Human Rights in Sweden
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
These are the opening words of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Sweden, human rights are protected under the Instrument of Government which is one of the country's four fundamental laws.
Public institutions, that is to say, the government, municipalities and county councils shall:
- Secure the right to health, work, housing and education,
- Promote a sustainable development that leads to a good environment for present and future generations, and
- Combat the discrimination of people on grounds of sex, colour, national or ethnic origin, language or religion, disability, sexual orientation, age or other circumstance applicable to the individual as a person.
An important function in order to guarantee openness in the public sector is the system of ombudsmen which has been imitated in several other countries. On 1 January 2009, the Discrimination Act (2008:567) entered into force. The purpose of the Act is to combat discrimination and in other ways promote equal rights and opportunities regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age. At the same time as the new Act entered into force a new authority was established, the Office of the Equality Ombudsman, which is to exercise supervision of compliance with the Act. The previous four ombudsmen against discrimination - the Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination, the Disability Ombudsman and the Ombudsman against Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation - have been phased out.