Fredrik Malmberg appointed Director of the Swedish Institute for Human Rights
Fredrik Malmberg has been appointed the new Director of the Swedish Institute for Human Rights. He has extensive experience of working with human rights both in Sweden and abroad.
Fredrik Malmberg currently serves as Director-General of the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools and prior to that spent eight years as a Children’s Ombudsman.
“The task of monitoring and contributing to the upholding of human rights in Sweden is both important and urgent. I am pleased and proud to have been entrusted with the leadership of the Institute for Human Rights and look forward to continuing to develop the new agency together with the Board and staff,” he says.
The Institute for Human Rights was established on 1st January 2022 following a parliamentary decision. It will operate in accordance with the Paris Principles, which are the international standard for national human rights institutions. The Institute will promote the safeguarding of human rights in Sweden based on the constitution and Sweden’s obligations under international law in the field of human rights. The Institute shall, from a holistic perspective, contribute to an overall picture of the human rights situation in Sweden.
The Institute also has a special role in promoting, protecting and monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Extensive experience in human rights work
Fredrik Malmberg will take up the post of Director on 20 January 2023. He will take over from Anders Kompass, who has been Acting Director since the Institute was established.
As Director-General of the National Agency for Special Needs Education, Fredrik Malmberg has been involved in issues related to the rights of people with disabilities. In his role as Children’s Ombudsman, he worked broadly to promote a wide range of rights for children and young people. He has also served on the board of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and has previously worked for Save the Children in Sweden, Africa and Asia.
“One of the most important roles of the Institute for Human Rights is to contribute knowledge and advice that will lead to the upholding of human rights in law and practice. By monitoring, investigating and reporting on developments in Sweden, we will identify and draw attention to areas where the state needs to do more to secure the human rights of individuals,” says Fredrik Malmberg.
The Paris Principles state that a human rights institution should have as broad a mandate as possible. The mandate should be clearly formulated and set out in the constitution or other legislation.
Independent by law
A national human rights institution shall also be in a strong position to carry out its mission by guaranteeing its independence, in particular from the government. In Sweden, this independence is laid down in the Act (2021:642) on the Institute for Human Rights.
The Director is appointed by the board for a term of six years. Recruitment of the permanent director started in the spring.
“The Board is very pleased to be able to appoint as Director someone with extensive experience both in human rights work and in the management and development of public activities. His experience and expertise will be a great asset to the Institute, not least in times of unrest and conflict when human rights are particularly vulnerable,” says Elisabeth Rynning, Chair of the Board.
“At the same time, we are very grateful that Anders Kompass, with his tremendous authority and credibility on human rights issues, agreed to take on the role of Acting Director during the Institute’s first year. His knowledge and dedication have contributed greatly to giving the Institute such a great foundation.”
The main focus for the Institute in 2022 has been on building a good platform for operations, and engaging in various dialogues with e.g. civil society actors. By 1 April each year, the Institute must submit a report to the Government on the development of human rights in Sweden. The report must contain an analysis and proposals for measures needed to ensure human rights.
FACTS/Institute for Human Rights
The Institute for Human Rights monitors, investigates and reports on how human rights are respected and realised in Sweden. The Institute also promotes education, research and skills development in the field of human rights.
- The Board shall consist of the Director and seven other members. The Board appoints a Chair and a Vice Chair from among its members. The other members are appointed by the Government for a period of five years. How the Board is appointed is regulated in the Act (2021:642) on the Institute for Human Rights.
- According to the Act, the Agency shall also have a Council appointed by the Board. The Council is intended to provide the Institute with knowledge and experience from civil society and other actors working with human rights. Work to establish the Council is ongoing and is expected to be completed in 2023.
- The Government and the Parliament (Riksdag) will decide on funding, but the Institute will decide on its own organisation and the focus of its work.
The Paris Principles on national human rights institutions was formulated in Paris in 1991 at an international working meeting of experts in the field in cooperation with the UN Human Rights Office. Read the Paris Principles in full on the UN website.
In August 2021, 86 of the world’s countries were deemed to have national human rights institutions that fully comply with the Paris Principles. Link to more information on the situation in different countries.