1. The Committee
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the fourth periodic report
of Sweden on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/4/Add.4) at its 61st and 62nd meetings,
held on 13 November 2001 (E/C.12/2001/SR.61 and 62) and adopted, at its
75th meeting, held on 22 December 2001, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the fourth periodic report of the State party, which follows the
3. The Committee
notes with appreciation the extensive written replies by the State party
to its list of issues. The Committee also expresses its satisfaction with
the constructive and frank dialogue with the State party's delegation, which
consisted of members with expertise in all the fields relevant in the context
of the Covenant. The Committee welcomes the State party's intention to disseminate
the contents of these concluding observations among all levels of society
by, inter alia, holding a press conference.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee
warmly welcomes the creation of an interdepartmental working group to elaborate
a national plan of action for human rights, as foreseen in Part II, paragraph
71, of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The Committee also
takes note that the national plan of action is being drawn up with the broad
participation of civil society and that economic, social and cultural rights
are being addressed.
5. The Committee
notes with appreciation the sustained efforts of the State party to combat
racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance in the
country through a variety of measures. The Committee, in the light of the
2001 Durban World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia
and Related Intolerance, warmly welcomes the adoption of the National Action
Plan to Combat Racism, Xenophobia, Homophobia and Discrimination, early
6. The Committee
warmly welcomes the efforts of the State party with respect to the mainstreaming
of human rights in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation programmes,
in accordance with article 2.1 of the Covenant.
7. The Committee
acknowledges that the State party for many years has allocated 0.7 per cent
or more of its gross domestic product to development assistance, thereby
meeting and sometimes surpassing the United Nations goal and contributing
to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in other countries.
8. The Committee
recognizes that a number of Ombudspersons exist in the country, dealing
with different aspects of human rights with a focus on discrimination issues.
The Committee welcomes the creation of the office of an Ombudsperson against
Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation.
9. The Committee
notes with satisfaction the State party's policies and measures aimed at
reducing unemployment and at improving the situation in the labour market.
10. The Committee
notes with satisfaction the State party's efforts to combat domestic violence.
The Committee particularly welcomes the introduction of the offence of "gross
violation of the woman's integrity" in chapter 4, section 4 (a) of the State
party's Penal Code, as well its support of men's organizations dedicated
to combating violence against women.
11. The Committee
appreciates that the State party is committed to combating prostitution
by strengthening its efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and by making
the buying or even soliciting of sexual services a criminal offence.
12. The Committee
welcomes the new legislation criminalizing in particular complicity in child
pornography and the efforts undertaken by the State party to facilitate
the prosecution of perpetrators.
13. The Committee
notes with appreciation that the State party has allocated increased resources
to social programmes, starting in the mid-1990s, with a view to restoring
the social security system.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant
14. The Committee
notes that there are no factors and difficulties which prevent the effective
implementation of the Covenant in the territory of the State party.
D. Principal subjects of concern
15. The Committee
regrets that the Covenant is not given full effect in the State party's
legal order and therefore cannot be directly invoked before the courts.
16. The Committee
expresses its concern about the persisting unclear situation with regard
to the Sami land rights.
17. The Committee
regrets that the State party has not yet ratified International Labour Organization
(ILO) Convention No. 169 (Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989)
in spite of an apparently favourable attitude towards it.
18. The Committee
expresses its concern about the increasing number of complaints concerning
discrimination on ethnic grounds in the workplace.
19. The Committee,
while commending the State party's efforts with regard to gender equality,
notes with concern that there continues to be inequality in wages and that
women earn only 83 per cent of men's salaries.
20. The Committee
is concerned that domestic work is not adequately regulated in national
21. The Committee
takes note that the State party has maintained its reservation with regard
to article 7 (d) of the Covenant concerning the right to remuneration for
22. The Committee
notes that the State party has not ratified ILO Convention No. 131 (Minimum
Wage-Fixing Convention, 1970) and that it has no intention to do so, on
the ground that the minimum wage is settled by means of collective agreements
or individual contracts.
23. The Committee
regrets that sexual exploitation of minors and women committed by Swedish
citizens abroad is only punishable if the requirement of "dual criminality"
E. Suggestions and recommendations
24. The Committee
encourages the State party, as a member of international financial institutions,
in particular the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to do
all it can to ensure that the policies and decisions of those organizations
are in conformity with the obligations of States parties to the Covenant,
in particular the obligations contained in Articles 2.1, 22 and 23 concerning
international assistance and cooperation.
25. The Committee
urges the State party to ensure that the promotion of economic, social and
cultural rights is made a major component in the pending National Plan of
Action for Human Rights.
26. While recognizing
that a number of Ombudspersons exist in the State party, the Committee recommends
that the State party consider, in the framework of the National Plan of
Action for Human Rights, the creation of a national human rights institution
to deal with the protection and promotion of all human rights, including
economic, social and cultural rights.
27. The Committee
urges the State party to take appropriate steps to give full effect to the
Covenant in its legal system, so that the rights covered by it may be directly
invoked before the courts.
28. The Committee
recommends the State party to implement the proposal made in the additional
information provided after the dialogue had taken place of setting up a
committee to review, identify and clarify the issues concerning the land
rights of the Sami, so that ILO Convention No. 169 can soon be ratified.
29. The Committee
encourages the State party to take additional measures to prevent discrimination
against immigrants and refugees, especially in the workplace.
30. The Committee
urges the State party to intensify its efforts with respect to gender equality
and to take the necessary measures, including legislative and administrative
ones, to ensure that women enjoy full and equal participation in the labour
market, particularly in terms of equal pay for work of equal value.
31. The Committee
recommends that the State party ensure that domestic work is adequately
regulated, so that domestic workers enjoy the same legal protection as other
32. The Committee
recommends that the State party withdraw its reservation to article 7 (d)
of the Covenant.
33. The Committee
invites the State party to reconsider its position towards the ratification
of ILO Convention No. 131 on Minimum Wage-Fixing.
34. The Committee
encourages the State party to adopt a comprehensive national health strategy
and a plan of action in which it sets benchmarks for its health care strategies.
35. The Committee
encourages the State party to provide human rights education in schools
at all levels and to raise awareness about human rights, in particular economic,
social and cultural rights, among State officials and the judiciary.
36. The Committee
urges the State party to adopt special measures criminalizing the trafficking
of human beings.
37. The Committee
urges the State party to ensure that education in independent schools, including
those that have been established in the form of private companies with shareholders,
is in full conformity with article 13, in particular article 13.1 on educational
aims and objectives, of the Covenant and with the Committee's General Comment
38. The Committee
urges the State party to take additional and effective measures that promote
instruction in the mother tongue of minorities and immigrants.
39. The Committee
urges the State party to repeal the requirement of "dual criminality" in
relation to the offence of sexual exploitation of minors and women committed
by Swedish citizens abroad.
40. The Committee
encourages the State party to provide more specific, disaggregated and comparative
data in its fifth periodic report, in particular with respect to the privatization
of health care in the country.
41. The Committee
requests the State party to inform the Committee in its next periodic report
of steps taken to implement the present concluding observations. The Committee
also encourages the State party to continue involving non-governmental organizations
and other members of civil society in the preparation of its fifth periodic
42. Finally, the
Committee requests the State party to submit its fifth periodic report by
30 June 2006.