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RACISM

Pharmacy to launch plasters for darker skin

Swedish pharmacy chain Apoteket has told The Local it is hoping to offer a range of bandaids suitable for customers with darker skin tones by the end of the year as part of efforts to cut discrimination.

Pharmacy to launch plasters for darker skin
An Apoteket store in Stockholm. Photo: Roger Vikström/TT
The company, which has 370 stores across Sweden said it had come up with the idea after talking to a number of Swedish anti-racism charities.
 
“We're looking at whether it's possible to have different coloured plasters but we haven't made a final decision on it yet,” Communications Director Eva Fernvall told The Local on Wednesday.
 
“It won't happen by next week but we hope to have something in place by the end of the year,” she added.
 
Apoteket faced criticism earlier this week by a Swedish blogger who runs the website Vardagsrasismen.nu (which translates as 'Everyday Racism').
 
Paula Dahlberg told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio on Monday that the pharmacy giant was contributing to racism by only offering shades of beige plasters (also called bandaids in some countries) on its shelves.
 
But Fernvall insisted that the company's decision to trial darker products was made long before the writer made the comments.
 
“The fact she said that demonstrates that there are heated discussions about immigrants and refugees right now,” she said, adding that the national chemist chain was committed to reducing discrimination.
 
She admitted that the plaster plan was “unusual” and noted that she had “never heard of anything like this in any other countries”.
 
Debates around immigration have intensified over the last 12 months in Sweden, which currently takes in more asylum seekers per capita than any other EU nation.
 
The nationalist Sweden Democrat party is the third largest in parliament after winning 12.9 percent of the vote in elections in September 2014 and is continuing to gain public support.
 
Sweden's government has said it is committed to maintaining the nation's reputation for tolerance and offering help to refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and Africa. But it has welcomed efforts by the European Commission to encourage other European Union member states to take in a greater share of asylum seekers.

RACISM

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize

The international civil rights movement Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation on Friday won Sweden's Olof Palme human rights prize for 2020.

Black Lives Matter wins Swedish rights prize
A Black Lives Matter protest in Malmö, June 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The foundation was honoured for its work promoting “peaceful civil disobedience against police brutality and racial violence all over the world,” prize organisers said in a statement.

The Black Lives Matter movement, founded in 2013 in the United States, has “in a unique way exposed the hardship, pain, and wrath of the African-American minority at not being valued equal to people of a different colour,” the statement said.

The movement had its major international breakthrough in the summer of 2020 following several cases of extreme brutality in the US, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

READ MORE: INTERVIEW: Sweden's anti-racism protests aren't just about what's happening in other countries

Prize organisers noted that an estimated 20 million people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in the US alone, and millions more around the world.

“This illustrates that racism and racist violence is not just a problem in American society, but a global problem.”

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $100,000 awarded by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund.

It commemorates the memory of Sweden's Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

Since 1987 the award has honoured human rights defenders around the world including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

An online prize ceremony will take place in Stockholm on Saturday.

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