• Sweden edition

Sweden slammed for UN rights failures

Published: 09 Nov 2009 08:24 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2009 08:24 GMT+01:00

“There’s an image that Sweden is far ahead of others when it comes to human rights. That’s true is some areas. But if you scratch the surface things look different,” Sweden’s UN association spokesperson Pekka Johansson told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The government was first called to an investigation by the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva back in May.

At the time, Sweden was criticized for an increasing number of hate crimes which seldom resulted in criminal charges. Of 155 attacks against ethnic minorities in 2007, only five cases were eventually brought to trial.

In addition, more hate crimes are Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and homophobic, with an increasing amount of racist propaganda appearing on the internet and in Sweden’s schools.

As a remedy, Sweden ought to implement a ban on racist organizations, according to a report submitted to the Human Rights Council on Monday by Sweden's UN association and several other human rights organizations.

Sweden is also criticized for failing to provide adequate healthcare and education to immigrants, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, and for workplace and public transit discrimination against people with physical disabilities.

The report also takes issue with Sweden’s commitment to gender equality and women’s rights, pointing out that sexually-related violence is on the rise, as are cases of workplace discrimination against women. Women with full time jobs were also found to earn about 20 percent less than men who have equivalent jobs.

Other human rights failings, according to the report, include the ongoing discrimination of the Roma and Sami minorities in Sweden.

“This is serious criticism. Especially striking is the increase in hate crimes and violence against women. Sweden has been criticized before and failed to act. Sweden ought to serve as a good example and we hope that our recommendations can contribute to an improvement,” Linda Nordin Thorslund, the interim secretary general of Sweden’s UN association, told the newspaper.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

09:23 November 9, 2009 by Kaethar
"Sweden ought to implement a ban on racist organizations, according to a report submitted to the Human Rights Council on Monday by Sweden's UN association and several other human rights organizations."

Aand they just lost all credibility. Advocating censorship won't make them very popular. And I find it amusing that they complain of an "increase in hate crimes." Yeah, and? That's nothing the Swedish government can control.

Overall a very shabby report. The only valid criticism amongst all this nonsense is how few cases of discrimination go to court and the set-up of public transportation for disabled people. That's something that can be worked on. Opportunities for women and immigrants is another one, although that's more of a long-term issue. The issue with illegal immigrants is a hot potato too, of course and not everyone would agree that they have the right to free healthcare and education.
09:56 November 9, 2009 by dsclimb
It's a bit rich of the UN, when Sweden is taking more than its fair share of refugees etc.. Perhaps they should harass the USA to pull their weight first, before throwing stones at those who do.
10:11 November 9, 2009 by Merc10
Sweden is said to have the highest levels of gender equality in the world, while women are still discriminated against and are earning less than men.......am i missing something here?
10:38 November 9, 2009 by Faunaman
UN should meake these type of reports in countries like Somalia, China, Sierra Leona...place where the human rights REALLY don't exist.

I don't know what these guys are working for
10:52 November 9, 2009 by byke
I find it amusing when people are questioning the UN ..... the UN is not just one body or organization but the collective of many countries issuing a warning. Sweden has a lot of good things, however there are some terrible human right failures in this country. Many swedes refer to foreigners as being "refugees?" ... but when will they ever be classed as swedes? (even if they have citizenship?) ...... its a 2 tier society at present and the abuses of human rights is rife.

I will say this to any Swedes reading this with a patriotic heart.

Sweden has set out great guidelines for what makes a great country in terms of human rights. However these foundations are being abused and not followed.

Is it not better to be criticized for errors and try to fix them, rather than just lock up and breed hatred?
11:33 November 9, 2009 by Jan-Bug
I'm not at all surprised about these so called "shocking news". Sweden is becoming a not so ideal and a very unsafe country to live in.

Discrimination and hate crimes etc are issues that obviously has to be dealt with, but does anyone question WHY this country has turn into this "none paradise"??? Sweden doesn't give a hand to their own citizen anymore for God's sake! More and more of those so called "human rights" are taken away from them. I don't know whos a-hole the Swedish Government are licking. It is certainly not their own people's. For the swedes themselves there is nothing left to get. Everybody else on this planet, none swedes of course, have all the rights there are to collect, and more than a fair amount of health care, money and attention on all levels.

About the gender equality: Give me a frunking break! That's all I can and wanna say about that issue.

It seems to me that Sweden has to take responsabilty for all the misery in the whole bloody world. Well, we can't do that anymore! I think the swedes themselves are mighty fed up by a Government that are discriminating their own people. I am, that's for sure!
12:35 November 9, 2009 by here for the summer
It is funny to hear this coming from the UN. There own report showed that


140 of the world's nearly 200 countries now hold multi-party elections. But, in practice, only 82, with 57 per cent of the world's people, are fully democratic in guaranteeing human rights, with institutions such as a free press and an independent judiciary. And, 106 countries still limit important civil and political freedoms.

12:57 November 9, 2009 by Eddymu
In regards to the comment regarding public transport access for disabled people I think that is virtually 100% incorrect.

I live in Stockholm and have never been in a city where so many buses have lowering and ramp access systems for wheelchair access, high visibility coloring of hand-holds, destination and current stop audible notification… that's just buses! Virtually all t-bana stops have lifts to platform level, large entry gates for wheelchairs and the trains arrive at platform level. The local boats/ferrys are just as equipped with no stairs to gain entry… in fact, I've seen more people in wheelchairs getting around Stockholm in the past 18months than I ever did living in London.

Try changing at Bank in London in a wheelchair - if you aren't disabled when you attempt it you darn sure will be after!
13:18 November 9, 2009 by Beynch
Let them slam all they want! Ignore these third world, bottom scraping, vermin who have nothing better to do than to critizise the first world. The UN lost all credibility years ago and serves no meaningful purpose. In fact the whole nest of cock roaches should be dismantled completely. Let them set up their pathetic headquarters in Dacca or in Khartoum and let them squeal from there. Nobody will listen anyway. The current headquarters on the East River would make for wonderful condos anyway. Unless of course it has become so infested with UN filth that the building is unusable. How dare they utter such nonsensical goobledigook?? They obviously haven't got the faintest idea what they are talking about. I suggest Sweden considers 86-ing its membership in this den of uncivilized thieves.
14:36 November 9, 2009 by KipHamilton
Just a bit curious- How much of the anti-semitic and homophobic incidents involve Muslims? I am not making any accusations, I would just like to know the percentages, if it is possible to find them out. If, in fact, there is a higher percentage of Muslim involvment, then there might also be a connection to those incidents and growing Islamophobia. If one is to solve a problem, then a very hard and truthful look needs to be given to the issues. It does no good to ignore inconvenient truths.
15:55 November 9, 2009 by Kaethar
@byke: Wth? I hope you're trolling. Being recognised as a Swede is not a human right, nor is it up to the Swedish government to get involved in such an issue.

@Eddymu: Oh, Sweden has it very good compared to other countries. But there's still room for improvement in different areas and it's something the government could work on (if they could be bothered.) They do realise what needs to be done but it's simply not high on their priority list (which is why the UN is there). Still, yeah, it's a tad amusing that the UN criticizes Sweden for this given the state of other countries systems. ;)
16:08 November 9, 2009 by byke
@ Kaethar

You have already proven the point on discrimination by your previous statement.
16:13 November 9, 2009 by Princess P
Eddymu you are incorrect about them being incorrect about public transport access for disabled people. I've never been to Stockholm so don't know about there, but I have used public transport round this way and have found it very difficult.

For example, in Goteborg not all the trams have disabled access.

The trains do not come in at platform level. The last time I travelled only one carriage of a very long train had a lift and sod's law it was the one furthest away. The lift could only be operated by a member of staff, who wanted to play hide'n'seek and later it was only due to a member of the public jumping up and down on the platform that the train didn't pull out of my station before I could get off (was waiting for the lift guy, all the staff were down the other end of the platform having a smoke and a natter).

By the time I got home that day I was so stressed that I vowed never to use public transport again.

On a positive, everyone was very polite and helpful when they could be found, even members of the public. Unlike the UK where I have been spat on for using a seat reserved for disabled people???
18:26 November 9, 2009 by uruki
I will not say the immigration or human rights in Sweden are totally perfect, but... I repeat but.. is it the same UN that facilitated the sanctions on Iraq -as a preparation for the invasion we saw now-?... these sanctions killed more than 500,000 children... So HELLLO UN guys... did you solve all problems... did this UN achieved it.s goals apart from serving the interests of SOME of the un-united nations...?
18:37 November 9, 2009 by byke
I love it how, when an area of concern is highlighted ... automatically people starting looking to compare to other nations of worse standing.

What appears fundamentally wrong here is needing to shift blame or comparing yourself to another state that is lower than you.

If people are going to be lazy and only look after their own ass, then their is no point in paying taxes or taking pride in society.

How F'king low in your own self goals do you have to be to start comparing yourselves to the bottom of the barrel? ....
19:04 November 9, 2009 by refugee
"relative term " shoud be used .. "perfection" is not expected .....

there is discrmination among ethnic groups even in the country of orgin where ur grand father buried.. if ur expecting absolute "human right" ur naive...
19:15 November 9, 2009 by byke
@ refugee

I am afraid you post doesn't make sense ..... Do you speak English?
19:52 November 9, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
Sweden is the most rascist /xenophobic /NATIONALIST (whatever you want to call it, its the same sh*t) country I have ever encountered (and Ive been around).

Sweden needs more immigrants, and I challange anyone to give me one good reason why we shouldnt accept more.

Dont give me that tired old, (booh hoo there arnt any job), if you got of your bidrag addicted asses and did something about it there would be plenty of jobs to go round.

There are plenty of other countries with larger immigrant populations, and only a fraction of the enployment problem.

Its all to do with integration. If sweden INTEGRATED, rather than SEGREGATED their immigrant population, there wouldnt be a problem.

Swedes choose not to integrate and would rather segregate based on not be a member of this nation.

Thats Nationalism, which is just Rascism by another name.

Bring in the big boys and give swedens ass a kick, its about time they were put in their place as the mighty empire they are.
20:18 November 9, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Swedes, don't lose any sleep over this. The UN became a joke a long time ago.
20:27 November 9, 2009 by BroX
@Social Hypocrisy

20:30 November 9, 2009 by hjoian
i been on the end of EU law breaking by various swedish goverment offices....if you are a foreigner and dont know your rights,they will make life so hard that i believe they do so in order for immigrants to get so peed off,that they just leave. It does appear,as mentioned elsewhere,the problem is segregation,and not intergration. Its great that Sweden has taken in so many refugees....but to then segregate them is another matter. Im still not sure that the Swedish population as a whole is too happy intergrating with anyone non Swede....this just brings up feelings of resentment...and more problems. No one country is nirvana...and Sweden is not what it used to be. Such is life.
20:37 November 9, 2009 by Playmaker
As a remedy, Sweden ought to implement a ban on racist organizations

well there goes most the mosques i think they all hate jews are so it seems from the protest and tennis match.
20:39 November 9, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
Why dont swedes want to integrate...

What are you guys scared of???

Look just because your neibour speaks with a strange accent doesnt mean you have to stop celebrating christmas.

Back home I knew plenty of people who were arabic, asian, and european.

They enriched my life... you know I really miss that!
22:19 November 9, 2009 by Luke35711
Swedes are extremely patriotic but in a way which is not aggressive! It's more like a philosophy of life, belief that an individual only makes sense in the context of wider community. I am a foreigner, but I can understand that and I like the idea. In the past however that just meant the community of Swedes. I think the problem is that changes happened so quickly, and no-one seemed to have thought through what they will mean in practice. Which is actually somewhat un-Swedish and surprising... The lack of preparation and forethought is surprising and somewhat against the usual Swedish philosophy of life...
23:24 November 9, 2009 by Nemesis
On this I will critise Swedeen.

Sweden treats it's Sami terribly. It is the elephant in the living room, that everyone ignores.

Sami are good people. They are intelligent, They are resourceful and they are an asset to European society.

They need to be free to maintain the Sami culture. Their old European culture enriches all Europeans and gives us an echo of our pre-christian past, which needs to be ingrained in all so as to cultually explore ourselves.

Name 10 women who are CEO's in Sweden. Equality has not went were it should have.

Regarding immigrants. Do not put them in ghetto's, disperse them evenly around the country, so that they either assimilate or integrate.

Putting immigrants in ghetto's is a racists dream.

Let them integrate and assimilate if they wish. They can be a serious asset, if you let them.

Where is the statements about USA and UK agression in middle east,

Saudi Arabia in its brutality,

Chad in its genocide,

Sudan in its genocide,

USA attacking minority rights,

countries killing journalists.

The report is hypocritical.

Sweden does have problems, but nowhere near the extent of other countries. Talk about an easy target.
00:07 November 10, 2009 by KipHamilton
Swedes should accept and welcome immigrants who want to assimilate and become proud Swedish citizens. But for those who don't, those who despise Swedes and insist that their ultra-conservative religious philosophy is the only correct way,don't want to assimilate, and don't want their children becoming westernized- Swedes owe them nothing, and they should not come to Sweden in the first place.
09:53 November 10, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
The majority of swedes preach Assimilation because their undeveloped intellects cannot handle Multicultralism!

They would have you believe that eradicating your past and replacing it with thier own is the best thing for you. In their eyes you are nothing until till you do as they say.

Only moorons believes that trying to smash square pegs into round holes is the right thing to do.

Thats all I will say on Assimilation.
10:39 November 10, 2009 by Beynch
@KipHamilton: Right on!!!!! - Defeat the left in 2010.
15:34 November 10, 2009 by KipHamilton
Social hypocrisy- I am curious why you believe that Swedes owe citizens from elsewhere another life in Sweden without expecting them to become Swedish, or at least respect Swedish culture. I would bet that you do not feel the same when westerners go to third world counties to live, do not assimilate and disdain the local ways, which they have a history of doing. Seperateness, without a unifying sense of identity with others in your community/nation, inevitably leads to strife.
19:02 November 10, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
Integration is a 2 way process requiring both sides to respect each others views even when they disagree.

Forced Assimilation is no diffeernt from Subdugation, and ultimately does not work.

When I came here I was full of ideas of integrating. I wanted to do things the swedish way, and make swedish friends and contacts, but with the exception of my sambos family I have met a (at best) closed society... if not a hostile one.

Like many immigrants I came with an open mind, open arms and a smile, and was met with hostile rejection.
22:37 November 10, 2009 by Luke35711
@Social Hypocrisy

would it be very different if somebody moved at similar age into your home country? Or even if they moved from one city to another far away? People in my home country socialise almost exclusively within families or with old friends: I don't think I would like to be an immigrant to my home country, actually.

It was great to be in Dublin during the Celtic Tiger years. People there were really very open and friendly. Great pity that the Irish economy collapsed...
23:57 November 10, 2009 by KipHamilton
Social Hypocrisy -I have no disagreement with your last post. As I have already written, Swedes should welcome those who respect their culture. With mutual respect, their foods, customs etc. can only enrich Sweden. My problem is with those who don't respect the culture, are infuriated when their children adopt western ways, etc. There is too much acceptance of that sort of thing in many countries in Europe.
03:53 November 11, 2009 by Greg in Canada
@Social Hypocrisy

Nice troll dude. Now go find yourself a life.
12:42 November 11, 2009 by Status q
I hav live in sweden for 45 year and Swedish migration Bord have din aid me the Citizenship on the first Time wen i was 17 yer old i dint knowe .the is the Crime Agnes me on the Geneva Convention of Children citizens i didn't do smiting rong in my life so i am a second citizen i com to Sweden 1968

and the Swedish Migration in Norrköpin hav discriminate me long time and still

going on ......i dint knowe Wat to do i am SO tiert of IL the trilateral people

hypocritical.destines i Have Permanent resident. Way cant i hav my Citizen ship Sweden has to take responsibility and pay me the damage ...in my life.."but the government hading the problem under the carpet..
19:55 November 14, 2009 by American Avenger
Fight the Marxist Feminist take over and destruction of the Civilized World built by MEN.

Help dismantle the arrogant self righteous white feminist Marxist agenda.

Search for

"Nice Guys Women Suck"

On Google
20:45 November 14, 2009 by MikeeUSA2
The prerogative of a Man is to find for himself a mate. So much as he avoids taking another man's mate, no barrier (legal or customary) should be placed to obstruct him.

Females should be married off to men once said females are able to have children (usually at age 12, 13, or 14.)

The "penalty" for the rape of a young unmarried female should be that she is awarded to the man as a permanent wife of his (As stated in Deuteronomy 22)

Men should rape their wives at will.

Females should obey their husbands in all things, as if they were domestic servants.

If a nation seeks to opress its men by denying them these liberties, than it should be destroyed.

Death To women's Rights

Viva Men's Liberty

Liberty (for Men). Equality (amongst Men). Fraternity


20:50 November 14, 2009 by American Avenger
Swedish men need to MAN UP!

And kick these lesbians out of power structure and dismantle the "Moral Stupid Power"

Moslems are not the problem, the western banksters are the problem. And that includes their prostitutes in society that we call feminist.

It is it is incredibly stupid for men to continue to fight each other in support of a legal and economic system that supports the entitlement if filthy lesbian scum and a few wealthy men, while the majority of men pay the bill.

If you are a Swedish Guy you should make peace with Muslim men, and find ways to turn the guns on the elitist garbage in the government that is ruining your society.
14:46 November 16, 2009 by KipHamilton
Sometimes the posts here are downright bizzarre, as you can see by those above.
Today's headlines
Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Northern Swedes wake up to September snow

Summer has come to a definite end in Kiruna as residents of the northern town were greeted with a blanket of snow on Sunday morning. READ  

Elections 2014
Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart
Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. Photo: Leo Sellén/TT

Ex-Prime Minister: Sweden is falling apart

Former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson has said that the election success of the Sweden Democrats is a "slap" in the face for the Stockholm establishment. READ  

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis
Somali nationals taking part in a demonstration against deportations in Stockholm. File photo:Björn Larsson Ask/SvD/ TT

Trio prosecuted for hate attack against Somalis

Three young men in southern Sweden suspected of attacking Somali refugees with stones and screaming "sieg heil" have been indicted on charges of racial agitation. READ  

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Swedish airfares to get cheaper in 2015

Sweden is set to buck the European trend of rising air prices with fares expected to drop next year according to a new report. READ  

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune
Eric Westerberg's homemade submarine Isabelle. Photo: PS.nu

Swede's homemade submarine nets fortune

A Swedish submarine enthusiast who spent over 3,500 hours making his own vessel has sold his prized possession for 705,000 kronor ($98,500) in an online auction. READ  

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Cops reported for making 'Roma' comment

Police in northern Sweden have been reported to the Equality Ombudsman for describing a wanted suspect as having a "Roma appearance." READ  

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes
A political career for Zlatan? Some fans seem to want to see that. Photo: Peter Dejong/TT

Donald Duck and Zlatan get Swedish votes

The Bilderberg Group, the Satanic Initiative and Adolf Hitler all received votes in Sweden’s general election, according to a list released by the country’s electoral authority. READ  

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games
The Swedish team in action. Photo: TT

Stockholm fails bid to host Euro 2020 games

Sweden's capital has missed out on a chance to host any Euro 2020 games, with Copenhagen the only Scandinavian city among the thirteen winning locations. READ  

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala, is the first woman to head the Swedish church. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Vicar: God rejects fans of women priests

A Swedish priest has been fired after telling his congregation that people who support female priests would be rejected by God - despite the fact that his own church is led by a woman. READ  

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs
Margot Wallström (right) could become Stefan Löfven's new Minister of Foreign Affairs. Photo: TT

Women set to dominate top post-election jobs

Sweden could soon get a female Foreign Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt's ousted Moderate Party is preparing for its first woman leader and the grandmother of actor Hugh Grant's son is being tipped as Parliament's next Speaker. READ  

The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
What's on in Sweden
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Blog updates

20 September

How a Frog Can Save the Environment (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What we do we imagine when we think of children enjoying nature? Perhaps it’s fishing, marveling at lightning bugs on a muggy July day or blowing on the wispy petals of a dandelion to make a special wish. But perhaps most iconic of the playful innocence in childhood is hopping after and trying to catch..." READ »


19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
People-watching: September 13th
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
People-watching: September 11th
People-watching: September 13th
Five possible election outcomes
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Feminists fight for first seats
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.