Sweden 2020

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SWEDEN 2020

COVID-19 deaths occurred disproportionately among older people and in immigrant communities. Despite the pandemic, authorities carried out hundreds of evictions.

Discrimination

In June, “Black Lives Matter” protests took place in several cities. The Minister for Gender Equality publicly acknowledged that people of African descent and ethnic minorities faced discrimination in accessing employment, housing, education and health care.

Right to health

At year’s end, 7,389 people aged over had 70 died from COVID-19, out of a total of 8,154 deaths. Almost 6,000 of them were care home residents or had received care at home. The Health and Social Care Inspectorate and the National Corona Commission identified failures in carrying out individual medical assessments in care homes and shortages of personal protective equipment for staff as contributing factors.

In June, public health research indicated that the number of older people in some immigrant communities dying from COVID-19 was disproportionately high. Initial studies suspected a link between higher mortality risk and the crowded living conditions experienced by some immigrant communities, combined with the exposure risk of employment in the service sector.

Right to housing and forced evictions

During 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities carried out 2,106 evictions. The police forcibly evicted EU nationals living in informal settlements in the capital Stockholm, many of whom were Roma. The authorities failed to offer alternative accommodation.

Sami Indigenous People

In January, the Supreme Court ruled that the Sami village of Girjas had the exclusive right to manage fishing and hunting licences for their traditional lands. Following the ruling, hate speech on social media against Sami people was reported.

Gender-based violence

In June, a review of Sweden’s 2018 consent-based rape legislation was published showing a significant increase in the number of prosecutions and convictions for rape since the law’s introduction.

Right to seek asylum

Authorities continued to forcibly return to Afghanistan people whose asylum applications were rejected, in risk of violating the principle of non-refoulement (forcible return of individuals to a country where they risked serious human rights violations).

Torture and other ill-treatment

In its October review, the UN Committee Against Torture repeated its long-standing criticism of Sweden for failing to define or criminalize torture in domestic law.

Corporate accountability

In June, the Swedish Prosecutor confirmed the completion of an investigation into two representatives of oil company Lundin Energy (formerly Lundin Petroleum) for alleged complicity in serious violations of international law in what is now South Sudan.