Sweden adopts measures against racism, hate crimes

The Swedish Government has adopted several measures against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime.

Several of the measures are being carried out within the context of the national plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime, which the government adopted in 2016.

The plan takes an integrated approach and comprises strategies and measures to prevent and combat racism and hate crime through improved coordination and monitoring, more education and research, increased support to and deepened dialogue with civil society, strengthened preventive measures online and a more active justice system.

Below are examples of measures:

Improved coordination and follow-up

The Living History Forum is responsible for coordination and follow-up of the work on the plan against racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime and presents a comprehensive report to the government annually.

More education, knowledge and research

The government has instructed the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden to – based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – produce and compile knowledge about children’s and young people’s vulnerability to racism.

The government has instructed the county administrative boards to advance the work against racism in the labour market. In doing this work, the county administrative boards are to increase knowledge and awareness among stakeholders in the labour market about racism, with a focus on Afrophobia.

The Living History Forum carries out major education initiatives on different forms of racism throughout history and in the present day. It offers education and training for school staff and other public sector employees, with a focus on quality-assuring public sector services to the general public through work against racism.

The Living History Forum has been instructed to develop and implement skills development initiatives for public sector employees on equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The government has instructed the Living History Forum to survey people’s experience of racism in contacts with Swedish government agencies and other public sector services at national, regional and local level.

The Stockholm County Administrative Board has been tasked with increasing knowledge about how Roma children and young people are subjected to antigypsyism in the present day.

The government has provided the Sami Parliament with funding to conduct a consensus-seeking process among the Sami people ahead of the establishment of a truth commission.

The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society has been tasked with implementing measures for an open and inclusive environment in schools for young LGBTIQ people.

The Swedish Research Council has announced special funds for research on racism.

The government has allocated funds to support remembrance trips to Holocaust memorial sites in 2018–2022.

On 13–14 October 2021, Sweden will host the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism and other forms of racism.

The Forum will focus on issues concerning remembrance, Holocaust education, antisemitism in social media, and measures against antisemitism.

In connection with the Forum, the government is conducting a national initiative to increase knowledge in schools and wider society.

The initiative consists of the following four assignments:

1. The Living History Forum will implement a national initiative to enhance educational initiatives about the Holocaust, antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism, to particularly target audiences that are rarely reached by the Forum’s activities. Various parts of the school and liberal adult education systems are to be the focus of the initiatives. Civic orientation for newly arrived immigrants is also included in the assignment.

2. The National Historical Museums are to develop a Swedish-language version of the Dimensions in Testimony installation (developed by the Shoah Foundation) that allows visitors to converse with Holocaust survivors via pre-recorded answers to questions, made possible by artificial intelligence technology.

3. The University of Gothenburg (the Segerstedt Institute) is to prepare a research review and conduct a research seminar on education in the school system that can combat antisemitism and other forms of racism.

4. The Swedish Defence Research Agency is to produce a report on antisemitism in social media and other digital environments.

Strengthened preventive efforts online

The Swedish Media Council has run a campaign to combat racism on the internet – the No Hate Speech Movement – targeting children and young people.

The Swedish Defence Research Agency has been tasked with analysing violent extremist propaganda in digital environments.

More active judicial system

The Swedish Police Authority has raised its level of ambition with respect to hate crime. A national contact point for hate crime issues is now in place, as are democracy and anti-hate crime groups in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.

The government has instructed the Swedish Police Authority to continue measures against racism, hate crime and other crimes that threaten democracy.

The Swedish Police Authority has also been tasked with reporting on the results of measures taken to combat hate crime and other crimes that threaten democracy.

The Swedish Police Authority is to describe how cooperation with government agencies and organisations is conducted and how a functioning dialogue is ensured with regard to groups subjected to this type of crime.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority has taken measures to enhance the quality of its work to combat hate crime.

On the instructions of the government, the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has conducted an in-depth study of antisemitic hate crime in Sweden and is now conducting an equivalent study into Islamophobic and Afrophobic hate crime respectively.

The Swedish Center for Preventing Violent Extremism has been part of the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention since 2018.

The center’s mandate includes giving needs-based support to local actors, serving as a knowledge hub and contributing to creating greater effectiveness and coordination in preventive measures.

The government has appointed an all-party committee to consider the introduction of specific criminal liability for participation in a racist organisation and a ban on racist organisations.

Increased support to and deepened dialogue with civil society

The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society distributes annual funding in accordance with the ordinance on government grants to activities combating racism and similar forms of intolerance.

The Swedish Commission for Government Support to Faith Communities has been tasked with increasing knowledge about security for mosques and Muslim communities as well as about the vulnerability of stakeholders to Islamophobia and hate crime.

The appropriations to security-enhancing measures for civil society were increased from 2018.

Swedish Government