Sweden sacks ‘Super Ombudsman’

Sweden sacks 'Super Ombudsman'
The Swedish government has announced that the Equality Ombudsman (DO), Katri Linna, is to be reassigned, despite having four years remaining in her post.

“The fight against discrimination is the priority. A well-functioning Equality Ombudsman and strong legislation are therefore needed. With the appointment of a new authority head, DO and the work to combat discrimination, can be given a new start,” said Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag in a comment on the decision.

Linna has been replaced, pending a new permanent appointment, by Håkan Sandesjö, previously director-general of the Aliens Appeals Board (Ulänningsnämnden – UN), which was replaced by the Migration Courts in 2006.

Katri Linna was appointed in July 2008 to head the newly created authority which united the offices of the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (DO), the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (Jämo), the Disability Ombudsman (HO) and the Ombudsman against Sexual Discrimination (HomO).

The creation of a super authority has drawn criticism from some quarters for being unmanageable, and a staff survey in the autumn showed that moral was low, with more than a third claiming that they received no support or help from their immediate supervisor.

Furthermore nine of the authority’s 85 staff responded that they had been subjected to harassment on the basis of gender or other grounds for discrimination, at work.

Katri Linna will now be reassigned to work with mapping the abuses which Swedish Roma have been subjected to during the 1900s.

“Katri Linna, has an extensive and well-deserved trust among the Roma in Sweden, has extensive knowledge of the issues and is therefore well suited for the position,” Erik Ullenhag said.

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