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Human rights in Sweden: it’s not perfect yet

December 12, 2014

On 26 January 2015, Sweden will be reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It was previously reviewed by the HRC in 2010.

WHAT IS THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW?

The UPR is the main mechanism used by the HRC to assess the human rights situation of every state. States are reviewed every four years. If you’d like to learn more about it, watch our webinar on the HRC and the UPR.

Before each review, Geneva-based NGO UPR-Info organises a pre-session for civil society organisations (CSOs). This gives them the opportunity to share their assessment of the human rights situation and accomplishments in the country under review. It also gives the opportunity for CSOs to suggest recommendations that UN Member States can endorse, since only Member States participate in the UPR itself.

WILPF’s Human Rights programme monitored the pre-session on Sweden, and WILPF Sweden took the floor to share its recommendations.

TACKLING RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION

Civil rights defenders, the United Nations Association of Sweden and WILPF Sweden denounced the increasing number of hate crimes, especially afro-phobic hate crimes, and racial discrimination against ethnic minorities such as the Roma community and the Sami indigenous population.

Concerns were raised on racial profiling, the absence of a ban on racist organisations and the subsequent rise of a political party based on a neo Nazi and fascist ideology.

CSOs present in the panel made recommendations on the improvement and implementation of efficient legislation to combat racism and discrimination. WILPF Sweden specifically recommended that racism and extremism be counteracted through public educational campaigns, and that social justice investments be prioritised.

WILPF’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Sepideh Shahrokhi from WILPF Sweden at the UPR pre-session

Sepideh Shahrokhi from WILPF Sweden at the UPR pre-session

In our recommendations, we addressed the issue of gender based violence and violence against women. In terms of prevention, WILPF Sweden urged the Swedish authorities to take further efforts to promote attitude changes amongst men and boys through educational measures. Regarding protection of victims and survivors, Sweden should ensure that protective services such as shelters are adequately financed.

In addition, WILPF Sweden denounced the impact of the arms trade on human rights and urged the Swedish authorities not to authorise any exports of arms and ammunitions to States where human rights are violated.

The Swedish government should also reprioritise resources from military spending to prevent and resolve armed conflict globally, as well as to promote social justice and gender equality both at home and abroad.

We shared these recommendations widely with states representatives in Geneva, so we now hope that some of them will endorse our recommendations during the actual review of Sweden that will take place in January 2015.

For more information, read WILPF’s recommendations for the UPR of Sweden.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?

The UPR of Sweden will take place on 26 January 2015. WILPF’s Human Rights programme will attend the session and keep you posted on the outcome of the review. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To get the latest news directly to your inbox, subscribe to our Human Rights programme newsletter.

In the meantime, spread the word about the UPR mechanism!

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