The Government and national and local government administrations are responsible for ensuring that human rights are not violated. Many other actors – public and private, international and Swedish – are however also involved in promoting and protecting human rights in Sweden through their work and their deeds.
How the Government works on human rights in Sweden
The Government’s long-term objective is to ensure full respect for human rights in Sweden. This means that human rights, as expressed through Sweden’s international commitments, must not be violated. The Swedish legal system must accord with the international human rights conventions that Sweden has acceded to and these conventions must be followed at both central and local government levels.
Human rights efforts are in progress in various forms in every one of the Government Offices ministries and are an important aspect of everything, from legislative processes to international collaboration. To take a coherent approach to human rights issues at a national level and work systematically towards its long-term objective, the Government has decided on two national action plans for human rights (skr. 2001/02:83 and skr. 2005/06:95). The action plans referred to the periods 2002–2004 and 2006–2009 respectively.
Both the first and the second action plan for human rights have been evaluated. The 2006-2009 action plan was evaluated by Director-General Hans Ytterberg, former Ombudsman against Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation (HomO). Both evaluating the implementation and results of the action plan, and making recommendations for continued systematic work on human rights at a national level were aspects of the evaluation remit. The report ‘Coherent, thought-through and sustainable’ (SOU 2011:29) was presented to the Government in April 2011.
A delegation for human rights in Sweden
The Delegation for Human Rights in Sweden was founded through the second national action plan for human rights. Active between 2006 and 2010, the Delegation was tasked with supporting government agencies, municipalities and county councils in their efforts to ensure full respect for human rights in their activities. Its assignment also included presenting proposals on how to provide ongoing support to the public sector on these issues after the Delegation finished its assignment.
The Delegation presented its final report,'New structure for the protection of human rights' (SOU 2010:70) in October 2010. In the report it makes a number of proposals, including legal protection for human rights, a national institution for human rights as well as training and skills development. These proposals are intended to together form a coherent structure to protect human rights. The report has been circulated for comment and the proposals are being processed by the Government Offices.
In the spring of 2011, the task of drafting the Government’s third action plan, or strategy, for human rights in Sweden began. The objective is to be able to take a decision on such a strategy in 2012. As part of the work on the strategy, the Ministry of Employment has conducted a consultation process with a wide circle of actors concerned by the issues. Several meetings regarding issues deemed urgent for discussion given the proposals presented by the two aforementioned reports have been held during the autumn of 2011 and the spring. The opinions and recommendations that international monitoring bodies have submitted on the situation for human rights in Sweden provide other important input in work on the Government’s strategy. These views have been compiled and published on sweden.gov.