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Record increase in Swedish hate crimes

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Hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden. Photo: Björn Lindgren/Bertil Ericson/Scanpix/TT
17:58 CEST+02:00
Hate crimes are on the rise in Sweden. More incidents than ever before were reported last year, according to fresh figures from a Swedish crime statistics agency.

According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), a government body which produces crime data, a total of 6,270 hate crimes were reported to Swedish police in 2014 – up by 14 percent from the previous year.

“It's the biggest increase so far, ever since we started keeping statistics on hate crimes,” Sara Westerberg, a researcher for the agency, told the TT newswire on Wednesday.

Racist or xenophobic motives are believed to be behind around seven of ten cases. Others include sexual orientation, islamophobia, anti-semitism or various other religious faiths.

All of the above categories have increased in recent years, except crimes based on sexual orientation, which have gone down by almost 20 percent over the past five years.

The sharpest rise is seen among crimes with christianophobic motives, which have tripled in the past five years. Crimes with islamophobic or anti-semitic motives have also increased rapidly.

But many incidents are never brought to a conclusion. Despite a police investigation being launched in 59 percent of the cases only five percent were ever solved.

According to the National Council on Crime Prevention this is because many of the crimes are committed by strangers in public places.

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Earlier this year, the United Nations slammed Sweden for the way it is dealing with discrimination and increasing violence against minority groups in the Nordic nation.

As part of the second UN review of human rights practices in Sweden, the Nordic nation's recent experiences linked to islamophobia, anti-semitism and prejudice against Roma migrants were highlighted. The review also noted an increase in sexual violence against women.

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