Sweden failed to take adequate action to decarbonize its economy. Civil disobedience activists were convicted of a serious crime. Inequalities in the housing market further deepened. Sámi reindeer herding lands were threatened by mining. A draft law on gender recognition fell short of human rights standards. A UN panel of experts expressed concerns over racial justice in the context of law enforcement. Two oil company representatives stood trial for alleged complicity in war crimes.
Failure to tackle climate crisis
Sweden not only failed to take adequate action to decarbonize its economy but actually went backwards on addressing the climate crisis. During the year, the government introduced tax cuts on gasoline and diesel, reduced funds for environmental protection and slashed environmental budgets and funds for climate-related international cooperation
Freedom of assembly
In October, the District Court of Solna convicted 12 climate activists, who had carried out an act of civil disobedience, of sabotage. This harsh charge raised concerns regarding the proportionality of restrictions on the right to freedom of assembly as similar earlier acts had been met with less serious charges.
In August, police detained and deported six Finnish climate activists travelling to Sweden to participate in a demonstration. One was detained for four days and banned from entering Sweden for two years. The ban was lifted on appeal.
Right to housing
In March, a government-appointed inquiry highlighted inequality in the housing market, with increasing numbers of people condemned to live in inadequate and overcrowded housing or made homeless.
Indigenous peoples’ rights
In March, a new law on the right to consultation for the Sámi Indigenous people entered into force. It did not, however, adequately incorporate the right to free, prior and informed consent before the adoption of or implementation of legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
In March, the government granted concessions to an iron ore mine in Gállok/Kallak in Norrbotten on Sámi reindeer herding land, despite massive opposition from affected Sámi villages, the Sámi parliament, the Swedish environmental agency and two UN special rapporteurs. In July, the government appointed the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention to conduct a study on hate and threats against Sámi people.
LGBTI people’s rights
In July, the government proposed reforming the law on legal gender recognition. In contrast to that presented the year before, the new draft falls short of human rights standards since it requires a medical examination and the decision of a national board and is not based on self-identification.
In November, the UN International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice in the Context of Law Enforcement expressed concerns that security challenges were addressed through a response which focused on over-policing, surveillance and arbitrary stops and searches.
Violations of international humanitarian law
In February, the trial began by the Stockholm District Court of two representatives of Lundin Energy (formerly Lundin Oil AB) for complicity in war crimes in South Sudan. However, the trial was subsequently suspended, as a defendant appealed against the application of universal jurisdiction. In November, the appeal was rejected and the trial was set to resume.