COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
31 July - 25 August 2000
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9
OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
1. The Committee
considered the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Sweden,
submitted as one document (CERD/C/362/Add.5), at its 1417th and 1418th
meetings (CERD/C/SR.1417 and 1418), held on 10 and 11 August 2000. At
its 1431st meeting (CERD/C/SR.1431), held on 22 August 2000, it adopted
the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the submission of the report of Sweden which followed the general
guidelines for the presentation of State party reports and provided
relevant and updated information about the measures taken to implement
the Convention since the consideration of the twelfth periodic report.
The Committee expresses its appreciation for the constructive and frank
dialogue it had with the State party.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee
welcomes the recent legislative initiatives undertaken by the State
party including the Act on National Minorities in Sweden, the Act on
Immigrant Integration Policy, the Act on Countering Ethnic Discrimination
in Working Life, the Ethnic Discrimination Ombudsman Act, the amendment
to the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression and to the Criminal
Code concerning incitement to racial discrimination, and the Act on
Responsibility for Electronic Bulletin Boards.
4. The Committee
notes with satisfaction that the State party has set up a National Integration
Office to promote and facilitate the implementation of its new integration
policy and to monitor and evaluate developments as they relate to the
ethnic and cultural diversity of the society as a whole.
5. The Committee
welcomes the appointment of the General Commission on Swedish Local
Democracy to encourage broader participation in local government of
people with immigrant backgrounds.
6. The Committee
welcomes the additional initiatives to combat racial discrimination
and xenophobia, including, the establishment of the Commission for the
Study of Racist Crimes; the development of a plan of action by the Prosecutor
General to reinforce the measures against crimes with racist or xenophobic
motives; the implementation of programmes such as "EXIT" to counteract
the activities of racist organizations; the reinforcement of training
for prison and probation officials in countering prejudice, racism and
xenophobia among staff; the publication and dissemination by the Ethnic
Discrimination Ombudsman of resource materials on, inter alia,
non-discrimination in recruitment; the introduction of measures to enhance
employment opportunities, including within the public sector, for immigrants
through, inter alia, language training; the implementation of
additional measures to ensure that children of asylum-seekers are afforded
equal access to education and health care; and the expansion of awareness-raising
initiatives through, inter alia, books on the Holocaust.
7. The State
party's effort to include NGOs in the preparation of its thirteenth
and fourteenth periodic reports and generally in the reporting process
is welcomed by some members of the Committee
8. The Committee
encourages the intention to set up a National Action Plan against Racism,
Xenophobia and Ethnic Discrimination and encourages the State party
to continue its efforts in this regard.
9. The State
party's efforts to disseminate the Convention, as well as the concluding
observations and the summary records of its previous meetings with the
Committee, among Sami and other minority groups, NGOs, trade unions
and the wider public are welcomed.
C. Concerns and recommendations
10. The Committee
is concerned that a recent upsurge in racism and xenophobia has been
seen which has given rise to increased neo-Nazi violence, especially
among youth. In this context, the Committee notes with concern, the
increasing popularity of "white power" music which promotes hatred against
ethnic minorities. The Committee encourages the State party to continue
its efforts to arrest the upsurge in racism and xenophobia, prevent
and punish racist neo-Nazi violence and prosecute any persons whose
actions incite to racial hatred.
11. While the
Committee notes that the State party has adopted some measures to promote
greater awareness about the Roma minority and to encourage greater participation
of Roma in the society, it is concerned about the difficulties which
Roma continue to experience in exercising their rights. The Committee
recommends that the State party submit in its next periodic report additional
information on the situation of the Roma minority, particularly as regards
education, employment and housing. The State party is requested to pay
particular attention to the situation of Roma women and children.
12. While the
Committee notes the new legislation which gives individuals the right
to use the Sami language in legal and administrative proceedings, it
stresses that this right is recognized only in respect of some geographic
regions. It is recommended that the State party consider the extension
of these rights to all Sami territory.
is expressed over the issue of land rights of the Sami people, in particular
hunting and fishing rights which are threatened by, inter alia,
the privatization of traditional Sami lands. The Committee recommends
that the Government introduce legislation recognizing traditional Sami
land rights and reflecting the centrality of reindeer husbandry to the
way of life of Sweden's indigenous people. The Committee further recommends
that the State party ratify ILO Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous
and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries.
14. The Committee
expresses concern about increasing de facto residential segregation.
The Committee recommends that the State party ensure compliance with
the law against discrimination in the allocation of housing and in its
next periodic report supply information on the measures taken to address
15. In light
of article 4 of the Convention, the Committee is concerned that existing
legislation does not prohibit and penalize all organizations and propaganda
activities that promote or incite racial hatred and discrimination.
The Committee recommends that the State party declare illegal and prohibit
any organization which promotes or incites racial discrimination. The
Committee calls attention to its general recommendation XV in this regard.
16. While the
Committee notes the enactment of the Countering Ethnic Discrimination
in Working Life Act, as well as the recent decline in unemployment in
the State party, it remains concerned about the difficult access to
employment of members of ethnic minorities. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all necessary measures to increase its efforts
to facilitate the occupational integration of all persons belonging
to ethnic minorities into the public administration.
is expressed at the increasing incidence of racial discrimination in
restaurants, other public places, and with regard to access to services.
The Committee recommends that effective action be taken, utilizing administrative
measures as well as criminal prosecutions to ensure that access to places
or services intended for use by the general public is not denied on
grounds of national or ethnic origin, contrary to article 5 (f) of the
18. While the
Committee notes that the official statistics of the State party do not
contain data which distinguishes people based on their ethnic origin,
it recommends that the State party provide in its next periodic report
more comprehensive and updated statistical information along the lines
of paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Committee's guidelines regarding the form
and content of reports to be submitted by States parties.
19. The Committee
recommends that the State party undertake all appropriate measures to
ensure that the report and these concluding observations are widely
distributed to the public. It also recommends that the State party continue
and develop its dialogue with civil society, in particular with the
20. The Committee
further recommends that the State party's fifteenth periodic report
be an updated report and that it address the points raised during the
consideration of the report.