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UN bashes Swedish children's rights

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11:11 CEST+02:00
For the fifth time, Sweden has been criticised by the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child for not having introduced their children's rights convention as Swedish law.

Sweden signed the convention in 1990, and an added protocol on child trafficking in 2006.

For the first time, the UN committee in Geneva has now investigated how well the Swedish government has followed the protocol on protecting children against trafficking, prostitution and child pornography.

The government was criticised on more points than Christina Heilborn, children's rights lawyer at Unicef's Swedish division, was expecting, including criticism on how refugee and asylum-seeking children are treated in Sweden.

"The committee feel these groups aren't protected sufficiently here," said Heilborn to news agency TT.

The committee has investigated Sweden and the children's rights convention on four previous occasions.

"A general criticism, which has been voiced several times before, is about making the convention Swedish law. This is a recurring criticism against Sweden, and the government has chosen to completely ignore it."

A country such as Sweden is expected to take a convention about children's human rights very seriously, stated the committee earlier this week.

The government, represented in Geneva by department officials, stated that Swedish laws generally provide children with better protection than the convention does.

When asked by TT how the convention would improve upon Swedish law, Christina Heilborn responded:

"One major difference would be a clear protection against discrimination, that all children in Sweden would have the same rights by law, whether they lack documents, are in hiding, asylum-seekers or Swedish citizens. Today children are divided into groups which have different rights. This is something which is not allowed according to the children's rights convention."

The UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child also wants Sweden to introduce a harsher definition of what constitutes child pornography.

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