Warning: Attempt to read property "term_id" on bool in /home/mrinstit/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pressreleases-from-viaTT/pressreleases-from-viaTT.php on line 236
Sweden Must Do More to Meet Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Commitments – Institutet för mänskliga rättigheter

Sweden Must Do More to Meet Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Commitments

Dad cuddels with baby, sitting on a sofa in a empty room.

Sweden must increase its efforts to meet its commitments under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). This is the conclusion of the Swedish Institute for Human Rights in its alternative report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ahead of the Committee’s review of Sweden in February 2024.

The Committee continuously reviews how countries that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) adhere to its provisions. The convention includes several rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948, including the right to work, education, and an adequate standard of living, as well as the right to health and housing. In February 2024, the Committee will review Sweden’s fulfillment of the treaty for the first time since 2016.

Signs of Regression

The Institute’s report focuses on overarching issues, including the need for a review of the status of economic, social and cultural rights in Swedish law, conditions for effectively claiming one’s rights, shortcomings in the use of equality data, and issues about how the state uses resources to fulfill rights without discrimination. The report also highlights cross-cutting issues that affect several of the rights in the convention, including climate change and discrimination.

The Institute’s report shows that economic vulnerability in Sweden has increased, while several benefits included in the social safety net have decreased in value. Moreover, the total expenditures for social protection have decreased over time in proportion to the country’s GDP. The report notes that this may indicate a regression in maintaining ICESCR rights in Sweden.

Low Awareness of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Sweden

In a survey conducted by the institute in 2022, 60 percent responded that they have very limited knowledge of the rights covered by the ICESCR. Therefore, the Institute considers that the state should strengthen efforts to raise awareness of economic, social, and cultural rights, and how these can be and how to effectively claim them.

The Swedish Institute for Human Rights was established in 2022 as Sweden’s national human rights institution (NHRI). The Institute has applied for accreditation to participate in the dialogue between the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Swedish government, on 21-22 February in Geneva. During the dialogue, there is also an opportunity for civil society organizations to participate. After the dialogue, the Committee will present its recommendations to Sweden. It then becomes an important task for the institute, in cooperation with civil society, to support the government in following up on the recommendations.