Several new laws give the swedish police opportunity to use covert surveillance to prevent serious crimes. But coercive measures can only be used when there is a marked need, and the measures are proportional to the resulting violation of integrity. Another development that troubles us is the increased legislation that aims at fighting ”terrorism”, which has not been balanced with increased protection of human rights.

Read about the current human rights situation in our country review Human rights in Sweden

Sweden Risks Violating Vulnerable EU citizens Rights – Open Letter


In an open letter today, Civil Rights Defenders invites the Swedish government to a dialogue about vulnerable EU citizens and their human rights in Sweden. We are deeply concerned about the report on vulnerable EU citizens, submitted by the national coordinator to the government on 1 February. If municipalities and county councils shape their policies in line with the report, they risk violating Sweden’s human rights obligations.

Sweden Must Respect Vulnerable EU Citizens’ Rights


On December 10, Civil rights Defenders released a report on vulnerable EU citizens’ rights in Sweden. The report covers the right to social assistance, health care, education, protection against hate crime and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary evictions. “A serious discussion on Sweden’s obligations to protect vulnerable EU citizens’ rights has been lacking in the debate”, said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

Conference: Bosnia and Herzegovina – 20 Years of Peace


The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war but what kind of peace did Bosnia and Herzegovina get? The Swedish Institute of International Affairs with partners, including Civil Rights Defenders, invites you to a conference on the 5th of December to highlight 20 years of Bosnian peace. The conference agenda will include topics such as the Dayton Peace Agreement, how to build peace, the legacy of war and arts and culture. Welcome!

Cutting Aid to Support Refugees will Allow Extremism to Thrive


News that Sweden and Norway are considering cuts to their international aid budgets in order to use the money to support refugees is of concern to advocates of democracy and human rights around the world. Sweden and Norway should continue to emphasise the root causes of the refugee crisis by helping to build democratic societies that people will not need to leave. Cutting international aid is not a wise long-term strategy. Read Civil Rights Defenders joint op–ed in The Guardian today.

Civil Rights Defenders Proud to be Part of Stockholm Pride Parade 2015

Pride 1

The Swedish summer has been a veritable downpour, raining almost every day. However the clouds cleared on the 01st August 2015 as hundreds of thousands lined the street to welcome the endless themed floats and participants from all over the world attending the Stockholm Pride Parade 2015. Civil Rights Defenders was delighted to welcome visitors from Russia, Moldova, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo who danced through the liberal streets of Stockholm.

Swedish Attorney Generals’ verdict on damages awarded to Roma lacks a human rights perspective

John Stauffer Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

The Attorney General recently ruled that the Roma who were illegally registered by the Skåne Police should receive 5,000 SEK in damages from the state as a result. The Attorney Generals’ decision is based almost exclusively on the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protections conclusions regarding the legality of the registers but certain flaws have clearly been highlighted. 

Testimonies from North Caucasus

Den 5 maj 2011 mördades Khava Sultygovas enda son Muslim Agiev i Grozny, Tjetjenien under så kallad "antiterroristattack". Ingen utredning om hans påstådda kopplingar till terroristorganisationer hade gjorts. Foto: Pieter ten Hoopen

The North Caucasus is situated only 70 miles from Sotji. It’s the site for Europe´s bloodiest conflict in present times and it’s a region where the local population suffer indiscriminate violence on a regular basis and where fear and uncertainty are an every day reality. From January 30 to February 23 the photo exhibition entitled, “Testimony from North Caucasus”, can be viewed at the museum Fotografiska in Stockholm

Gold and silver to the Civil Rights Captcha


The PR Agency Prime won gold and silver with the campaign “Civil Rights Captcha” for Civil Rights Defenders. The gold was in the category “Campaign of the year in social media”, and the silver in the category “Mass media campaign of the year”. Spinn is a Swedish competition in effective marketing PR, ie non-purchased marketing (publicity, seminars, internet etc.) in private channels (web, email, newsletters, lectures etc.).

Percy Bratt resigns as chairperson of Civil Rights Defenders

Percy Bratt

Civil Rights Defenders Chairperson Percy Bratt has announced that he will immediately resign from his current position due to ill health. Percy Bratt has for many years contributed his invaluable knowledge of legal issues both at national and international levels to the organisation.Together with the organisation’s Executive Director, Robert Hårdh and contributions from board and staff members he has been instrumental in pushing the organisation forward.

Opinion: Police records about the Roma community in Sweden is institutionalised racism


Police records regarding the Roma community in Sweden have deeply upset both the Roma and many in mainstream society. It revealed a sinister practice intent on flagrantly violating the values that are fundamental to a democracy. Respect for human integrity , dignity and rights of the citizen have obviously got lost some where in the police force’ skewed philosophy in combatting crime.

Swedish comedians stand up for freedom of speech

ROA står upp för det fria ordet

Tickets for this year’s most important comedy show have been released. 16 December, some of Sweden’s top comedians will fill Södra Teatern in Stockholm in a charity show called “Stand up for freedom of speech.” In many places in the world freedom of speech is silenced and to speak critically about injustices can have terrible consequences. For the comedian agency Roa’s comedians it was therefore important to stand up for freedome of speech while supporting Civil Rights Defenders with the profit from the show.

Structural racism and hate crimes still a big problem in Sweden

Alternative report CERD

A hearing was held with the Swedish government in the UN Racial Discrimination Committee due to previous criticism from the committee. Civil Rights Defenders, along with Swedish United Nations Association, and nearly fifty other organizations presented a parallel report to the UN Racial Discrimination Committee. The report shows that structural racism, discrimination and hate crimes still are serious problems in Sweden.

The fight for redress


At six o’clock in the morning of 30 October 2010, Nizar Khalaili and three of his relatives were arrested after heavily armed police had raided their home. Nizar Khalaili and his relatives were suspected of preparations to commit terrorist acts but after a few days the investigation was closed down. The Police officers and the prosecutor have in their actions breached Swedish law and violated the individuals’ right to personal freedom and private life. Hear Nizar Khalaili’s own story about the fight for redress.

Journalist in exile receives human rights award

Mesfin Negash Photo Ninke Liebert

As recognition for his work promoting free expression in Ethiopia, Mesfin Negash, together with 40 other journalists and writers, has received the Hellman/Hammett award for 2012. The award is administrated by Human Rights Watch and given to writers who are subject to political persecution and human rights abuses. After being threatened by the authorities, Mesfin Negash fled Ethiopia in 2009 and today he continues his work for human rights in exile from Sweden.

Human rights in the new Putin era


In May 2012, Vladimir Putin became President of Russia again. Since then, a series of laws that impede the work of human rights defenders have been adopted and in the North Caucasus the human rights violations continue. Civil Rights Defenders have gathered some of the most prominent experts on the North Caucasus to talk about how human rights are affected by Vladimir Putin’s return to Presidency.

Stockholm process strengthens human rights defenders at risk

Map of the North Caucasus

The situation for citizens and human rights defenders in the North Caucasus continue to deteriorate; grave human rights violations turn everyday life into a nightmare. In November 2012, Civil Rights Defenders gathers about 20 of the key human rights defenders from the region to the North Caucasus Conference. During a few intensive days in Stockholm we develop strategies to improve their security and to increase the awareness among decision makers in order to create real change.

Seminar: Propaganda laws strangles gay activism

Demonstration mot lag

A new law prohibiting ”propaganda” for homosexuality was recently passed in St Petersburg’s local parliament. Similar laws have already been passed in Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma, and there is a ongoing discussion about introducing propaganda laws on a federal level. Listen to Anastasia Smirnova and Alexandra Semenova about how the laws came about and how they affect the work for human rights, on Friday May 25.

Terrorist fear and Rule of law – the Guantanamo system after Bush

Public meeting with a panel discussion on terrorism legislation and human rights. Participants: Thomas Olsson, Lawyer, has represented members of al-Barakaat among other Laue Traberg Smidt, Danish Lawyer, has represented members of al-Aqsa among other Anna Wigenmark, Lawyer, Civil Rights Defenders Madelaine Seidlitz, Lawyer, Amnesty Abdirisak Aden, Gösta Hultén, Journalist, Charta 2008 Date: Saturday November […]