National Human Rights Commission misses the target

Press release 2011-03-24

Civil Rights Defenders is positive toward the idea of establishing a National Human Rights Commission. But the way the Commission is modelled, in the current proposal, it will not contribute to a more effective protection of human rights.

– The delegation identifies existing problems but settles with proposing changes that are only cosmetic. In that sense, the delegation misses its main objective– to strengthen the protection of human rights in Sweden, says Robert Hårdh, executive director of Civil Rights Defenders.

In the presented proposal, the possibilities for the Commission to carry out investigations are limited, and the Commission is not supposed to receive individual complaints. Comparing with similar institutions abroad, 90 per cent of them have investigation rights and, when needed, they can speak on behalf of people whose rights have been violated.

– That is how these institutions make a real difference for exposed people and we have difficulties seeing why a Swedish Commission should not have a similar mandate, says Robert Hårdh.

Another suggestion made by the delegation is to appoint a commission of inquiry that will examine the possibility of incorporating the international conventions on human rights that Sweden has ratified into Swedish legislation.

– When Sweden ratifies a convention it means that our government has engaged to respect basic human rights. It is intolerable that the authorities and the courts are not immediately bound by it, says Robert Hårdh.

Civil Rights Defenders had hoped that the delegation would suggest to immediately incorporate the most fundamental human rights conventions, for instance the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture, into Swedish law, as was the case with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read all of Civil Rights Defenders comments on the proposal (in Swedish):
Remissvar SOU 2010-70

Categories: News.
Tags: National Human Rights Commission, Remissvar, and SOU.
Regions: Sweden.