Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

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Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

The Swedish government has been criticized by a slew of organisations for omitting a series of notorious cases of discrimination and a general lack of self-criticism in its report to the UN Human Rights Council.


The criticism has come from several organizations that would like to see a more self-critical Swedish analysis. The report will form the basis for a hearing with Sweden in Geneva in January
Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) are among the organizations which have argued that the report is superficial and misleading and designed to paint Sweden in an unduly positive light.
"Sweden takes human rights issues seriously and that is precisely why it is disappointing that the government has not shown itself to be unwilling to talk about the real problems which exist," said Johanna Westeson, human rights lawyer at the CRD to the Dagens Nyheter daily.
Among the omissions in the report is the Skåne police Roma register which was ruled illegal in November 2013. A further omission is that lack of efficacy of hate crime legislation.
John Stauffer at CRD argued that the report should be regarded as a summary of initiated measures and little more.
"In many cases, this concerns inquiries which have been appointed and which have produced recommendations but then nothing happens. These include for example the situation of Afroswedes where an inquiry produced a number of recommendations but nothing happened after that," he said. 
CRD's criticism is backed up by both the Swedish UN Association and the Church of Sweden.
"The effects of decisions are often described very rarely. Sweden has often had problems realizing of decisions at the local level, for example, regarding the right to education in minority languages​​," said Kaisa Syrjänen Schaal at the Church of Sweden.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's closest aide, cabinet secretary Annika Söder, has confirmed that the organizations criticial of the government's report will be invited for talks prior to the Geneva hearing in January.
"The meeting is part of the new coalition government's commitment to policies which are based in popular sentiment. A constructive dialogue with civil society is therefore crucial for us," Söder wrote.


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