism, economic segregation connected with rioting in immigrant suburbs, and racial profiling by the police.  Experts also raised issues concerning the right to self-determination of the Saami people, damage caused by predators to Saami reindeer herders, free, prior and informed consent by the Saami people, impact of extractive and infrastructure projects on the everyday life and culture of the Saami people, implementation of the Nordic Saami Convention, eviction of Roma, access to employment by immigrants, narrow interpretation of hate crimes, violence against immigrant and minority women, representation of minorities in the police, judiciary and the Government, and teaching about slavery and Sweden’s participation in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

In his concluding remarks, Gun Kut, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Sweden, said that the Committee might have set the bar high for Sweden because Experts believed that the country could do even better.  He highlighted the issue of racism in political discourse, especially due to the upcoming elections, noting that de facto impunity was not acceptable.

On his part, Mr. Fridh appreciated the Committee’s high expectations from Sweden, which was firmly committed to promote and protect human rights both at home and abroad.  He looked forward to the Committee’s concluding observations which would help the Government come up with more tailored policies for disadvantaged people, and to become a better country.

Committee Chairperson Noureddine Amir thanked the delegation for having clarified the situation in the country, and he reminded that the Committee would select several recommendations for immediate follow-up by the State party.
 
The delegation of Sweden included representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Employment, the Police Authority, and the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations Office at Geneva.  

The Committee will next meet in public on Friday, 11 May, in the afternoon to close its ninety-fifth session.

Report

The Committee has before it the combined twenty-second and twenty-third periodic report of Sweden: CERD/C/SWE/22-23.

Presentation of the Report

PER OLSSON FRIDH, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of Sweden, reaffirmed the commitment of the Swedish Government to promote and protect human rights for all individuals globally and to ensure full respect of Sweden’s international human rights obligations.  He reminded that nowadays respect for human rights in the world at large was being weakened and questioned.  In Sweden, as in many countries, hate crime and discrimination were areas of concern and efforts to combat them were part of a continuing process.  Messages that expressed racism, similar forms of hostility and extremism that had previously only been asserted in extremist contexts now also spread in social media and other Internet fora.  Trends in the country were complex.  On the one hand, surveys showed support for openness and inclusion increasing over time, while on the other hand many people were witnessing a more hate-filled social climate.  Throughout history Sweden had been a country in which a multitude of viewpoints, opinions and perspectives had been expressed and coexisted.  That meant that Swedishness was the sum of a wealth of different elements.  Saami, Afro-Swedish, Roma, Muslim and Jewish were all part of what Swedishness was.  At the same time, racism and attitudes derived from racial biology had existed in Sweden for a long time, and during particular eras had also been State-sanctioned policy.  Migration had shaped Sweden in fundamental ways.  Compared internationally, Sweden’s population included a relatively large proportion of foreign born persons.  About 18 per cent were born in another country and another 5 per cent had both their parents born abroad.  Over the past several years, immigration to Sweden had increased substantially.  In 2015, the country had experienced the largest per capita inflow of asylum seekers ever recorded in a country belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  

The promotion and protection of human rights was one of the Government’s most important tasks and it constituted a cornerstone of Swedish foreign policy.  Nevertheless, challenges remained before Sweden could comply fully and completely with its commitments on human rights under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The Government had adopted a strategy for its national efforts on human rights in 2016.  The implication of the strategy was that compliance with Sweden’s international commitments on human rights could not be taken for granted either in the short or the long term.  One important part of the strategy was the proposal to establish an independent national human rights institution in conformity with the Paris Principles.  The Government had appointed an inquiry to look into its establishment, and the inquiry would submit its report on 31 July 2018.  The Government had also adopted a national plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime in 2016.  The plan set out a structure for coordination and follow-up which laid the groundwork for long-term strategic work in the areas of improved coordination and monitoring, more knowledge, education and research, greater support and dialogue with civil society, strengthening of preventive measures online, and a more active legal system.  One important approach of the national plan was to clarify that there were different forms of racism that had to be highlighted and recognized.  There was a special focus on anti-Semitism, Afrophobia, anti-Gypsyism, Islamophobia and racism against the Saami people.  A government agency, the Living History Forum, was tasked to coordinate and monitor work within the remit of the national plan.  In order to improve the work of the Swedish Police Authority against hate crime, the National Police Commissioner had decided to establish a national contact point and specific hate crime units in three metropolitan police regions.  

On 1 January 2017, the Discrimination Act had been strengthened to promote equal rights and opportunities regardless of ethnicity, sex, transgender identity or expression, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.  The task of the Equality Ombudsman was to both monitor compliance with the Discrimination Act and to combat discrimination and promote equal rights and opportunities for all.  The Government had established a new agency against segregation and had adopted a wide variety of measures to combat segregation, including substantial long-term subsidies to municipalities with disadvantaged areas.  The Government reiterated its commitment to further advance the opportunities for the Saami people, to protect and develop their culture and society, and to strengthen their right to self-determination in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  It was currently working on a proposal for a procedure for consultation between public authorities and the Saami.  The Government noted that structural racism and discrimination of the Saami people had generated consequences up to nowadays.  Accordingly, the Government was following with great interest the ongoing work on a truth commission carried out by the Ombudsman against Discrimination and the Saami Parliament.  The Government was also committed to ensuring the effective implementation of the rights of persons belonging to five recognized national minorities: Jews, Roma, Saami, Swedish Finns and Tornedalers.  To that end it had presented a bill to strengthen minority policies to the Parliament in March 2018, Mr. Olsson Fridh explained.  

Questions by the Country Rapporteur

GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Sweden, thanked the vibrant Swedish civil society for their contributions to the Committee’s dialogue with the State party.  Speaking about the recent wave of immigration, Mr. Kut reminded that one third came from the European Union, whereas 14 per cent were students.  The real impact of immigration should, therefore, not be exaggerated.  

Turning to the omission of a reference to race in legislation, Mr. Kut wondered whether it could lead to less protection.  What did the 2017 amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Law entail?  What was the Government’s position on the criminalization of groups promoting racism?  The criminalization of racist offences committed by legal entities was missing from Swedish legislation.

Mr. Kut noted that the State party needed a set of indicators that would help policy-makers to address discrimination, namely collecting data about ethnicity.  The refusal to collect such data as a matter of principle would not help those who suffered from discrimination.  In addition, the Swedish Government treated special measures as an antithesis to equality, but equity was not the same issue as equality, the Country Rapporteur noted.  

What was the outcome of the initiative to strengthen the capacities of the Equality Ombudsman?  Turning to the national human rights institution, Mr. Kut observed that there seemed to be a lack of political will to set it up.

What was the outcome of the 2016 National Plan to Combat Racism?  Had various programmes achieved their goals?  What was the outcome of the report on anti-Semitism, Afrophobia, anti-Gypsyism, Islamophobia and racism against the Saami people?

What did the Government mean by having “a more active legal system”?  What were the outcomes of the Living History Forum?  Why were there national contact points for hate crimes in only three metropolitan areas?

Were training programmes for judges and law enforcement officials compulsory or voluntary?  What were the indicators of the effect of those programmes?

Did the police follow-up on attacks against Muslims and mosques, and against people of African descent?  There was a gap between reported and processed crimes.  What was the result of the Swedish Media Council’s campaign against hate speech?  The Jewish community in Sweden was under attack from both right-wing and Islamic extremists.  

There were allegations that the Anti-Terrorism Law did not apply to everyone equally.  For example, right-wing extremism was not treated as terrorism.  

Turning to economic segregation connected with rioting in immigrant suburbs, Mr. Kut said that the State party had not provided the Committee with relevant information.  What were the results of programmes to address racial profiling by the police?  

With respect to the indigenous Saami people, the Country Rapporteur asked the State party to ensure their rights to self-determination, and to prior and informed consent, as well as to resolve the damage caused by predators to Saami reindeer herders.  

There should be more initiatives on the part of the Government to finalize the implementation of the Nordic Saami Convention, and to deal with the fact that legislation did not apply equally to all Saami communities.

Mr. Kut also reminded of the problem of eviction of Roma, and discrimination against them in the housing market.  What happened with the report on anti-Gypsyism?

On refugees, the Country Rapporteur reminded that many had not been able to access employment, in spite of the Government’s two-year education programme.  

Questions by Other Experts

An Expert reminded the delegation of the importance of special measures in line with the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 32 on the meaning and scope of special measures.  He reminded that the Uppsala University had once granted 10 per cent of places to students of foreign origin, but that regrettably that measure had been found to be illegal.  

Experts pointed to the lack of research on the behaviour of the Swedish people towards people of African descent.  Many Afro-Swedes could not speak about discrimination against them because speaking about racism was a taboo.  One should not forget about the colonial past of Sweden and its active participation in the slave trade.  The State party should report about its measures to implement the International Decade for People of African Descent.

What had been the impact of the measures taken by the Equality Ombudsman with respect to Afrophobia?  To what extent had the State party recognized the outcomes of the Durban Declaration?  Was there a plan to infuse the history curriculum with human rights?  Sweden should face its role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the use of slavery in the iron industry.  

There was a lack of open and systematic channels of communication with minorities.  Were there any plans to strengthen institutions in that respect?  Would the Government consider re-establishing a committee on Roma?  Was an update available on the eviction of Roma?  Was the White Paper on Abuses and Rights Violations against Roma in the Twentieth Century studied in schools?  To what extent were different groups of Roma taken in policy considerations?

Experts inquired about the burning of Saami fishing cabins, and the lack of consultation with them on mining projects on their territory.  Why had Sweden not ratified International Labour Organization Convention 169?  The Northern Saami Convention excluded certain Saami communities, such as those from Russia.  

How did the Government make policies and determine relevant expenditure in the absence of disaggregated data?  What was the argument for not collecting such data?  Were statistics available on diversity in the public and private sectors?  Did the Ombudsman have the authority to look at discrimination in the private sector?

Referring to fires in refugee centres and burning of mosques, Experts inquired whether the perpetrators had been arrested and punished.  Did the Government have the authority to ban right-wing extremist groups?  What kinds of programmes existed to prevent violence against immigrant and minority women?

With respect to racial profiling by the police, were there requirements for collecting disaggregated data on stop and search campaigns by the police?  What was the composition of the police?  

An Expert observed that the delegation had a good gender balance, but that it lacked representatives of the Saami people and other minorities in Sweden.

The Swedish Constitution only recognized the right of Saami reindeer herders to land, whereas the same kind of recognition was not given to other Saami groups, such as fishermen.  Would the State party extend that right to the rest of the Saami groups?  How did Swedish legislation envisage the impact of extractive and infrastructure projects on the everyday life and culture of the Saami people?  The Swedish Government should prioritize the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 169.

What measures were in place to guarantee the Saami people education in their own language?  What was being done to ensure that the Saami people could access justice in their language?

Referring to non-Saami settlements in recognized Saami territories, an Expert asked what could be done to prevent encroachments on the Saami territory.  

How much underreporting of hate crimes was there in Sweden?  What kind of crimes required a report by the victim?  Could non-governmental organizations report crimes without the victim’s report?

Did the State party plan to improve data gathering by including intersectional issues?  Why was hate crime narrowly interpreted by the judiciary and police?  What was the criteria for criminal prosecution of hate speech?  

What kind of healthcare could undocumented migrants receive?  
Replies by the Delegation

PER OLSSON FRIDH, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of Sweden, said that the questions by Committee Experts were very targeted and required more detail.  The delegation would be able to answer most of them.  There was a lot of food for thought, he concluded.
   
The delegation explained that the Government had submitted to Parliament a proposal for the establishment of an independent national human rights institution.  However, following an inquiry that had lasted for about a year, Parliament had decided that such an institution should not fall under its jurisdiction.  The Government had thus launched another inquiry which would again be discussed by Parliament in the summer.  The Government’s position was to establish that institution as soon as possible because it enjoyed majority support in Parliament.  

The delegation regretted a recent Nazi march in a town in Sweden, and said that there was an increase in the cases of hate speech on the Internet.  The Government would redouble efforts to counter extremist organizations.  Two Ministers had invited members of the opposition to discuss ways to counter the rise in racist groups and to engage with them.  That was a priority for the Government.  At the same time, the Government estimated that the existing laws were sufficiently strong as they banned any form of hate speech.  However, the banning of extremist organizations would be counterproductive because it would encourage their resurgence under a different banner or name, or could drive them underground.  The delegation explained that everyone had the right to protest and to associate, and that the police could intervene only against those who committed crimes.  However, it was forbidden to incite to hatred.
 
Turning to the implementation of the 2016 National Plan to Combat Racism, the delegation said that it was better placed to identify needs and how structural racism occurred in society.  The Government had increased the relevant budget.  The Living History Forum would gradually develop a monitoring system and would report to the Government annually about developments in the area.  The Forum also developed a follow-up system and mapping on racism and phobia against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.  Two reference groups consisting of more than 25 civil society organizations worked with the Living History Forum.  There was a need for a national target, and a clear delineation of policies.  

As for raising awareness about racism and training for law enforcement officials, the content of courses had been further developed during 2017.  The Living History Forum had also launched a campaign entitled Talk about Race, and it had carried educational activities in cooperation with the Swedish Agency for Education and universities.  The aim was to increase knowledge about racism and xenophobia at the individual level.  Colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, slavery, and genocide were fairly well covered in school curricula.  Human rights and rights of the child were part of civic education.  Sweden performed very well in that area.  An attitude survey was conducted alongside such education and it showed that the majority of students supported the idea that different peoples should enjoy equal rights.

The No Hate Speech movement was a long-term measure to raise awareness about online racism among youth.  Online education measures, however, were not a quick fix for the complex nature of racism.  A lot remained to be done because the reception of the relevant material had not been as good as expected.

PER OLSSON FRIDH, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of Sweden, stressed that the fight against discrimination and hate crimes was a priority for the Government.  Ethnicity could not constitute grounds for taking action against persons.  The Government followed closely the work of the Swedish Police Authority in combatting hate crimes.  It had taken several measures to improve the capability of the police to carry out that work, including through increasing of the number of police officers by 2,000 by 2024.  The Government had also raised funding for the Equality Ombudsman.  As for the ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, Mr. Fridh noted that it was in the hands of Parliament.  

The delegation explained that hate crimes consisted of agitation against certain populations, and unlawful discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion, belief or sexual orientation.  The victim did not have to belong to those groups to be perceived as a victim.   Law enforcement officials and prosecutors received training on hate crime.  Already at the Police Academy students received basic information about hate crimes, and later on received further training.  It was still too early to assess the police’s ability to identify and investigate hate crimes.  In addition to the national contact points and special hate crime units in three metropolitan police areas, from 2018 increased funds would be devoted to addressing hate crimes.  All police regions would be supported to handle complex issues in the digital environment, as part of the cybercrime unit.  

As for statistics on hate crimes, the delegation said that there had been no change in how hate crimes were recorded since 2013.  There was an increase in police reports between 2014 and 2015, mainly of vandalism and graffiti targeting refugees, whereas in 2015-2016 there was a decrease in the number of police reports.  

On the lack of information on convictions, the delegation explained that there was an ongoing extensive and complex project among all judicial agencies to electronically share court decisions and thus improve data sharing on judicial decisions.  The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention was looking at carrying out a study on intersectional statistics on hate crimes, and it would also look into ensuring the gender aspect part of statistics.

With respect to countering violent extremism, a permanent national centre had been created within the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.  The Police Authority carried out internal audits to prevent racial and ethnic profiling, and it paid great attention to learning activities on human rights, ethical behaviour, institutional racism, and special training for border officers.  

Responding to Experts’ question about equality and diversity in the national police, the delegation noted that the Police Authority was actively working to increase the number of police officers from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, as well as to respect gender representation.

With respect to the case of bombings in Göteborg, the Government had assigned an inquiry to investigate whether it was appropriate to treat that case as an act of terrorism.  Turning to media coverage of certain crimes, the delegation stressed that the State could not interfere with editorial decisions of the media, which were guided by their code of ethics.  The Press Ombudsman was an independent investigating authority that handled complaints about unfair media portrayal.

The Anti-Discrimination Act applied equally to the public and private sectors.  As for the omission of reference to race, it was due to the position of Swedish legislation that all people belonged to the same human race.  Instead, there was a reference to “colour and other similar circumstances.”  Turning to prevention of discrimination in the private sector, the delegation clarified that corporate fines could be imposed on entrepreneurs for their failure to prevent crimes in the exercise of business activity.  The Equality Ombudsman made sure that all employers complied with non-discrimination rules.

As for special measures, they were not allowed under Swedish and European Union laws.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court had found that the decision of the Uppsala University to grant 10 per cent of study places to non-Swedish persons was not legal.  There was some leeway to use measures similar to positive action in employment recruitment procedures.  It was also true that gathering data on ethnicity was restricted in Sweden.  However, there was a wealth of information contained in various reports, including those at the European Union level.  

With respect to employment for immigrants, the delegation stated that despite a very strong labour market in the country, employment rates were significantly lower among foreign-born than among the Swedish-born population.  In 2013, 20 per cent of those who had attended the introduction programme for newly arrived immigrants had been in employment three months after the programmes.  In 2017 that figure had risen to 28 per cent.  To improve the results of the introduction programme, the Government had reformed its policies and implemented a number of measures to strengthen the integration of newly arrived immigrants into the labour market.  

Turning to healthcare for irregular migrants, the delegation explained that the changes made to Swedish legislation in 2013 had given adult persons staying in the country without necessary permits or legal support the right to the same subsidized health and medical care as adult asylum seekers.  Many factors affecting integration could be found within other policy areas than employment, such as housing shortage.  Integration in the labour market was generally faster in metropolitan areas due to more job opportunities.  Since March 2016, a new settlement act obliged all municipalities to settle immigrants granted asylum.

As for violence against women, the delegation said that the Government had presented a national strategy to prevent and combat men’s violence against women.  The strategy spanned a ten-year period and it had entered into force on 1 January 2017.  Its objectives were to increase effective prevention, improve detection of violence and better protection and support for victims, more effective crime fighting, and improved knowledge and methodological development.  

The newly established Delegation against Segregation would focus on economic and social determinants of segregation, as most studies had identified those factors as the main drivers of segregation.  Civil society organizations could apply for funds within the remit of the Delegation’s activities.  

With respect to free, prior and informed consent by indigenous peoples, the position of the Swedish Government was clear and in accordance with public international law.  It was a principle and method, and not an entitlement, and it did not constitute a right to veto.  Consultations of various kinds had a long tradition in Sweden and were a fundamental feature of Swedish democracy.  Mining activities were regulated by the Minerals Act and the Environmental Code.  The process before any mining operations consisted of three steps: application for an exploration permit, application for an exploitation concession, and the process of being granted an environmental permit under the Environmental Code.  Consultations with Saami villages and other stakeholders were an important part of every step of the process.  The affected Saami villages were entitled to be informed and express their opinion in every step of the process, and every permit could be appealed.

As for the rights of Saami communities other than reindeer herders, the delegation explained that they could have special rights, but that the Saami Parliament had to be consulted.  Under the Environmental Code, land of importance for reindeer husbandry should be protected from measures that would significantly hinder reindeer husbandry.  

The Nordic Saami Convention was still a draft that needed to be approved by Saami parliaments.  Articles 17 and 18 specified the application of free, prior and informed consent, whereas article 20 contained provisions for incursions into natural resources on Saami land.  There were also provisions on the preservation of Saami culture, languages, and customary law.  The draft did not contain anything that could impede the interaction between the Saami people living in Sweden and those living in Russia.  The Government had increased funds for the Saami Parliament in order to strengthen its right to self-determination.  

An awareness of history was important for the Government in order to address structural discrimination against the Saami people.  Their land rights applied both on State-owned and privately-owned land.  There were still different opinions among the Saami on how membership to Saami villages should be regulated.  Reindeer husbandry was protected from land encroachment and infringement on rights had to be compensated.  One third of Swedish land areas was set aside for reindeer husbandry.  The Government had a responsibility to safeguard conditions for the preservation of Saami livelihood and to manage large carnivores to prevent loss of reindeer to predators.  It provided compensation to Saami villages in case of loss of reindeer to predators.

Awareness raising on Afrophobia had been carried out in close cooperation with representatives of Afro-Swedish civil society.  Activities included the memorial day to mark the end of Swedish participation in trans-Atlantic slavery.  The Living History Forum had produced material on that theme.  

As for Roma inclusion, municipalities had been working on programmes of inclusion in education, employment, healthcare, social aid, and to counter the discrimination against Roma in the housing market.  The Commission on Anti-Gypsyism contributed to countering widespread prejudices against the Roma, and had published materials for schools based on the White Paper on Abuses and Rights Violations against Roma in the Twentieth Century, which had been distributed to schools.

Second Round of Questions by Committee Experts

GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Sweden, inquired about anti-Muslim racism and the unwillingness of insurance companies to insure mosques because of frequent attacks on them.  

Another Expert reminded that Muslims comprised about 10 per cent of the population.  Did they enjoy freedom of worship, and how were they protected from hate speech?  Were the Law on Freedom of Expression and the 1992 Law on Freedom of the Press separate laws?  

An Expert asked whether Swedish students were taught about Sweden’s own colonial history, for example about the island of Saint Barthelemy.  It was true that all people belonged to the same human race, but they were not all treated equally, which was why “race” was still a useful term.

How many of the unemployed persons belonged to the Saami community or minorities?  How many among the prison population belonged to communities that had been historically disadvantaged?

What were the State party’s measures to protect minorities and immigrants from hate speech during election processrd?  It would be good if the State party supported the Draft Declaration on the Promotion and Full Respect of Human Rights of People of African Descent.

How could the State party engage the private sector as a partner in the fight against racial discrimination?  

Any State party had a sovereign right to argue against or for the use of special measures.  Nevertheless, it was not clear from the delegation’s response how the State party planned to meet obligations set out in the Convention, an Expert observed.

Another Expert expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the State party could not link its statistics from arrest to conviction.  What was the representation of minorities in the police, judiciary and the Government?  

Turning to the question of extremist organizations, an Expert asked how did the police plan to engage with them?  

Experts recommended that the State party ratify the International Labour Organization’s Convention 189 on domestic workers.

Concluding Remarks

GUN KUT, Committee Expert and Country Rapporteur for Sweden, said that the Committee might have set the bar high for Sweden because Experts believed that the country could do even better.  The Committee expected to hear about concrete information about the effectiveness of various measures and the evaluation of outcomes.  Mr. Kut highlighted the issue of racism in political discourse, especially due to the upcoming elections, noting that de facto impunity was not acceptable.  The Committee counted on the existence of political will in Sweden and on its human rights approach to everything.  

PER OLSSON FRIDH, State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture of Sweden, stated that Experts had raised many relevant issues and concerns.  He appreciated the Committee’s high expectations from Sweden, which was firmly committed to promote and protect human rights both at home and abroad.  Mr. Fridh looked forward to the Committee’s concluding observations which would help the Government come up with more tailored policies for disadvantaged people, and to become a better country.

NOUREDDINE AMIR, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for having clarified the situation in the country, and he reminded that the Committee would select several recommendations for immediate follow-up by the State party.

__________

For use of the information media; not an official record