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Concluding Observations, CCPR/C/SWE/CO/6, 7 May 2009: Sweden

3. The Committee welcomes the various legislative, administrative  and  practical  measures taken to improve the promotion and protection of human rights in the State party since the examination of the fifth periodic report, in particular:

(a) The inclusion of a new provision in the Constitution in 2003 (The Instrument of Government, chap. 1, art. 2, para. 4), clarifying that public institutions shall combat discrimination of persons on grounds of gender, colour, national or ethnic origin, linguistic or religious affiliation, functional disability, sexual orientation, age or other circumstance affecting the private person;

(d) The entry into force of the new Aliens Act (2005:716) in 2006, which provides for the right to appeal to independent bodies, allows for increased use of oral hearings on appeal, and permits the granting of refugee status to women fleeing gender-based violence as well as persons fleeing from persecution on grounds of sexual orientation;

4. The Committee has noted the merger, in January 2009, of the four previously existing Ombudsmen against Discrimination into a single Equality Ombudsman with competence to receive and examine individual complaints concerning alleged cases of discrimination, including on the grounds of age and transgender identity or expression. The Committee is concerned, however, that the State party has still not established an independent national institution, with a broad competence in the area of human rights, in accordance with the Paris Principles (General Assembly resolution 48/134; art. 2 of the Covenant).

The State party should establish a national institution with a broad human rights mandate, and provide it with adequate financial and human resources, in conformity with the Paris Principles.

8. The Committee notes  the efforts made by the State party to eliminate violence against women, including through the adoption of a national action plan 2007-2010 to combat men’s violence against women, family-based violence that misuses the idea of “honour”, and violence in same-sex relationships, and amendment of the Social Services Act (2001:953) to provide support to women and children who are victims of violence. The Committee remains concerned, however, about the high prevalence of violence against women, particularly domestic violence. The Committee is also concerned that the State party has not provided consistent financial assistance to the shelters for victims of violence which are run by non- governmental organizations and that shelters are not available in all municipalities (arts. 3, 6, 7 and 26).

The State party should intensify its efforts towards the elimination of violence against women, inter alia through awareness-raising campaigns and effective implementation of the action plan 2007-2010 and the special package of measures to increase initiatives for the rehabilitation of men convicted of sexual violence and violent offences in close relationships. The State party should also ensure the availability of a fully adequate number of shelters for women and children subjected to domestic violence, including those with special needs, in particular women and children with disabilities.

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-HRC-Sweden-2009-eng