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About the The Swedish Institute for Human Rights

The purpose of the Swedish Institute for Human Rights is to promote and protect human rights in Sweden. Included in this task is also the promotion, protection, and monitoring of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

Our tasks and responsibilities

The Swedish Institute for Human Rights is a Swedish national agency which was formally established in January 2022 in accordance with the Swedish Act on the Institute for Human Rights (2021:642). The purpose of the Institute is, according to the legislative act, to promote the safeguarding of human rights in Sweden, based on 

  1. the Swedish Instrument of Government, the Freedom of the Press Act, and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, 
  1.  the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),  
  1. the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and 
  1. other obligations in the field of human rights binding on Sweden under public international law. 

The Institute’s tasks and responsibilities are to:  

  1. monitor, investigate, and report on how human rights are respected and implemented in Sweden, 
  1. present proposals to the Government on the measures needed to ensure human rights; 
  1. liaise with international organisations and otherwise engage in international cooperation; and 
  1. promote education, research, development of expertise, dissemination of information and consciousness raising in the field of human rights. 

One of the responsibilities of the Institute is, as required of the States acceding to the Convention, to fulfil the role of an independent national mechanism as set out in Article 33 (2) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention. 

The Institute may propose to the Government of Sweden that Sweden’s obligations under international law within the field of human rights be expanded.  

The Institute will not review complaints from individuals concerning violations of human rights. 

Within the limits of its mandate and responsibilities, the Institute will decide on its organisation and on the details and focus of i

Annual report

Pursuant to the legislation establishing the Institute, one of the tasks of the Institute for Human Rights is to submit a report to the Government of Sweden by 1 April each year on its activities and observations relating to developments in the field of human rights during the immediately preceding calendar year. The Institute for Human Rights’ first report under this provision is to be submitted by 1 April 2022. Considering that the legislation specifies that the report is to refer to the previous calendar year, i.e. 2021, when the Institute had not yet been established, the first report will be somewhat brief. 

The Paris Principles 

One primary purpose of the formation of the Swedish Institute for Human Rights is to establish an entity in Sweden that fulfils the internationally recognised requirements of the Paris Principles relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). The principles were formulated in 1991 in Paris at an international working meeting of experts in the field, in cooperation with the UN. The Paris Principles state that a national human rights institution is to have as broad a mandate as possible. The mandate and responsibilities must be clearly formulated and established in a constitutional or legislative text that also specifies the composition and powers of the institution. The Paris Principles also set out the role of the institution, the importance of a broad representation from civil society organisations and the methods of operation of the institution. A national human rights institution must have a strong position in the implementation of its mandate and an independent role, in particular from the government. 

You can read the Paris Principles in their entirety here: OHCHR | Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions 

Further information about national human rights institutions in different countries can be found here: https://ganhri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/StatusAccreditationChartNHRIs.pdf 

Human rights in Sweden 

The Rights 

The State’s obligations regarding human rights constitute a limitation of the State’s power over the individual and at the same time lay down certain obligations for the State. In its broadest sense, the State, meaning the public sector, must ensure that every human being is able to enjoy and demand protection for the exercise their human rights. The State also has the legal obligation to protect and promote the rights of the individual from being violated by other individuals. The rights are not only enshrined in various types of international agreements, but are also expressed in Swedish law, including in the constitutional statutes. 

Each and every country has a responsibility to ensure that human rights commitments are transposed into national law. Some rights may be restricted by law in certain circumstances, while others are absolute and will always be applicable. Ultimately it is the Government and Parliament that are responsible for ensuring that human rights are protected in reality, via legislation and other measures. In practice, the realisation of the exercise of fundamental rights takes place at national, regional and municipal levels throughout Sweden in interaction with the various levels of government. 

Human rights are indivisible and interdependent. This means that  one set of rights cannot be enjoyed fully without the other. Human rights are also universal, inherent to every individual without discrimination. This means that all people are equally entitled to our human rights.  

Sweden has acceded to a number of conventions on human rights, both global and regional, and is thus bound by their provisions. Among the UN Conventions to which Sweden is bound to observe are: 

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) 
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) 
  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OHCHR) 
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 
  • Convention on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) 

Regional conventions include, for example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR). Further examples include the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. 

History of the Institute

On 5 March 2018, a special investigator was given the mandate by the Government Offices to investigate and study how a national institution for human rights might be established in Sweden. The issue of establishing such an institution in accordance with the internationally adopted Paris Principles had already been discussed for many years against the background of previous proposals from governmental commissions, calls from civil society organisations and recommendations from international bodies. In October 2018, the special investigator’s proposal was presented in the memorandum Proposal for a National Institute for Human Rights in Sweden (Ds 2019:4). On 28 January 2021, the Government of Sweden decided to obtain the opinion of the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet) on a draft law being prepared to establish the Swedish Institute for Human Rights against the background proposal of the investigatory commission. 

In March 2021, the Government of Sweden decided to present a Government Bill for the establishment of a Swedish institute for human rights (Government Bill 2020/21:143). The Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) adopted the proposal in June 2021. 

Between the months of April and December 2021, a special investigator was commissioned to make preparations for the establishment of the new governmental agency. 

On 28 October 2021, the Government of Sweden appointed members to the Institute’s Governing Board. 

Leadership and management of the Swedish Institute

The Institute will be managed by a Governing Board. The Governing Board includes the following persons: 

  • Elisabeth Rynning (Chairperson of the Board) 
  • Negin Tagavi, Deputy Executive Director (Vice Chairperson of the Board)                          
  • Annika Jyrwall Åkerberg, Senior Legal Adviser        
  • Leif Ljungholm, lawyer, Member of the Swedish Bar Association                         
  • Niklas Martti, International Project Manager 
  • Pål Wrange, Professor of Public International Law, Stockholm 
  • Titti Mattsson, Professor of Public Law, Lund    
  • Acting director Fredrik Malmberg

The Governing Board is to be composed of the Executive Director plus seven other members, the other members being appointed by the Government of Sweden for a term of five years. The Governing Board will elect its Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson from among its members.  

Among the members of the Governing Board there should be expertise in the field of human rights and experience with professional expert work in civil society organisations, the judiciary and the legal profession, as well as research, higher education and scholarly writing. For each of the Institute’s areas of activity, there are to be two members with experience within the field. 

Advisory Board

There will also be an Advisory Board which will have the function of providing advice and support by providing the Institute with their experience and knowledge in the field of the human rights efforts of civil society organisations and other parties. 

The Advisory Board, with its broad composition and a minimum of ten members, will be appointed by the Governing Board. Among those to be represented in the Advisory Board are organisations representing persons with disabilities.  

The Institute commenced operations on 1 January 2022.  

Contact us

Here are the contact details for those who want to get in contact with the Swedish Institute for Human Rights.  

E-mail address: registrator@mrinstitutet.se 

Street address: Mobilvägen 10, Lund  

Postal address: 
The Swedish Institute for Human Rights
Mobilvägen 10
SE-223 68 Lund     

Telephone number: +46 46-287 39 00 
Monday to Friday, from 09:00 to 15:00 (Closed for lunch 12:00 to 13:00)



مرحبا بكم في معهد حقوق الإنسان! 

افتتح معهد حقوق الإنسان في 1 يناير\كانون الثاني 2022.  

يتعين على المعهد تعزيز حماية حقوق الإنسان في السويد. كما سيعمل المعهد على تعزيز وحماية ورصد تنفيذ اتفاقية حقوق الأشخاص ذوي الاحتياجات الخاصة. 


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