United Nations


International Convention on the Elimination of A ll Forms of Racial Discrimination

Distr.: General

1 February 2017

Original: English

English, French and Spanish only

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the Convention

Twenty-second and twenty-third periodic reports of States parties due in 2016

Sweden *

[Date received: 11 January 2017]


1.Human rights are universal and universally applicable. All people being born free, and being of equal value with equal rights is a self-evident principle, and work for human rights is a high priority for the Swedish Government. The Government’s goal for its human rights policy is to ensure full respect for Sweden’s international human rights obligations. Work is constantly under way to this end, and Sweden has taken a number of measures in the most recent period. However, challenges remain before Sweden is entirely able to meet its obligations under conventions on human rights.

2.Sweden’s human rights policy rests on the assumption that the Swedish legal system is to comply with the conventions that Sweden has ratified and that Sweden’s obligations under the conventions are to be taken into account, in line with the principle of treaty-compliant interpretation, when applying Swedish law within all public activity, both that carried out at national level by the State and at local government level by the municipalities and county councils.

3.Sweden hereby submits, combined in a single document, its twenty-second and twenty-third periodic report under Article 9 of the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

4.The report has the same structure as the Articles in the Convention, and is based on the reporting guidelines for CERD-specific documents. The measures taken in the most recent reporting cycle are set out under each Article. As recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the present report is also an update of Sweden’s earlier reports. The points raised in the Committee’s concluding observations to Sweden’s nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first report and the follow-up report are addressed throughout the document under the relevant Article.

Article 2.1

5.As noted in earlier Swedish reports to the Committee, the Swedish Constitution provides fundamental legal protection against ethnic discrimination. For more exhaustive information on relevant legislation, the Committee is referred to paragraphs 19-30 in Sweden’s twelfth report, and paragraphs 18-19 in Sweden’s nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first report.

6.Penal law and its application, with special reference to paragraphs 11 and 12 of the Committee’s recommendations for information on relevant penal law, see paragraphs 20 and 21 in the nineteenth to twenty-first report and the last indent on page 1 of Sweden’s follow-up response to the Committee’s recommendations.

7.In March 2014, the Government charged the then National Police Board with developing initiatives to combat hate crime. This mandate includes working in consultation with the Swedish Prosecution Authority and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention towards consistent practical application of the term “hate crime” within and between agencies, strengthening awareness of hate crime within the police service, and working to increase confidence in the police amongst people in groups that are particularly vulnerable to hate crime.

8.The National Police Commissioner has decided on what is known as a strategic initiative — “Fundamental rights and freedoms”. One objective of the initiative, in line with the Government mandate, is that the clear-up and prosecution rates are to increase and that employees are to become more aware of and have a greater understanding of the problems surrounding hate crime. This is in order to make it easier to identify a hate crime motive in the event of a crime and subsequently have a broader perspective in all phases of the investigation. In line with the National Police Commissioner’s initiative, there is now a national contact point and special hate crime groups in the three metropolitan regions. In addition to investigation, the designated groups are also to work with victim support, training, collaboration and other measures to create reassurance and trust. There must be a capacity to resolve these tasks in other regions too. The Swedish Police Authority intends to develop its crime prevention work, partly through expanding contact and dialogue with vulnerable groups. At national level, a consultation forum was set up in autumn 2015 for representatives of groups vulnerable to hate crime. Collaboration with vulnerable groups also takes place at regional level, and locally with municipalities and local clubs and societies, through measures such as local collaborative agreements and pledges to citizens. Similarly, the ambition is to continually be able to monitor and compile national status reports on hate criminality in Sweden. In order to do this, a functional tool is needed to follow a hate crime case in the police service’s investigation support database, for example, by flagging it as a hate crime.

9.The Police Authority continually carries out internal and external training initiatives with the aim of raising the level of expertise in hate crime and crimes that threaten fundamental rights and freedoms. Initiatives often take place in collaboration with the Swedish Prosecution Service. A seminar was held in autumn 2015 for police employees who have been appointed to work on these issues. In October 2016 a major conference was held, in which the Swedish Police Authority, the Swedish Prosecution Service, the Swedish Security Service and the Chancellor of Justice were involved, to discuss questions about hate crime in general and the crime of agitation against a national or ethnic group in particular.

10.The police service’s far-reaching authority to intervene in the lives of individuals requires effective and constant supervision of the agencies’ operations. The Committee recommends that Sweden develop a clear strategy to ensure scrutiny of the way police and prosecutors deal with hate crimes. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen check that the agencies are working in line with the laws and rules that govern their work — particularly those laws that concern individuals’ rights and obligations in relation to the State.

11.In line with its mandate under its appropriation directions for 2016, the Swedish Police Authority must also set out the measures that have been taken as a result of the mandate to develop initiatives to combat hate crime. The reporting requirement includes setting out the effects the measures are judged to have led to or to lead to. Furthermore, the report is to contain a description of how the Authority intends to continue developing initiatives to combat hate crime. The report is to be submitted by 1 March 2017 the latest.

12.The limited opportunities to monitor crime throughout the entire chain of the legal system apply to all types of crime, not to hate crime specifically. Although a consistent definition of hate crime improves opportunities to monitor the crimes reported throughout the entire chain, this does not go far enough. In addition, extensive technical modifications are needed, which are taking place within ongoing work on developing information processing in the legal system. This work includes making it easier to follow cases throughout the legal system and the intention is for this to also apply to hate crime.

13.In 2014 the then National Police Board (now the Police Authority), the Swedish Prosecution Service and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention were commissioned to work towards the consistent practical application of the term hate crime on the basis of a given definition, within and between the agencies. In the National plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime (see below), the Government highlights the importance of continuing the agencies’ work on the practical application of the definition.

14.Regarding the Swedish Prosecution Service and the Chancellor of Justice, reference is made to paragraphs 25-28 of the previous report and paragraph 12 of the follow-up report.

15.Technological development has brought about positive changes for freedom of expression and democratic debate. However, this progress has also led to threats and other forms of personal abuse taking on a new guise.

16.On 1 October 2015, the Swedish Police Authority set up a national IT crime centre with the aim of strengthening its capacity regarding IT-related crime, including internet-related hate crime and other criminal threats and abuse online. It is also important to include private actors in the battle against hate crime on the internet. Sweden welcomes the Code of Conduct presented by American companies in Brussels on 31 May. The Code of Conduct demonstrates a clear undertaking on the part of private actors to take action against online hate propaganda.

17.Every year, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention carries out a survey of exposure to crime, fear of crime and confidence in the justice system. The results are reported including the parameter Swedish/foreign background (born in Sweden with both parents/one parent born in Sweden, born in Sweden with both parents born outside Sweden and born outside Sweden).

18.The statistics on hate crime are published in an annual report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. They mainly comprise police reports with an identified hate crime motive. From 2007 onwards, self-reported vulnerability to xenophobic and homophobic hate crime based on the Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen, NTU) has also been included in the statistics, and self-reported vulnerability to anti-religious hate crime has been included since 2011.

19.In 2011-2013, the number of police reports with identified hate crime motives amounted to around 5 500 cases a year. In 2014, 6 269 reports were judged to contain an identified hate crime motive. In 2015, the number of reports was 6 984, the highest level to date. The increase can largely be explained by a rise in the number of reports of damage and graffiti with a xenophobic motive. From the statistics, it is not possible to determine whether the higher number of reports is due to greater vulnerability, greater willingness to report, or that more attention is being paid to hate crime in the reports. The trend is similar for reports with identified xenophobic/racist motives. In 2011-2013, the number of reported cases was just under 4 000 a year. In 2014, the number of reported cases was 4 314 and in 2015 the number of reported cases was 4 765.

20.Statistics on self-experienced vulnerability according to the Swedish Crime Survey (Nationella trygghetsundersökningen, NTU) provide a more accurate picture of vulnerability to hate crime than the statistics on police reports. Compared with previous years, vulnerability to hate crime remains relatively level, for all motives. Vulnerability to hate crime with a xenophobic motive is stated as highest. According to NTU, 1.4 per cent of the population were the victims of xenophobic hate crime in 2014. The proportion of the population subjected to anti-religious hate crime was 0.5 per cent and the proportion suffering homophobic hate crime was 0.2 per cent.

21.A total of 4 per cent of reported hate crimes in 2014 were person-based clearances (which means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution). The proportion of person-based clearances of reported hate crime has fallen slightly compared with 2011 and earlier, where the rate was 7-8 per cent. A lower person-based clearance rate has also been seen for reported crime in general, irrespective of motive. As far as hate crimes are concerned, changes in the character of the reported criminality may also have led to this drop. Between 2008 and 2015, the proportion of reported violent crimes with hate motives has fallen, while the proportion of cases of damage/graffiti has increased. In general, person-based clearance for damage/graffiti is more difficult than for assault, as witnesses can often provide evidence for such crimes, for example.

The Discrimination Act and its application, with special reference to paragraphs 6, 9 and 21 of the Committee’s recommendations

22.The Equality Ombudsman (DO) is tasked with monitoring compliance with the Discrimination Act (2008:567) and combating discrimination related to ethnicity, among other things. The Equality Ombudsman is also to promote equal rights and opportunities for everyone, irrespective of, inter alia, ethnicity.

23.Ethnicity is the second most common ground for discrimination in complaints received by the Equality Ombudsman. The tables show statistics on complaints by ground and social sector.

Complaints by ground
















Gender identity and gender expression




Discrimination in conjunction with parental leave




Religion or other belief




Sexual orientation









2 252

1 810

1 795

Area of society








Employment services, etc.




Membership of employee and employer organisations, etc.




Business activity and professional qualification








Health and medical care




Social services




Goods, services and housing




Social insurance, etc.




Public employment




Military service








24.In 2016 the Government proposed amending the Discrimination Act such that work on active measures within working-life and in the education area are to be expanded to cover the same grounds for discrimination as the ban on discrimination (Government Bill prop. 2015/16:135). Furthermore, an overarching framework was recommended for work on active measures, which involves a method for how the work is to be run, while the design of the actual measures is left to employers and education coordinators to draw up in collaboration with employees and students, pupils and children respectively. It is also proposed that the equal pay survey be carried out each year instead of every third year. The Government passed the bill on 21 June 2016. The amendment to the Discrimination Act entered into force on 1 January 2017.

25.As stated above, ethnicity is one of the grounds for discrimination in the Discrimination Act (2008:567) and refers to a person’s national or ethnic origin, skin colour or other similar circumstance. If discrimination occurs with reference to someone’s “race” or any other derogatory term referring to people with a foreign or Swedish background, this falls within the remit of what is meant by “other similar circumstance”. The Discrimination Act assumes that all people belong to the same race: the human race. The legislator judged that use of the word “race” might legitimise racist assumptions and confirm race as an existing category. The actual protection against discrimination has not been watered down by the fact that the Discrimination Act does not use the word “race”. This particularly applies in the light of the fact that the definition of the ground for discrimination of ethnicity not only includes “national or ethnic origin” and “skin colour”, but also “other similar circumstance”. It should be understood that this includes matters such as unfounded assumptions on “race”, attitudes based on sweeping references to perceptions of the characteristics, appearance or background of “immigrants” being used to justify an approach, or where someone in general justifies discriminatory action with derogatory terms about people with a foreign or Swedish background.

26.The Equality Ombudsman’s mandate is to work to ensure that discrimination associated with ethnicity, inter alia, does not occur in any areas of society. Through advice and in other ways, the Equality Ombudsman must contribute towards ensuring that those who are the victims of discrimination are able to assert their rights. Within its remit, the Equality Ombudsman is to inform, educate, deliberate and maintain other contacts with agencies, companies, individuals and organisations. For example, the Equality Ombudsman provides oral and written advice to individuals, collaborates with different actors and undertakes communication initiatives. Furthermore, the Equality Ombudsman’s website is to act as support to different actors to promote equal rights and combat discrimination.

27.In 2015 the Government decided to reinforce its work against discrimination at national, regional and local level. The Equality Ombudsman’s appropriations were raised by SEK 10 million a year and the local operations to combat discrimination, known as Anti-discrimination offices, were allocated an additional SEK 2 million. The Anti-discrimination offices play an important role in combating and preventing discrimination at local level. As actors in civil society, they also have different opportunities to support and help individuals than an agency would have.

28.The Inquiry into better opportunities to combat discrimination (dir. 2014:10) submitted its report on 14 December 2016. The purpose of the inquiry was to provide proposals that ensure good conditions for people exposed to discrimination to assert their rights. The task included analysing legal opportunities and a mandate for the Equality Ombudsman regarding processing reports, conciliation procedure and the right to take legal action, and reaching an opinion on the need for clarification in these respects. Furthermore, the inquiry was to review whether a system for supervising and promoting equal treatment other than the present one can help to ensure effective work against discrimination, including safeguarding effective sanctions against discrimination.

29.For more detailed information on the Equality Ombudsman and the Discrimination Act, reference is made to paragraphs 38-44 in Sweden’s previous report.

Population statistics, with special reference to paragraph 7 of the Committee’s recommendations

30.Sweden compiles no official statistics on people’s ethnicity. Under the Personal Data Act (1998:204) it is as a general rule prohibited to process personal data that reveals race, ethnicity or religious conviction. Because Statistics Sweden’s processing of sensitive personal data is expressly regulated in the Act (2001:99) and the Ordinance (2001:100) on Official Statistics, it is thus not possible for Sweden to provide complete statistical information on ethnicity, skin colour or other signs of diversity. The only statistics available are those on citizenship and country of birth.

31.Statistics on Sweden’s population are reported by Statistics Sweden, inter alia. Population statistics are reported in terms of number of people by sex, citizenship and country of birth. See the statistical tables below.

Population by background. 31.12.2015




9 851 017


Born abroad

1 676 264


Born in Sweden

8 174 753


of which born in Sweden with two parents born abroad

510 756


of which born in Sweden with one parent born in Sweden and one parent born abroad

724 841


of which born in Sweden with two parents born in Sweden

6 939 156


Source: Statistics Sweden .

Population born abroad by part of the world. 31.12.2015




178 624



565 050


EU28 except for the Nordic countries

331 926


Europe except for EU28 and the Nordic countries

238 565


Nordic countries except for Sweden

245 633


North America

35 780



5 245


South America

68 571


Former Soviet Union

5 722



1 148


Total population born abroad

1 676 264


Source: Statistics Sweden .

In 2015 the largest groups of people born abroad were from the following countries:

Country of birth





94 077

61 968

156 045


61 073

70 815

131 888


41 515

56 701

98 216


46 907

38 610

85 517


33 126

35 941

69 067

Former Yugoslavia

33 382

33 808

67 190


30 329

30 294

60 623

Bosnia and Herzegovina

29 172

28 533

57 705


26 174

23 412

49 586


20 853

25 520

46 373


23 387

18 687

42 074


19 653

22 217

41 870


30 349

8 443

43 058


12 558

18 709

31 267


12 724

15 892

28 616

Source: Statistics Sweden .

32.Sweden compiles statistics on the students entitled to mother tongue tuition. In the academic year 2015/16, a total of 250 399 students in compulsory school (25.4% of all students) were entitled to mother tongue tuition. Of these students, 140 959 attended mother tongue tuition (56.3% of all eligible students). The reason for students not participating in mother tongue tuition is either that the municipality does not need to organise mother tongue tuition if fewer than five students want this tuition (does not apply to the national minority languages) or that there is no appropriate teacher, or that the students themselves do not wish to participate.

Statistics on mother tongue tuition in compulsory schools, academic year 2015/16

Number of students entitled to mother tongue tuition

Number of participating students


52 822

34 664


20 026

20 026


15 506

8 075


15 360

7 946


13 172

7 360


13 011

6 781


11 750

6 622


8 900

4 256


8 516

5 273


8 309

4 952

Other languages (142)

83 027

39 934

Source: National Agency for Education .

33.General information on the make-up of the population and their living conditions forms an important, and often necessary, basis for shaping and following up Government policy. However, some information on this is currently unavailable. Sweden takes a restrictive view of statistics and data collection, partly in relation to the national minorities, and the Government has no reason to re-evaluate this approach. However, it is important to show sensitivity to the circumstances and needs of different groups.

34.The Equality Ombudsman has been tasked with carrying out awareness-raising initiatives on Afrophobia in 2015 and 2016. Within the remit of this, the Equality Ombudsman has expanded knowledge in the form of quantitative and qualitative information on how Afrophobia affects the access of Afro-Swedes to equal rights and opportunities. A Committee of inquiry, in line with the Committee terms of reference Utredningen om en stärkt minoritetspolitik (dir. 2016:73, A stronger minority policy — review of the Act on National Minorities and Minority Languages) will, inter alia, consider the need for measures to improve qualitative data for decision-making on the national minorities on the basis of the circumstances and needs of each respective minority. The Government will focus attention on what emerges in the Inquiry on a stronger minority policy and in the work on quantitative and qualitative data on Afrophobia that the Equality Ombudsman is carrying out as part of the Ombudsman’s mandate to carry out awareness-raising measures on Afrophobia.

Measures to combat racism, etc. and promote human rights, with special reference to paragraphs 10 and 23 of the Committee’s recommendations

35.On 24 November 2016, the Government decided on a National plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime. In the National plan, the Government asserts that Sweden shall be a country free of racism and hate crime. The Government takes a comprehensive approach, with the National plan, to the important work on these issues carried out by a number of agencies, regional and local actors and civil society organisations. The plan is a tool for preventing and combating racism and polarisation in society and creating conditions for a cohesive Sweden characterised by solidarity.

36.In the plan the Government asserts that racism creates a breeding ground for hate crime. A holistic approach is needed to combat racism and hate crime. A National plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime gives Sweden such an opportunity. The plan gives actors better conditions to work together, initiatives can be followed up and work can be developed as a whole.

37.In the National plan, the Government asserts that throughout history Sweden has been a country in which a multitude of viewpoints, opinions and perspectives have been expressed and have coexisted. This means that Swedishness is the sum of a number of different parts. Sami, Afro-Swedish, Roma, Muslim and Jewish, along with many other components, are all part of what Swedishness is. At the same time, racism and attitudes based on racial biology have existed in Sweden for a long time and during certain time periods have also been Government-sanctioned policy. Trends in today’s Sweden are complex. On the one hand, surveys show that support for openness and inclusion is increasing over time, but on the other, many people at the same time testify about a more hate-filled social climate in which racism is showing its face ever more clearly. Commitment to the equal value of all people and their access to rights and opportunities is and has been high in Sweden. As increasing numbers of people testify to an ever-tougher social climate, it is the Government’s view that the power and opportunity for change inherent in this commitment must be seized on.

38.The overarching goal of the National plan is strategic, effective and coherent work against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime in Sweden. The plan will serve as a foundation and a focus for work against racism and hate crime in particularly important strategic areas. This will, above all, be attained by shaping a coordination and follow-up structure and through preventive and counteracting initiatives as a foundation for long-term strategic work.

39.As preparatory work for the plan, the Government carried out awareness-raising activities and dialogues on racism and similar forms of hostility at different places in the country in autumn 2015 under the heading Samling mot rasism (Gathering against racism). Government representatives have conducted dialogue on these issues in other contexts too. These dialogues were held with representatives of central organisations representing groups subjected to racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime, and with government agencies with a particular mandate in this area. The activities in conjunction with Samling mot rasism involved intensifying work in this sphere as well as preparatory work for the National plan.

40.In the National plan the Government provides a description of what the situation regarding racism and hate crime looks like today according to different sources, such as attitude and experience surveys, statistics on hate crime, status reports and proposals from different actors, e.g. participants in Samling mot rasism. The Government also provides an in-depth status report on the situation regarding Afrophobia, antisemitism, antiziganism, Islamophobia, racism against Sami people, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. On the basis of the status report and the proposals from civil society and State actors and from international monitoring bodies reported in the plan, the Government identifies five strategic areas as being crucial to attaining the plan’s objective.

41.The Government has identified the main problems that exist in these strategic areas and the measures that should be taken in addition to those already in progress. The strategic areas are as followed: More knowledge, education and research, Improved coordination and monitoring, Civil society: greater support and more in-depth dialogue, Stepping up preventive work online and A more active legal system.

42.On 24 November 2016, the Government commissioned the Living History Forum to take responsibility for coordinating and following up work within the remit of the National plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime during the period 2016-2019. The agency will implement a regular exchange of experiences, knowledge and information, primarily between agencies that work on these issues. Furthermore, the agency will gradually develop a monitoring system encompassing regular reporting based on the information the agency receives from agencies affected and additional information, e.g. from attitude and experience surveys. The Living History Forum will report to the Government on its commission each year with a special report on developments in the area.

43.The Government has also charged the Living History Forum with carrying out a major education initiative on different forms of racism and intolerance in history and today, to run until 2019. The aim is that the initiative will help to create an equal society characterised by respect for the equal value and rights of all people and to promote democracy. The initiative covers antisemitism, Afrophobia, antiziganism, Islamophobia, racism against Sami people, homophobia and transphobia. The target group for the initiatives will encompass occupational groups that work on questions concerning racism or similar forms of hostility in their operations, or who in exercising their authority as an agency or in their public operations come into contact with people who are exposed to racism or similar forms of hostility. In 2016 the Forum also reinforced its regional outreach work in many places in Sweden and among people in different social groups.

44.The National Agency for Education has been commissioned to carry out awareness-raising initiatives in schools on racism up to 2017. The Agency is producing material for support on these issues and is carrying out in-service training for school staff on these issues in partnership with the Living History Forum. The Government has also commissioned the National Agency for Education to produce and carry out national school development programmes, comprising various skills development and support initiatives geared towards education providers and schools. These cover ways and forms of working to develop initiatives on values in the education system. The values include actively combating racist tendencies and conveying and embedding respect for human rights and fundamental democratic values.

45.The Government has commissioned the Swedish Agency for Youth and Society (MUCF) to carry out training initiatives on the basis of the norm-critical material Öppna skolan! (Open school!) until 2019. These initiatives are geared towards school staff and seek to create an open and inclusive environment for young LGBTQ people in schools.

46.The Swedish Agency for Youth and Society annually allocates funding under the Ordinance (2008:62) on Government grants to activities to combat racism and similar forms of intolerance. Grants can be given to non-profit organisations and foundations that are not run by the State or local government and are allocated to activities that combat, inter alia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, antiziganism and homophobia. In 2016-2020 the Agency will increase its allocation of funding to promote activities specifically intended to combat Afrophobia, antisemitism, antiziganism, Islamophobia, racism against Sami people, homophobia and transphobia. The Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities (SST) is allocating funding to faith communities for measures to heighten safety in 2016.

47.The Government has commissioned Dalarna County Administrative Board to develop ways of working to combat social risks with a focus on racism and extremism as part of the work on civil contingency planning carried out by the different County Administrative Boards. The Dalarna County Administrative Board will pass on the results of this work and submit proposals for any continued initiatives in the field.

48.The Government has instructed the Swedish Research Council to allocate special funding each year from 2016 onwards to strengthen research in the area of racism. This will enable a consistent research programme to be created, which will gather and strengthen Swedish research in this thematic field and that will have an international character. In October 2016, the Swedish Research Council was also instructed by the Government to carry out a survey of research on racism as regards the labour market. The survey will cover a description of the research being carried out in Sweden in this area and sum up national and international research results.

49.On 13 October 2016 the Government decided on a strategy on the national implementation of human rights. The strategy involves the Government taking further steps towards a coherent structure to promote and protect human rights at an overarching level. In the strategy, the Government makes the judgment that a national institution for human rights, in accordance with the Paris Principles, should be established in Sweden. In the view of the Government, such an institution should be under the authority of the Riksdag. Because this issue concerns the Riksdag’s agencies, it is incumbent upon the Riksdag to further address the issue of establishing a human rights institution.

50.On 13 August 2015, the Government adopted a new Action plan containing 21 measures to safeguard democracy against violent extremism. The measures aim to strengthen work to safeguard democracy and the equal value and rights of all people, develop initiatives to tackle identified risks and to encourage individuals to leave violent extremist movements. The Action plan covers all three relevant violent extremist ideologies in Sweden — violent right-wing, violent left-wing and violent Islamist extremism.

51.One key for successful preventive work against violent extremism is knowledge, allocating responsibility and functioning collaboration between relevant agencies, municipalities and county councils. Because no Government agency had overall responsibility for this work, in 2014 the Government commissioned a National Coordinator to safeguard democracy against violent extremism. The Government has extended the mandate of the National Coordinator to 12 January 2018. The main task of the National Coordinator involves engaging and involving actors on local level, such as social services, education, the police service, recreation leaders, and civil society organisations, including faith communities, and facilitating the development of local forms of cooperation between actors with the aim of safeguarding democracy against violent extremism. The coordinator is to work to ensure that awareness of violent extremism increases and that preventive methods are developed.

52.The Government has also tasked the Commission for Government Support for Faith Communities (SST) with expanding and deepening dialogue with faith communities with the aim of stimulating work on democracy and democratic awareness. The Commission is to expand the dialogue to include a broad spectrum of faith communities and groupings within faith communities, with a focus on women and young people in particular.

53.The Government has furthermore commissioned the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society (MUCF) to allocate government grants to organisations and municipalities for activities that counteract anti-democratic behaviour, radicalisation and links to violent extremism. The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has also developed a gender perspective in effort to safeguard democracy against violent extremism and will also produce guidance for municipalities in collaborating with civil society organisations on the prevention on violent extremism.

54.The Segerstedt Institute at the University of Gothenburg develops and disseminates knowledge and methods for reducing recruitment to violent ideologies and movements and to racist organisations. In 2016 the Institute had a mandate to develop preventive work, particularly regarding young people who are in or on the margins of violent extremist environments. One particularly important element in this area is preventive work to counteract violent extremism in schools, including support for teachers, recreation leaders and social workers,

55.In June 2016, the Government commissioned the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) to carry out quantitative surveys and analyses of the violent extremist propaganda spread via the internet and social media in Sweden. The survey is to cover the violent extremist environments that exist in Sweden: right-wing extremism, left-wing extremism and Islamist extremism, and their international links. Furthermore the Agency is to carry out qualitative analyses of this material and the content of texts and messages. The Swedish Defence Research Agency is subsequently to disseminate the results of the surveys and analyses to affected actors at national and local level.

56.In October 2016 the National Board of Health and Welfare was tasked to continue to support social services in their work against violent extremism. It is essential for social service staff to be aware of how different cases in social services concerning violent extremism can be managed. Within this remit, the Board is also to carry out a new survey of social services’ experiences of violent extremism. In October 2016, the Swedish National Board of Institutional Care (SIS) was tasked with continuing to carry out initiatives to strengthen preventive work in special residential homes for young people. In addition to this, SIS will reinforce work on democracy and human rights within the remit of its educational activity. In October 2016 the Ombudsman for Children was charged with helping to increase awareness of children’s experiences of being affected by the problem of people travelling from Sweden to conflict areas for the purpose of terrorism. The Ombudsman for Children is also to summarise the research and knowledge available on children and young people who are directly or indirectly affected by right-wing extremism or left-wing extremism. The aim is to prevent harm to children, drawing on the children’s own experiences. In October 2016 the Prison and Probation Service was charged with developing initiatives to prevent violent extremism and embedding this within the service in the long term.

57.An Action Plan to prevent threats to democratic discourse was announced in the 2016 budget. The purpose of the forthcoming Action Plan is to prevent vulnerability on the part of key actors involved in public discourse, such as elected representatives, journalists and artists, and to prevent threats and hate in the public arena.

58.See also the section under Article 7, in which the Government sets out a number of other initiatives to combat racism, etc.

Integration policy, with special reference to paragraph 15 of the Committee’s recommendations

59.Sweden faces major challenges if it is to successfully integrate newly arrived immigrants. The Government is therefore making systematic efforts to improve the efficiency of the establishment process and shorten waiting times. The Government’s work on establishing newly arrived immigrants involves creating conditions to ensure that these immigrants are quickly able to begin work or education.

60.In order to reduce the time from arrival to starting work, work to expedite the establishment of newly arrived immigrants in working life and community life is now being reformed. In 2016-2019 a number of investments will be made which will enable newly arrived immigrants to join the labour market more quickly, including reinforced labour market initiatives, validation, making it easier for newly arrived immigrants to start businesses and increasing the funding paid to municipalities for receiving refugees.

61.The Government has also allocated more resources to the Swedish Public Employment Service with the aim of improving efforts to facilitate newly arrived immigrants finding employment more rapidly. The Government is also introducing initiatives to encourage asylum seekers towards education or employment during the asylum-seeking process. Dua, the Delegation for Young People to Work, was set up in 2014 and works to strengthen cooperation between municipalities and the Swedish Employment Service in the long-term and to ensure that labour market policy initiatives for youth unemployment have a greater impact at local level. This will also benefit newly arrived immigrants.

62.The large number of asylum seekers that have come to Sweden during this period has led to many asylum seekers having to wait for even longer periods before receiving a decision on a residence permit. It is important that meaningful and effective use is made of the time during which the individual is undergoing the asylum-seeking process, with the aim of making it easier for the asylum seeker to become established in working and community life once asylum is granted. This is also true for those people who have been granted a residence permit but remain in accommodation for asylum seekers while awaiting a home in a municipality. The Government has therefore given the County Administrative Boards a new mandate to coordinate and organise early initiatives for asylum seekers.

63.Such initiatives may be carried out by several different actors, including civil society organisations. The Government has earmarked funding for initiatives for refugee guides and family contacts for asylum seekers and newly arrived immigrants who have been granted residence permits. This enables municipalities and civil society to jointly offer meaningful initiatives for asylum seekers, such as community information.

64.To make it easier for newly arrived immigrants to become established in the labour market, it must be possible for the Swedish Employment Service to offer a survey of the educational background of these immigrants and their employment experience during the asylum-seeking period. Skills surveys will better enable recruitment needs, primarily in the welfare sector, to be met. The Government has also earmarked funding for special initiatives in non-formal adult education for activities that seek to improve skills in Swedish and about society, and to encourage participation in community life for asylum seekers and people who have been granted a residence permit but are still resident in accommodation for asylum seekers.

65.The large number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum means that there is a great need for initiatives particularly geared towards this target group. The Government will therefore simplify the regulations, improve the planning capabilities of municipalities, reduce the administrative burden and increase cost efficiency. The Government intends to give the municipalities better opportunities to find cost-effective forms of housing that match the individual needs of unaccompanied minors, so leading to greater flexibility in the ability of municipalities to take in these minors.

66.Regarding the refugee situation and unaccompanied child refugees, the guide (from 2013) “Socialtjänstens arbete med ensamkommande barn och ungdomar” (Social services’ work with unaccompanied children and young people) should be mentioned. This emphasises these children’s right to the same chances in life as other children in our society. In the survey of the needs of unaccompanied children and young people that ran in parallel with the guide, it emerged that many unaccompanied children and young people found it difficult to enter the Swedish “youth culture environment”, to gain access to young Swedish people/groups of friends and that Afghan and Somali young people in particular said that they felt disadvantaged because they did not know Swedish, had no material resources and felt that they met with prejudice due to their origin.

67.The National Board of Health and Welfare is also currently carrying out a pilot study on the need for more awareness among staff at HVB homes for unaccompanied minors. Attention has been paid within social services to the need for more knowledge about human rights and the risks of discrimination against unaccompanied minors.

68.See also the section under Article 5 on initiatives for employment and education for people from a foreign background.

Stigmatisation and discrimination against Roma, with special reference to paragraph 20 of the Committee’s recommendations

69.The Government’s Strategy for Roma Inclusion 2012-2032 rests on human rights, with special emphasis on the principle of non-discrimination. One central aspect of work for Roma inclusion is bridging the trust gap that exists between Roma and the State and which prevents Roma from fully participating in society. During the period 2012-2015, a special initiative was carried out involving pilot projects in five municipalities, with the aim of expediting improvements at local level. In the first four years of the strategy, these pilot municipalities have developed structures that form the basis for more long-term work on Roma inclusion. Several agencies were involved in this work.

70.The Government intends to allocate an additional SEK 58 million to this work during 2016-2019. In order to ensure that the methods and approaches developed in work on Roma inclusion in 2012-2015 are passed on, the Government, after informing all municipalities, has passed a decision on grants to five new municipalities which will develop municipal Roma inclusion models over two years. Stockholm County Administrative Board is responsible for coordinating and following up the initiatives. Within its prioritised area of “equal rights and opportunities for Jews, Roma, Sami, Sweden Finns and Tornedalers”, the Equality Ombudsman has mainly worked with Sami and Roma rights in various ways.

71.The Living History Forum’s exhibition Vi är Romer (We are Roma), which was part-funded by the Government, ended in December 2015. An evaluation of the exhibition shows that it helped, in part, to counter and tackle stereotypes and was characterised by dialogue. A new version of the exhibition opened in Malmö in October 2016.

72.In 2012-2015 the National Agency for Education was tasked with producing a training programme for mediators with Roma language and cultural skills to serve as a link between individuals and the public sector. The bridge-builders are active in preschools and schools in a number of municipalities that have also been granted Government funding to cover part of the mediators’ salary costs.

73.In order to make it easier for schools to comply with current regulations on the national minorities, among other things, the National Agency for Education has been commissioned to carry out initiatives to increase awareness of the national minorities in schools, with a focus on Roma.

74.The Agency has also worked with representatives of the Roma community to devise supplementary teaching material in digital form, with facts and inspiring material on Roma culture, language, religion and history, and about 10 teaching tools in Romani chib that can be used in mother tongue tuition. The National Agency for Education has also worked to improve access to teachers in national minority languages and drawn up syllabuses for mother tongue tuition, including Romani chib as a first and as a second language, respectively.

75.In 2014-2016 the National Board of Health and Welfare was commissioned to draw up and make accessible a training course for training mediators with Roma language and cultural skills for work in social services and in the health and medical care sector. In March 2016 the National Board of Health and Welfare presented training material geared towards staff in social services to provide support in their encounters with clients and in applying an inclusive approach, with a particular focus on the Roma group. To ensure that the material is used at local level, the Government decided in May 2016 that the National Board of Health and Welfare was to carry out a training initiative based on the material, aimed at social services.

76.The Swedish Employment Service has employed mediators in the former pilot municipalities to spread information and knowledge among Roma about the service and the support that the service is able to provide.

77.In 2015 the Swedish Agency for Public Management carried out an evaluation of mediator activities in the areas of education, social services and employment, which shows that mediators in education have helped to increase awareness among staff in the municipal administration and among the Roma minority, and that many students who were supported by mediators seem to have improved their study situation and find it easier to complete their education. The Swedish Employment Service has also been able to report that their mediators have encouraged Roma to register with the Swedish Employment Service and find jobs. In the light of the positive experiences of mediator activities, the Government has passed the decision to reinforce and expand the mediator initiative with continued training and grants to support the municipalities involved in 2016-2019.

78.The Strategy for Roma Inclusion clearly states that Roma participation and influence must characterise work on the strategy at all levels. The Government Offices of Sweden, and the agencies and municipalities concerned, have carried out and developed various forms of consultation with Roma experts and representatives. With Government funding, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions has developed a working model that provides several of the former pilot municipalities with support in their work to develop qualitative and systematic consultation with Roma. The agencies tasked with activities as part of the strategy also carry out various forms of consultation and dialogue with Roma representatives.

79.The Government Offices of Sweden conduct ongoing dialogue with a Roma reference group comprising 20 Roma experts in different areas, women and men of different ages from the five major Roma groups in Sweden. The participants were appointed following a nomination process in which Roma were able to propose members of this reference group.

80.The Government has commissioned the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society to facilitate Roma engagement in civil society and the involvement of Roma organisations in work for Roma inclusion and in society in general through training in running organisations and exchanging experiences between Roma and non-Roma organisations.

81.In the status report on the situation of Roma in the strategy’s pilot municipalities presented by Stockholm County Administrative Board in 2014, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning found that antiziganism in the Swedish housing market has a long and established history and Roma are in a particularly vulnerable position in the housing market. Complaints to the Equality Ombudsman show that the opportunity of Roma in particular to gain access to housing is often limited. Half of all rulings and conciliation proceedings on discrimination in the housing market concern Roma. The structural discrimination that Roma have been exposed to, predominantly during the 20th century, has led to a trust gap between potential Roma tenants and landlords. The National Board of Housing, Building and Planning is therefore to carry out an initiative in 2016-2018 to combat discrimination against Roma in the housing market. This includes working with Roma organisations and experts to create a network of property owners and landlords and drawing up guidance material geared towards property owners and landlords in collaboration with them.

82.In 2014 the Government presented a white paper describing abuse and attacks that Roma have been exposed to during the 20th century. The purpose of the white paper is to affirm victims and their relatives and generate understanding for the situation of the Roma minority today.

83.In 2014 the Government also decided to appoint a Commission against Antiziganism. The Commission submitted its final report Kraftsamling mot antiziganism (Concerted action against antiziganism) to the Government in June 2016. Within the remit of its work, the Commission carried out awareness-raising initiatives to prevent and combat antiziganism. Among other things, the Commission has widely disseminated training material, including teacher guidance based on the Government’s white paper. This initiative targeted schools and other parts of society affected throughout Sweden.

Article 2.2

Special measures, with special reference to paragraph 8 of the Committee’s recommendations

84.Positive discrimination is a controversial concept and is not defined in Swedish legislation. Nor is there any given consistent definition of the concept of positive discrimination in international documents. It is clear that the lack of an unambiguous definition of positive discrimination frequently leads to misunderstandings.

85.As regards positive discrimination in the form of special measures of a more interventional nature that mark a departure from the principle of equal treatment, from a strictly legal viewpoint there are exceptions to the ban on discrimination in the Discrimination Act (rules on this type of special measures) regarding ethnicity in employment policy, when starting or operating a business, and in some parts of the education system (measures taken by a folk high school or an adult education association). The ban on discrimination currently in place for these areas does not represent an obstacle to the application of provisions or measures that seek to promote equal opportunity regardless of ethnicity.

86.There are no such exceptions to the ban on discrimination in working life or in other areas of society. Among the reasons cited for not allowing special measures based on ethnicity on the part of employers and in other areas of society are that such a practice violates the principle of equal treatment, problems concerning the delimitation of target groups, the difficulty of determining which criteria employers should use for such assessments, ethnic registration (invasion of privacy), the difficulty of determining which ethnic groups special measures should extend to, the risk of conflict between individuals and groups, and legal insecurity and unpredictability. It may also be reasonably assumed that special measures on ethnic grounds will be practised only to a limited extent. However, a wide range of initiatives have been launched in Sweden that may be described as outreaching, encouraging, generally enabling and enhancing measures designed to hasten progress towards equal rights and equal opportunities for all, regardless of ethnicity. These comprise both general measures directed at the population as a whole but which will benefit many people from under-represented groups, and targeted initiatives based on specific individual needs or capabilities, as well as separate measures targeting newly arrived immigrants or national minorities as a group. In Sweden, such measures are usually kept separate from special measures in the strictly legal sense of the term, but in many international contexts could be regarded as being a form of it in practice.

Article 3

Economic segregation, with special reference to paragraph 14 of the Committee’s recommendations

87.Up to 2015 the Government ran urban development work focused on particularly vulnerable urban districts, with the aim of combating segregation and reducing exclusion. In summer 2016 the Government presented a long-term programme of reform to tackle segregation. The reform programme will run from 2017 to 2025 with five designated areas: reducing housing segregation and overcrowding, combating crime, tackling long-term unemployment, improving schools and student results, and supporting civil society and work for democratic values. A delegation will be appointed to work on the reform programme, one of whose many aspects is working to create jobs.

88.There are also initiatives for sustainable urban development. Social aspects such as less segregation are a vital aspect of this work. Among other things, there is a platform for sustainable urban development that coordinates and expands on urban development issues. At the heart of this platform are five agencies, which have been tasked with this mission since 2014.

89.Since 2014 the Swedish Police Authority has carried out two national surveys to identify and analyse vulnerable residential areas in Sweden from a police perspective. In December 2015 the Swedish Police Authority presented 14 residential areas that were judged to be a particular priority. The police consider that these areas are home to widespread criminality and clearly established organised crime. It is also stated that initiatives are needed from the whole of society, and that the Swedish Police Authority alone is not capable of resolving the underlying problems. The Swedish Police Authority has set particular priorities in these areas and is working actively on ensuring a greater police presence, among other things, to increase public safety in these urban districts. These activities are being carried out in partnership with relevant agencies, municipal actors and civil society. To facilitate the work of the agencies working together to combat organised crime, in December 2015 the Government commissioned 12 agencies with intensifying their collaboration in particularly vulnerable areas.

90.The Government also allocates funding for projects such as the cultural activity initiative “Äga rum” (Ordinance [2016:406] on Government grants for cultural activity in certain residential areas 2016-2018), which focuses on culture and participation in socioeconomically vulnerable residential areas. The initiative is founded on the residents’ needs, involvement and participation. The aim is partly to boost the arts, encourage civil society actors and promote the development of cultural activities in vulnerable areas.

91.The project regarding Local resource centres for democratic participation (Ordinance [2015:565] on government grants for activities for democratic participation through local resource centres) is an initiative that focuses on increasing participation in democracy among people living in socioeconomically vulnerable residential areas who are far from being participants, or feeling that they are participants, in democracy. The purpose of the government grant is to empower individuals with weak participation in democracy as actors in democracy. The project is to seek to give individuals better opportunities to participate and make their voices heard in democracy, primarily by constituting a meeting place for local engagement; inspiring and supporting grassroots organisation in networks, groups or associations; acting as a link for established associations and organisations; and offering support and guidance in putting forward opinions and influencing decision-making within the remit of democracy at local, regional or national level.

92.The Government has allocated funds in 2016 for support for outdoor environments in certain residential areas (Ordinance [2016:398] on support for outdoor environments in certain residential areas). The purpose of the funding is to help to establish outdoor environments that stimulate activity and social community, and to preserve or develop the identity of a residential area in areas facing socioeconomic challenges.

Article 4

Training for judges, with special reference to paragraph 11 of the Committee’s recommendations

93.The Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy is responsible for competence development for judges and other legal personnel within the Swedish courts. The Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy provides both junior judges, i.e. judges in training, and permanent judges with training on hate crimes, including hate crimes with a racist motive. The training for junior judges is provided within the remit of a compulsory training package and mainly concerns taking into account racist or other hate motives when determining penalties. There is no compulsory training for newly appointed permanent judges or in-service training for more experienced judges; instead the system is based on the judges themselves actively choosing to participate in a training course with the Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy. The courses that mainly address the issues in question are two courses in sentencing. The courses are in great demand and the mix of judges with different levels of experience has proved to work very well. As with other courses run by the Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy, the courses are evaluated and modified on an ongoing basis in terms of both their content and their educational structure in order to meet stringent quality requirements.

94.For information on the work of the police, see information in the sections under Articles 2 and 5.

Racist and extremist organisations, with special reference to paragraph 13 of the Committee’s recommendations

95.Sweden once more wishes to assert that Swedish legislation effectively prohibits every form of racist expression (cf. paragraphs 119-122 in the nineteenth to twenty-first report, paragraphs 81-89 in the seventeenth and eighteenth report and paragraphs 66-74 in the fifteenth and sixteenth report.

96.The provision on agitation against a national or ethnic group, which criminalises the dissemination of racist statements and threats both among the general public and within a group, is of particular importance. The provision was amended in 1989 to force racist groups into passivity. Prior to 1989 there was a requirement that the message must have been disseminated among the general public. The amendment to the law removed this requirement, such that statements within organisations, inter alia, would be covered by criminal liability. The purpose behind the change was to make it impossible in practice for racist organisations to operate. The amendment was also cited as grounds against proposing an explicit ban on racist organisations; such a ban was not considered necessary given the penal provision in its new and expanded wording.

97.As Sweden has previously stated, there are also a number of other penal provisions that combat the activities of racist groups. These include the provisions on unlawful military activity and inciting rebellion. Furthermore, Sweden has far-reaching provisions on aiding and abetting (instigation and being an accessory), and attempt, preparation or conspiracy to commit a crime. These focus on preliminary stages before a crime is committed or on crimes that involve people in addition to the perpetrator themselves. This makes them particularly applicable in the case of crimes that are planned or committed within organised groups.

98.Overall, Swedish criminal law means that in practice it is impossible for groups that advocate racial discrimination to operate without their members committing a crime.

99.For information on the relevant penal legislation, see paragraph 123 in the nineteenth to twenty-first report.

Article 5

Work for equality and diversity in the legal system, with special reference to paragraph 16 in the Committee’s recommendations

100.Increasing equality and diversity within the organisation is an important issue for the Swedish Police Authority. The Authority is working actively to increase the number of employees from a foreign background. The Swedish Police Authority has had an equality plan spanning 2013-2016. This plan was used internally within the police organisation and externally in the work of the police force. The concept of equality incorporates aspects such as gender equality, ethnic and cultural diversity and sexual orientation. In 2015 the Swedish Police Authority worked on various initiatives to increase diversity within the police service. For example, the Authority carried out targeted information initiatives to attempt to encourage people from under-represented groups to apply to train as a police officer, e.g. via particular radio channels or in conjunction with different events. The Swedish Police Authority has also planned a diversity project “Världen integreras i Svensk Polis” (Integrating the world in the Swedish police force) (VISP), which will run through 2016-2018. In total 100 women and men with a non-Nordic background will be trained and employed for fixed periods over 17 months. Other measures that the Authority has applied during 2015-2016 include preparing and launching a preparatory training course, with the aim of encouraging more applicants with a foreign background to train as police officers.

101.There is great ethnic diversity in Sweden, which means that police officers encounter citizens with a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds in their work every day. In these encounters, the needs and perspectives of citizens need to be taken into account and understood in order to create confidence in the work of the police. Diversity issues are an integrated and obvious element in the work of the Police Authority. All people, irrespective of their background and circumstances must be met and treated with respect by the police. Having government employees reflect the make-up of the population is important for legitimacy and public trust in the Government administration. For this reason, the Swedish Police Authority places great emphasis on diversity and gender equality aspects in recruitment and internal training.

102.Since 2007 the Government has tasked the Swedish National Courts Administration with separately reporting on steps that have been taken to increase public trust in the courts, including measures taken to ensure that parties, injured persons and witnesses are treated well and given relevant information. The Swedish National Courts Administration reports on this in its annual report. The annual report for 2015 states the following: In 2015 a new action plan for the Courts of Sweden’s work on treatment of parties and drafting judgments began to apply. The action plan seeks to ensure recurring and systematic work in these two areas. It involves the Swedish Courts studying on a regular basis how the courts’ users view the way they are treated and judgements are drafted and taking the necessary action to ensure that users are treated well and receive decisions that are clear and comprehensible. The Swedish National Courts Administration can provide support to the courts to ensure that the courts are able to carry out and follow up the effects of this work. In 2015 interviews were held with parties and witnesses, meetings were held with professional bodies and the treatment of parties and judgment drafting were discussed. On the basis of the outcomes of these activities, many courts drew up guidelines for the treatment of parties and recommendations for drafting judgements as well as proposed measures to improve information to and treatment of parties and witnesses. One example of measures taken by courts is the production of information brochures in different languages. Furthermore, the Swedish National Courts Administration arranged for experiences to be exchanged on the treatment of parties and witnesses. This addressed issues on how the courts have carried out their work on the treatment of parties, the results and the measures this has led to, and the lessons that courts have learned from this work.

103.Regarding equality, the Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy has put together a package of courses on the role of judges geared towards both newly appointed judges and more experienced permanent judges. This package of courses has been expanded in recent years and now comprises four courses amounting to a total of 13 course days. The courses address the function of the courts and the judge from a theoretical perspective, the role as a chairperson and treatment issues, drafting judgements and media expertise, as well as an international perspective on the role of a judge. Equal treatment of parties and good treatment adapted to the situation are among the main themes that run through the course content. Demand for these courses has been so high that the Courts of Sweden Judicial Training Academy plans to double the number of courses in 2017. The Swedish National Courts Administration’s introductory training for newly appointed court personnel who are not lawyers contains extensive elements on equal treatment and good treatment adapted to the situation. In 2014 the Swedish National Courts Administration was commissioned by the Government to set up compulsory introductory and in-service training for all lay judges. The training is broad and covers issues of the rule of law and an ethically sustainable approach within the remit of the role of a lay judge.

104.Within the scope of work on gender equality and diversity, the Swedish National Courts Administration employed in 2016 a gender equality strategist to further improve the quality of the ongoing work of the Swedish Courts on gender equality, discrimination and treatment issues. The supporting material produced by the Swedish National Courts Administration to make it easier for the courts to work with diversity and associated issues (see paragraphs 130-131 in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first report) remains relevant. The vast majority of courts have diversity plans.

105.Through changes to the Code of Judicial Procedure which entered into force on 1 October 2013 (prop. 2012/13:132) and 1 November 2015 (prop. 2014/15:77) Sweden has implemented the Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings (2010/64/EU) and the Victims Directive (2012/29/EU). Now, if a suspect or an injured plaintiff in a criminal case does not speak Swedish, an interpreter must be provided at hearings before the court. The fact that the same applies to interviews during the preliminary enquiry is also expressly regulated by law (see paragraph 15 in the memorandum from Sweden to the Committee in July 2009). Furthermore, the court or the agency investigating a crime is obliged to translate a document or the most important parts of a document in a criminal case for the suspect or at the request of an injured party, if a translation is of essential importance for the suspect or the injured party to be able to exercise their rights. Additionally, the competence criteria have been made more stringent regarding interpreters and translators hired by courts and agencies investigating crimes. If possible, an authorised interpreter or translator should be hired.

106.There is a great need for interpreters at the Swedish Courts while access to interpreters is limited. In 2015 the Swedish Agency for Public Management was commissioned by the Government to draw up a number of measures to ensure that the courts are able to use existing interpreting and translation services more efficiently. On the basis of these proposals, the Government has commissioned the Swedish National Courts Administration to support more efficient use of interpreters in courts. Support for the courts is to be developed through training and by expanding video technology which makes it easier for interpreters to be located elsewhere and interpret simultaneously for a court in a different location. The Swedish National Courts Administration works actively and with a long-term approach to improve the quality of interpretation in courts, partly by the courts sharing information on court interpreters and other authorised interpreters and their respective qualifications. The Swedish National Courts Administration also conducts ongoing collaboration with Kammarkollegiet (the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency), with the aim of securing procurement of high-quality interpreting services. The Swedish National Courts Administration is also conducting a dialogue with several stakeholders on the possibility of increasing the number of court interpreters and further improving the quality of available interpretation services in general. The Swedish National Courts Administration is also investing in new technology which in the longer term will enable interpretation to be provided to a greater extent by video link.

107.The Swedish Courts’ website contains information translated into Finnish, Meänkieli and Sami on the right to use a minority language in court. Basic information on the court proceedings in the district court and administrative court is also provided in these languages. On the website itself visitors can also choose to have the text translated into another language by using the free Google Translate service, although this does not provide an entirely accurate translation.

108.In its appropriation directions for 2015 and 2016, the Prison and Probation Service continued to be tasked with providing feedback on the Service’s initiatives to prevent and combat discrimination. In 2015 the Prison and Probation Service drew up a code of ethics aimed at translating the State’s values into practical activity, which includes issues of discrimination based on e.g. ethnicity. The Service’s equality guidelines were also updated in 2015. These are reviewed every three years. In 2015 17 per cent of employees within the Prison and Probation Service had a foreign background (which is an increase compared to previous reports). To further increase the diversity of staff groups, in 2015 the Prison and Probation Service launched work to offer recently arrived Swedes work experience placements combined with Swedish tuition. The aim is to subsequently be able to offer permanent positions when they have completed and passed the basic training course.

109.For information on the relevant legislation, see paragraphs 88 and 89 in Sweden’s twelfth report.

Political rights

110.One prerequisite for being able to participate in the political process and being able to vote in public elections is that those eligible to vote understand how the election system works. Before each election, the Central Election Authority of Sweden produces information material for those eligible to vote on when, where and how they can vote. People with a foreign background who are eligible to vote and speak Swedish and/or another language are a prioritised target group in the Election Authority’s communication work. Before the general election in 2014, information on the voting process was translated into 31 languages.

111.When it comes to turnout, it is difficult to obtain detailed statistics as Sweden does not compile any official statistics on ethnicity. The only statistics available are those on citizenship and country of birth, as described above. However, Statistics Sweden does produce statistics on the participation of people born abroad in elections, at the request of the Government. Statistics Sweden’s analysis shows that people born abroad have a lower turnout rate than people born in Sweden. In the 2014 Riksdag election the turnout rate was 72 per cent of the electorate born abroad, compared with 89 per cent of the electorate born in Sweden. This is a difference of 17 percentage points. In the light of this, the Government considers that there is a need to encourage higher participation in elections among those born abroad, primarily in areas where turnout is low, and is therefore carrying out initiatives with the aim of encouraging a high and more even turnout across different groups of the population. In conjunction with the 2014 election, a number of initiatives were carried out such as school elections, funding to political parties for special information initiatives and funding to civil society and municipalities running activities aimed at increasing participation in elections among people born outside Sweden.

The Indigenous Sami people, with special reference to paragraphs 17, 18 and 19 of the Committee’s recommendations

112.In December 2013 the Government adopted a predator policy under which the level of tolerance for harm to reindeer caused by predators must not exceed 10 per cent of the actual number of reindeer owned by Sami reindeer herders. Management plans are to be the central and regional tool for attaining this goal. According to the policy agreed on, county administrative boards, the Sami Parliament and the Sami villages should work jointly with the management tool. The purpose is to improve the coexistence of reindeer herds and large predators.

113.A fundamental element in Swedish democracy is different forms of consultation, in Sweden usually termed “samråd”. The process from prospecting to establishing a mine is carefully regulated in legislation including the Minerals Act (1991:45), the Environmental Code and the Planning and Building Act (2010:900). A number of permits are required before a mine can be opened, such as an exploration permit, an exploitation concession and permits under the Environmental Code. Consultation with land owners and holders of special rights (e.g. Sami villages affected) is required as part of the permit process.

114.On 1 August 2014 the Minerals Act was amended with the aim of strengthening the position of individuals in relation to prospecting for mineral deposits. The amendments involved tightening up and clarifying the requirements on what a work plan has to contain. A right to have the work plan translated into Finnish, Meänkieli and Sami respectively was also introduced, as was a requirement that an applicable work plan is to be sent to the municipalities, the county administrative boards and the Sami Parliament. In conjunction with these legislative changes, amendments were also made to the Minerals Ordinance (1922:285), including granting the Sami Parliament the opportunity to make a statement on an application for an exploration permit if the application concerns an area used for reindeer herding. These amendments ensured that those affected by prospecting work receive the information they need in order to assert their rights in relation to the prospector. The amendments also mean that the agencies tasked with protecting public interests in prospecting for mineral deposits are kept informed of how the work will be run and the consequences it is assumed to have.

115.Exploration permits are granted by the Chief Mining Inspector. The Sami Parliament has the right to give its opinion if a reindeer herding area is affected. Before any exploration work can begin, the holder of an exploration permit must draw up a work plan which is given to the landowner and holders of special rights (e.g. an affected Sami village). If objections are brought, the holder of the permit must attempt to reach an agreement with the other party. Where the parties are unable to agree, the prospector may request that the Chief Mining Inspector examines the work plan. Conditions may be set in order to protect individual rights. Exploration work (prospecting) must be carried out so as to avoid damage and encroachment where possible. The permit holder must pay compensation if this is not the case.

116.In following up the mineral strategy of 2013, the Government tasked Norrbotten County Administrative Board with heading work to produce guidance for consultation and communication between reindeer herding and the mining industry under the permit process for prospecting for or extracting minerals. The Government Offices of Sweden will now adopt a position on the report submitted by the County Administrative Board earlier in 2016.

117.Regarding general consultation to cover broader issues concerning the Sami people, the Government Offices of Sweden have commissioned inquiry and analysis of the legal issues arising from the introduction of a consultation system in Sweden. A consultation system is a step towards strengthening the opportunities of Sami people to exercise influence and participate in issues concerning Sami circumstances.

118.The Government has been engaged in more in-depth dialogue with the Sami Parliament for some years now. The purpose of the dialogue is to make progress on important issues.

119.One central aspect of the Government’s policy for the Sami population is work on a Nordic Sami convention. The negotiations began in 2011. The Government has stepped up negotiations on a Nordic Sami convention in order to strengthen and clarify the rights of the Sami population to protect and develop their language, their culture, their livelihoods and their community with as little obstruction as possible arising from national borders. The negotiations have just ended and there will be a technical meeting in January 2017. A signature subject to ratification is planned for.

120.In accordance with what has been reported by Sweden to the UN Human Rights Council, the Government will continue working towards ratifying the ILO’s Convention No. 169. This ratification is, however, ultimately a question for the Riksdag to decide upon.

The right to work, etc.

121.Sweden’s Instrument of Government states as a basic principle that the public institutions shall secure the right of individuals to employment.

122.According to the European Social Charter, Sweden’s aim is that everyone shall have the opportunity to earn their living in an occupation freely entered upon and for all workers to have the right to just conditions of work. With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right of the individual to work, Sweden must as one of its primary aims, maintain as high and stable a level of employment as possible, with a view to the attainment of full employment. This must apply without discrimination in any form.

123.The right to employment is also protected by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Under ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, Sweden is to promote equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of employment and occupation.

124.According to Sweden’s Instrument of Government, every citizen shall be guaranteed the freedom to associate with others for public or private purposes in their relations with the public institutions (freedom of association). Restrictions on freedom of association may only be imposed by law. It is true that special limitations may be imposed by law on people other than Swedish citizens who are in Sweden with regard, inter alia, freedom of association, but the underlying assumption in principle is that the protection of freedoms and rights applies equally to Swedish citizens and others who are in the country.

125.No act of law or other provision may be adopted which contravenes Sweden’s undertakings under the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In addition, freedom of association is protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Social Charter. Freedom of association is also protected by the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and by the ILO Convention No. 87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise.

126.According to the Swedish Co-determination Act, which is part of labour law, the right of association may not be infringed by the employer or employee side. The term “right of association” means the right of employers and employees to belong to an employers’ organisation or an employees’ organisation, to exercise the rights of membership in such organisation, and to participate in such organisation or the establishment thereof.

The right to public health and medical care, etc.

127.Within the area of equal health, the National Board of Health and Welfare has produced a number of publications, including a handbook on treating clients and patients on equal terms, “Att mötas i hälso-och sjukvård — ett utbildningsmaterial för reflektion om bemötande och jämlika villkor”. Other publications that can be particularly mentioned include “Antiziganism i statlig tjänst — Socialstyrelsens behandling av romer och resande under 1900-talet”, on State-sanctioned antiziganism and treatment of Roma and travellers in the 20th century, “Äldreomsorg på minoritetsspråk” on care of the elderly in minority languages, and “I bemötandet tar framtiden form — Romsk inkludering. Ett utbildningsmaterial till stöd för socialtjänsten”, training material on Roma inclusion for social services.

128.The National Board of Health and Welfare is also one of several actors involved in Sweden’s National Platform for Equal Access to Health and Healthcare since its launch in 2011. The platform was launched on the initiative of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, the National Board of Health and Welfare, the Public Health Agency of Sweden, the Equality Ombudsman, the Swedish Association of Health Professionals, the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union (Kommunal), the Swedish Medical Association, the Swedish Society of Medicine and the Swedish Society of Nursing. Today the platform consists of about 20 national agencies and organisations. The platform’s steering group includes representatives from the original agencies, i.e. including the National Board of Health and Welfare. The joint activities have involved annual workshops on different themes and invited speakers, as well as exchanging experiences internally. The platform has also arranged two national conferences and participated in seminars in other national conferences. It also works with the Commission on Equal Health.

129.Since 2012 the National Board of Health and Welfare has also worked with national minorities and the Board has an action plan in this area. The work partly involves consultation with national minorities and translation of supporting material into national minority languages.

130.The National Board of Health and Welfare also has publications concerning the shortage of interpreters. Among other things the need to raise the transcultural expertise of staff has been identified. From a gender equality perspective, the Board has stated that the shortage of interpreters may partly lead to women being unable to be provided with female interpreters when they request this in particular care situations. The Board has additionally produced the information material “Conversing via an interpreter” in 18 languages.

131.In previous status reports on Health and Medical Services, most recently in 2015, the National Board of Health and Welfare has followed the development of a number of discrimination cases in the field of health and medical care. The largest proportion involve discrimination on grounds of disability, followed by ethnicity. Other material that can be mentioned is the support for the work of social services against extremism produced by the National Board of Health and Welfare. The report shows, among other things, that experienced discrimination tends to increase vulnerability to becoming a target for radicalisation.

The right to education

132.The Government has taken a number of measures to improve the quality of education in the school system and make it more equitable. Measures have also been taken regarding early action to ensure that all students attain their targets, and to make the teaching profession more attractive and improve teacher skills.

133.Within the Samverkan för bästa skola (Working together for the best in education) initiative in 2015 the Government charged the National Agency for Education with two tasks. In dialogue with education providers whose schools have low results or a high student drop-out rate and that face difficult conditions, the National Agency for Education is to carry out initiatives with the aim of improving results and increasing equality within and between schools. In 2015 agreements were entered into between the National Agency for Education and 16 municipal and 8 private education providers, 24 in total. The National Agency for Education estimates that Samverkan för bästa skola will gradually be expanded with the addition of about ten new municipalities or private education providers every six months. An estimated 180 schools will have participated in the initiative by 2019. Funding has been earmarked for extra career services for the providers that participate in the initiative.

134.The National Agency for Education will also carry out initiatives to improve the capacity of education providers to take in newly arrived students and offer them and students with a mother tongue other than Swedish an education of a high and equal standard. Initiatives are geared towards all levels in the chain in a number of central areas. This includes systematic quality work, organising and carrying out reception of newly arrived students, education for newly arrived students and students with a mother tongue other than Swedish, subject teaching that develops language skills, and skills development in e.g. Swedish as a second language, study guidance in the mother tongue, teaching in the mother tongue, study and career guidance and student health. The initiatives are both general and targeted, based on the circumstances and needs of the individual providers. The aim is to improve the likelihood of students attaining good results in compulsory school and equivalent forms of education, as well as on the introductory programme in upper secondary school.

135.On 1 April 2015 the Government appointed a committee of inquiry — the Schools Commission — tasked with submitting proposals aimed at improving results, improving the quality of teaching and increasing equivalence in schools (U2015:03). In May 2016 the Commission submitted proposals for national objectives and a long-term plan with areas for development, along with a schedule for its continued work. The Commission will submit its final report no later than 20 April 2017.

136.In 2014 an amendment was introduced in the Education Act (2010:800) stating that municipalities must allocate resources to education within the education system in line with the different circumstances and needs of children and students.

137.A trial of extending teaching hours in Swedish for students who started Swedish compulsory school in the past two years will run until 2017. Government grants are made to providers of schools with students in years 1-9 who receive teaching in Swedish/Swedish as a second language for at least 105 hours per academic year in addition to ordinary teaching.

138.From 1 January 2016 supplementary provisions were added to the Education Act with the aim of increasing equivalence and to ensure that newly arrived students have the best possible circumstances to develop as far as possible in line with the goals of education. The additions include a definition of “newly arrived” in the Education Act and the fact that a compulsory survey of a newly arrived student’s skills is to be carried out within two months. This is to serve as the basis for the headteacher’s decision on the year group in which the student is to be placed and form the basis of assessing the student’s continued need for support. A provision has also been added whereby a newly arrived student who lacks sufficient skills in the Swedish language to be able to follow and benefit from ordinary teaching must be able to be partly taught in a preparatory class. A student’s education in a preparatory class in a specific subject is to cease as soon as the student is judged to have sufficient skills to be able to participate in ordinary teaching in the subject in question. A student should not have to be taught in a preparatory class for more than two years. Teaching in a preparatory class should take place as close to other teaching as possible in terms of the premises and the content.

139.In 2015 the Government also decided on a targeted government grant of SEK 200 million to 46 municipalities that have taken in a high proportion of newly arrived children and young people in relation to their total number of students.

140.From 1 August 2016, a municipality, county council or private education provider can buy in remote mother tongue tuition and mother tongue study guidance from another contracted provider.

141.An inquiry has been appointed with the aim of proposing how education for newly arrived students who come to Sweden in the later years of compulsory education can be adapted to increase students’ opportunities to gain qualifications that render them eligible for the national programmes at upper secondary school.

142.The Government has also commissioned the Swedish Schools Inspectorate to summarise and analyse experiences of its operations when it comes to inspection and quality assessment in 2016. The report will show the Inspectorate’s experiences of how the school providers allocate resources and work to level the playing field between schools, and the Inspectorate’s experiences of the situation of newly arrived students.

143.Asylum seekers and newly arrived students have the same right to education as students born and brought up in Sweden. On the other hand, it can be difficult for those who arrived late in their school career to cope with studies before they have attained certain Swedish language skills. Post-upper secondary studies also require a pass grade in Swedish at upper secondary school. As far as vocational education is concerned, parts of the funding that the Government has earmarked for Kunskapslyftet (the Knowledge Boost) are only for people who have recently arrived in Sweden and are undergoing education in Swedish for immigrants (SFI) while attending vocational education or being on an apprenticeship. This funding is designated for this group and cannot be used for any others.

144.Most of the assessment of foreign education at upper secondary and post-upper secondary level is carried out by the Swedish Council for Higher Education. In the Budget Bill for 2016 the Government proposed increasing appropriations for this activity by SEK 8 million. From 2017 the appropriations will amount to an estimated SEK 12.5 million.

145.The Government has charged the Swedish Council for Higher Education with carrying out a trial to develop its assessment of foreign education in order to also be able to assess completed post-upper secondary education where documentation is lacking. The Council is also to develop a process to ensure that people with documented but incomplete higher education are able to have their education assessed. This work is expected to lead to people with foreign education being able to have it assessed and evaluated in order to obtain employment or start a course of study in Sweden. Everyone who needs to have their prior learning validated in higher education should be offered this opportunity. This may be particularly important for people with skills that they have acquired abroad and who need to have these validated in Sweden in order to start or continue a course of study. The Government tasked the Swedish Council for Higher Education with helping to establish a lasting structure both to support the work of higher education institutions in assessing prior learning, and to aid cooperation between the higher education institutions regarding this assessment. The Government has also charged universities and university colleges establishments with developing their work on assessing prior learning and working with the Swedish Council for Higher Education in their mandates referred to above during the period 2016-2018. SEK 30 million has been set aside for this initiative in 2016, with the same amount estimated to be earmarked annually for 2017 and 2018.

146.The Government has a special focus on supplementary education for people whose completed foreign education is equivalent to a Swedish university degree such that they are able to take an equivalent Swedish degree or obtain skills in order to become qualified to practice the profession that the foreign education has prepared them for in Sweden. In the 2016 budget the Government proposed an investment of an additional SEK 25 million in supplementary education. This is then expected to be substantially increased to SEK 340 million in 2019. This drive includes expanding the number of places and starting new courses and study programmes.

147.The Government has appointed an inquiry to review the entire system of admission to first-cycle courses and study programmes intended for new entrants to higher education. One of the tasks of the inquiry will be in particular to analyse the type of selection criteria capable of meeting the needs of applicants with foreign qualifications.

148.The Swedish Council for Higher Education has been charged by the Government with planning and running a conference to disseminate best practices of universities and university colleges in response to the current refugee situation.

149.The inclination to commence higher education studies is roughly the same among people with a Swedish and a foreign background. Of those born in 1989, 44 per cent of those with a Swedish background and 42 per cent of those with a foreign background started studying at university by the age of 25 at the latest. However, there are relatively large differences in the transition rate between different categories of people with a foreign background. Only 33 per cent of people born in 1989 who migrated to Sweden at the age of 7-18, (i.e. after the start of compulsory education in Sweden) had started higher education studies by the age of 25. The transition rate was 47 per cent for those who were born abroad but migrated to Sweden before the age of 7, and 46 per cent for those born in Sweden with two parents born abroad. Ten years ago the transition rate in these categories was considerably lower, but it is now higher than for those with a Swedish background.

150.Equal access to education is a democratic right. Everyone must be given equal opportunities to go on to higher education irrespective of their background. The Swedish Council for Higher Education has therefore been charged with surveying and analysing the work of education institutions on broader recruitment and broader participation in higher education. This includes presenting best practices and spreading information about these. The Council reported on this task in April 2016 in the report Kan excellens uppnås i homogena studentgrupper? (Can excellence be achieved in homogenous student groups?), which includes recommendations to the Government and to the higher education institutions. The report is currently being prepared by the Government Offices of Sweden.

Article 7

Accountability for hate speech including racism in political discourse, with special reference to paragraph 12 of the Committee’s recommendations

151.Regarding initiatives to combat hate crime, see the section under Article 2.1.

152.The Swedish Media Council runs the No Hate Speech Movement campaign aimed at preventing racism, sexism and similar forms of hostility and protecting democracy against violent extremism. This initiative, under a Government mandate, seeks to achieve its aims by boosting the media and information literacy (MIL) of children and young people. The Council will continue the No Hate Speech Movement campaign until 2020.

153.The Government has also tasked the Swedish Media Council with surveying protection for children and young people on the internet in terms of racism, similar forms of hostility, hate crime and extremism up to 2017. The survey covers the measures put in place by the public sector and civil society in this area and the self-regulatory steps taken by social media providers. The Council will pass on the results of the survey to actors affected.

154.The Swedish Media Council has conducted a survey of anti-democratic messages on the internet and produced digital training material, MIL for me, which seeks to protect young people against anti-democratic messages and messages advocating violence on the internet and social media. The Swedish Media Council was tasked by the Government with disseminating this training material nationwide in 2014 and 2015. The purpose of the material is to improve MIL among children and young people. In 2016 the Swedish Media Council was charged by the Government with developing, translating and spreading the MIL for me training material, and parts of the material included in the No Hate Speech Movement campaign during 2016.

155.In 2017 the Government will invite dialogue between actors affected to discuss how protection against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime can be prevented and combated, including on social media.

Other recommendations

Consultation and focused discussion with civil society organisations, in particular regarding paragraph 24 of the Committee’s recommendations

156.Within the remit of the preparatory work for Sweden’s twenty-second and twenty-third periodic reports, focused discussion was held with representatives of civil society organisations on 9 November 2016. The purpose of this session was to provide information on the reporting process and to share expert knowledge and views on issues primarily concerning racism, hate crime and discrimination on grounds of ethnicity or religion that may be valuable both for reporting and for ongoing work to combat racism, discrimination, etc. Within the scope of the Government’s work on scrutiny under international conventions, the Government intends to expand this kind of focused discussion with civil society.

157.The Government continuously conducts consultation with representatives of the national minorities within the remit of its minority policy, including Jews, Roma and Sami people. Issues of antisemitism, antiziganism and racism against Sami people are discussed as part of this consultation.

158.From 2017 onwards, the Government will invite participants to attend an annual focused discussion on Afrophobia and Islamophobia, with the aim of facilitating and improving the efficiency of information gathering and other communication on these issues between the Government and civil society organisations.

159.See also the section under Article 2.1 on the dialogues within Samling mot rasism.

Ratification of other treaties, with special reference to paragraph 22 of the Committee’s recommendations

160.Sweden has signed the UN’s International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Before Sweden can ratify the Convention, an analysis must be made of the changes to the law that are required. However, Sweden already complies with the requirements of the Convention in all material respects. Sweden does not currently intend to ratify the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The protection provided by the Convention is largely covered by the other central UN conventions on human rights and by the ILO conventions. Sweden will continue to work to guarantee human rights and to implement the central human rights conventions that Sweden has ratified.

Dissemination, with special reference to paragraph 25 of the Committee’s recommendations

161.The website www.manskligarattigheter.se contains exhaustive information on human rights. It contains the central human rights conventions and information on individual complaints procedures. It also contains other important documents in the area, such as Sweden’s reports to the UN’s mechanisms/treaty body monitoring committees and the committees’ conclusions and recommendations. The most important documents have been translated into Swedish.