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DISCRIMINATION

Discrimination law fells only two in 20 years

Only two people have managed to bring an employer to justice for ethnic discrimination at work, despite the introduction of a Swedish law in 1994 aimed at helping those who fell victim to prejudice.

Hundreds of employers have been reported in Sweden on the grounds of workplace discrimination, yet the complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Only two employers have been convicted by the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen, AD) since the law was introduced in 1994, reports the Dagens Arbete (DA) newspaper.

Between 2006 and 2011, there were 72 cases reported from within the industrial sector alone, however none of these made it to the Labour Court. Only eight of the cases resulted in a negotiated settlement.

Some of the employees affected, meanwhile, have been left seething at the ethnic discrimination that they feel is even harder to swallow than direct racism.

“If you hear someone in a bar yelling ‘blackie’ then it’s in some way easier to take,” Arman Bolourian, who was refused a job at ABB Machine, told the paper.

He was given the boot by his employer at the very end of a four-month recruitment process, despite having the right education and experience for the job. The boss had explained that he didn’t fit in with the group.

Annika Höög, a case officer at Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO), said she regretted that the system doesn’t appear to help the people lodging complaints.

“It’s sad if it seems that you can’t win,” she told the paper.

“It’s not that we think it’s hopeless to take on ethnic discrimination cases, rather that we choose to investigate those that we think can set a precedent, or those that illustrate bigger societal problem.”

TT/The Local/og

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CRIME

Police in Sweden block Danish extremist’s new demo

Police in western Sweden have rejected an appeal by the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan against a decision to deny him permission for a Koran-burning protest in Borås.

Police in Sweden block Danish extremist's new demo

“Rasmus Paludan has a rhetoric which is intended to create disorder and chaos,” Emelie Kullmyr, the police officer in charge of protecting this year’s General Election in Western Sweden, said in a press release.

“We have seen how the public has been exposed to serious danger and police officers have been injured. The task of the police is to ensure security and we will do that, but all positive forces need to be helped to maintain peace and order.” 

In the press release, the police emphasised the importance of the public’s right to demonstrate and express their opinions freely, but said that the right to hold public demonstrations could still be curtailed in “exceptional cases”. 

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Paludan, who aimed to hold the demonstration on April 29th, can now appeal the police’s decision at the local civil court in Borås. 

He has now applied to hold on May 1st rallies in Uppsala and Stockholm for his far-right party Stram Kurs, or “Hard Line”. 

Koran-burning demonstrations held over the Easter holidays in the cities of Norrköping, Linköping, Malmö, Örebro, and in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby, led to the worst riots Sweden has seen in decades, with 100 police officers injured.

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