Communication No. 21/2001
Submitted by: D. S.
Alleged victim: The petitioner
State party concerned: Sweden
Date of communication: 9 July 2001
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, established
under article 8 of the International Convention on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
Meeting on 10 August 2001,
Adopts the following:
Decision on Admissibility
1. The petitioner (initial submission dated 9 July 2001) is D. S., a Swedish
citizen of Czechoslovak origin, born in 1947, currently residing in Solna,
Sweden. She claims to be a victim of violations by Sweden of articles
2, paragraph 2, 5 (e) (i) and 6 of the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The petitioner is not
represented by counsel.
The facts as submitted by the petitioner:
2.1 On 30 November 1999, the petitioner applied for a position
as 'an investigator' at Ungdomstyrelsen in Stockholm. This organisation
carries out, among other things, investigative studies at the request
of the Government or on its own initiative, on the conditions of life
of young people. The vacancy announcement said that it was looking for
two new staff members and that the requirements were a university degree
in social science, experience of public investigative work, knowledge
of the methodology of investigation, English, and experience using statistical
material. Experience in research work and in development, follow-up and
evaluation were also required. Good knowledge of oral and written Swedish
and ability to co-operate and work independently were also prerequisites
for the posts.
2.2 Ungdomstyrelsen decided to appoint A.K, I.A, and S.Z
to the posts. It appears that a third post was also made available after
the announcement. On 6 March 2000, the petitioner appealed the decision
to the Government claiming that she had been discriminated against.
2.3 On 6 July 2000, the Government rejected the petitioner's appeal. The
Government did not give reasons for the decision. The petitioner appealed
against this decision as well and this appeal was similarly dismissed,
on the ground that the Government's decision, of 6 July 2000, could not
be appealed and that there was no other reason to re-examine the petitioner's
2.4 The petitioner also filed a complaint with the Ombudsman
against Ethnic Discrimination who refused to take any action in her case,
as he claimed that it had no merits. The Ombudsman stated that Ungdomstyrelsen
chose individuals for the post on the basis of their education, and professional
experience and saw no reason to question the employer's judgement. The
petitioner states that she has not brought the case to the District Court
as she claims that the new law against ethnic discrimination does not
apply to individuals who allege discrimination at the recruitment stage,
and even if it were applicable she could not afford to do so.
3. The petitioner claims that she has been discriminated
against by Sweden on the basis of her national origin and her status as
an immigrant, in the refusal by Ungdomstyrelsen to offer her a job. In
this context, she objects to the Ungdomstyrelsen's decision to offer the
jobs in question to A.K, I.A, and S.Z, all of Swedish origin, who she
claims are less qualified than she for the post.
Issues and proceedings before the Committee:
4.1 Before considering any claim contained in a communication,
the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
must decide, pursuant to article 14, paragraph 7(a), of the Convention,
whether or not the current communication is admissible.
4.2 The Committee notes that, although the petitioner was
aware that she could have challenged the decision in the District Court
not to appoint her to the vacant post, she did not do so, as she believes
that the legislation is deficient and claims that she could not afford
to take such an action.
4.3 The Committee concludes that, notwithstanding the reservations that
the petitioner might have regarding the effectiveness of the current legislation
to prevent racial discrimination in the labour market, it was incumbent
upon her to pursue the remedies available, including a complaint before
the District Court. The Committee recalls that doubts about the effectiveness
of such remedies, does not absolve an petitioner from pursuing them. With
respect to the petitioner's claim that she could not issue proceedings
in the District Court due to lack of funds, the Committee notes that the
petitioner has provided no further information in this regard and therefore
cannot conclude that the expenses involved would have been a grave impediment
excusing her from the obligation to exhaust domestic remedies.
4.4 In light of the above, the Committee considers that the petitioner
has failed to meet the requirements of article 14, paragraph 7 (a), of
5. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination therefore
(a) That the communication is inadmissible;
(b) That this decision shall be communicated to the petitioner
and, for information, to the State party.