European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

Fourth report on Sweden [en] - [fr]- [swe]

Press Release – 25.09.2012

Swedish version

Council of Europe’s Anti-Racism Commission publishes new report on Sweden

Strasbourg, 25.09.2012 – The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on Sweden. ECRI’s Chair, Mr Jen÷ Kaltenbach, welcomed positive developments, but regretted that a number of problems persisted, such as continuing de facto residential segregation and the ground gained by xenophobic and islamophobic discourse and political parties over the past few years.

Policies designed to combat racism and racial discrimination have been put in place and efforts to improve the reporting and prosecution of hate crimes have been made. In 2009, new comprehensive legislation extended the protection against discrimination; the new Equality Ombudsman is responsible for supervising compliance with this legislation and promoting equal opportunities. Immigration and asylum legislation has been streamlined and a 2010 law gives newly arrived immigrants the opportunity to participate more actively in working life and the life of society.

Problems relating to land rights continue to have an adverse effect on the Sami; Roma remain marginalised and the fact that positive action is not generally accepted in Sweden with regard to discrimination based on ethnicity and religion affects the situation of vulnerable groups. Strict administrative requirements in the field of family reunification place a disproportionate burden on persons from some countries. Some non-citizens find themselves in a particularly vulnerable situation with regard to health.

In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations, among which the following three require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:

Adopt a plan of action to address de facto residential segregation;
Lift exclusions from free medical care for certain particularly vulnerable categories of persons living in Sweden without a residence permit;
Implement measures to resolve all family reunification problems arising due to difficulties in obtaining identity papers in the country of origin.

The report, including Government observations, is available [here]. It was prepared following ECRI’s contact visit to Sweden in September 2011 and takes account of developments up to March 2012.

ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination), as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.

For more information on ECRI:

Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28,