Report faults Sweden for discrimination

Report faults Sweden for discrimination
Swedish minorities face widespread discrimination including a lack of education in their mother tongues, Sweden's ombudsman against ethnic discrimination said on Friday.

“There are still discriminatory structures that affect minorities’ possibilities to have their rights respected,” the body, DO, said in a report.

Many Jews, Roma and Swedish-Finns, as well as Samis, an indigenous people spread across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, and Tornedalians, who are originally of Finnish descent, “lose their languages,” the report said.

Many never had a chance to learn their own language, it said, adding that some of the minority languages were threatened with extinction.

Up until the 1970s, Sweden discriminated against many of its national minorities, including forced sterilizations and the barring of some minority languages from schools and workplaces.

Since 2000, DO said it had received around 200 reports of discrimination from national minorities in Sweden, including a number of claims from Roma that they had been denied access to public places and housing.

There were also numerous complaints from Samis that their language rights were not being respected.

“The situation is very serious,” acting ombudsman Anna Theodora Gunnarsdottir told Sveriges Radio

Minorities “experience degrading comments… and it can be difficult for them to receive the education they are entitled to in their mother tongues. Compared to a Swedish child’s access to education in his or her language, it is obvious there is discrimination,” she said.

The report added: “Discriminatory structures in schools affect children’s school results and thereby have consequences for their possibilities to advance to higher education, which in turn affects their possibilities on the job market.”