European Interest

UN warns racism rife in Sweden

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Members of the neo-Nazi organization Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen) taking part in a nationalist demonstration in Stockholm on National Day.

Racist hate speech against Afro-Swedes, Jews, Muslims and Roma in Sweden is particularly prevalent “during election campaigns, as well as in the media and on the internet,” according to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

“The Committee is particularly concerned with reports of arson attacks against mosques and reception centres for asylum seekers,” CERD said in a new report released on May 11.

As reported by The Local, fires at asylum facilities around Sweden have occurred on several occasions since the number of migrants arriving in the country peaked in 2015. At least 112 blazes occurred at asylum accommodation centres, or planned accommodation centres, across Sweden in the following year, according to national police statistics.

Meanwhile, mosques have been targeted by arsonists and racist vandals.

“The Committee is also concerned at the continued reports of racist hate crimes and hate speech against Muslim ethno-religious minority groups, especially Muslim women,” the report stated, adding that Muslims in Sweden face “difficulties […] in terms of access to employment and housing outside of minority populated areas, amounting to de facto segregation.”

The report also pointed to the “stereotypical representation of Muslims in the media, and by politicians.”

The UN CERD report was based on input from the UN Association of Sweden. That group’s chairman, Aleksander Gabelic, said earlier this spring that the nation’s leaders “must be more rigorous in dealing with racist and Nazi organisations.”

“The increasing threat from racist and Nazi groups must be addressed,” Gabelic said. “It’s not fair that people should be afraid to be in the streets and squares of our cities.”

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