Respect for human rights is fundamental in Sweden, and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a cornerstone within Swedish migration policy.
Human rights apply to all and are based on the idea that all people are born free and entitled to make their own decisions over their own lives. Human rights include the right not to be discriminated against, freedom of speech, the rights of women and children, freedom of thought and religion, the right to education and the right to health.
Individual case processing according to the law
The Swedish Migration Agency works with human rights when it considers applications from people who want to reside or seek protection in Sweden for various different reasons. Each application must be considered individually, in accordance with the law and on the basis of a clear and common process. Nobody should be at risk of experiencing discrimination when meeting with employees of the Migration Agency.
The Swedish Migration Agency additionally offers support to persons who already have a residence permit and who, for various reasons, wish to return to their country of origin. The Migration Agency is also responsible for helping those who have received a decision on deportation to leave Sweden on their own accord and in a dignified manner.
The Swedish Migration Agency has a greater responsibility compared with many other authorities when it comes to giving concrete meaning to human rights. Questions regarding the personal rights and freedoms of individuals become clear in cases such as those where the Migration Agency takes decisions to detain persons and hold them in detention as they await deportation.
The right to equal treatment
Actively counteracting discrimination is a natural part of our work in safeguarding human rights. The Swedish Discrimination Act determines what does and does not constitute discrimination. The way in which protection against discrimination takes form is regulated by law and depends on the context in which discrimination takes place and on what grounds it occurs. Factors which may provoke discrimination and which are mentioned in the legislation include:
- gender, gender identity and expression
- religion or other beliefs
- sexual orientation
Equality and gender mainstreaming
It is a human right not to be discriminated and the equal treatment of all is a fundamental expression of democracy and gender equality.
The Swedish Migration Agency works actively to undertake equality mainstreaming in order to guarantee that women, girls, men and boys of all sexual orientations receive the same treatment when they apply for a permit at the Migration Agency and that all cases are handled equally. This means that we treat everyone equally no matter who they are or where they come from.
Violence is a sign of inequality and in order to realise the goal for equality mainstreaming, it is required that violence against women ends.
Violence is when somebody threatens, injures, intimidates or violates another person so that the person does something that they do not want to do or refrains from doing something that they do want to do, and it applies both to individual actions as well as to collective actions in the name of honour. The Migration Agency works to counteract violence by men against women and honour-related violence.
The Migration Agency actively works against human trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime which often takes place over borders. Victims of human trafficking are exploited for various different purposes, including sexual and labour related purposes. Within the framework of our operation, the Migration Agency discovers victims of human trafficking and reports such discoveries to other authorities such as the police and social services.
Just as many other countries, Sweden has signed and abides by a number of international agreements and conventions which have been agreed upon between countries and with international organisations.
- 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
- The UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention defines who is regarded as a refugee and what rights such persons are to be afforded. This convention is regarded as one of the principal mainstays of human rights and Sweden was one of the first countries to sign the convention.
- UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child includes provisions on the human rights of children under the age of 18.
- Act on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms SFS 1994:1219 (in Swedish)
- The Act on the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms seeks to ensure a universal and active recognition and protection of rights and the development of human rights by members of the Council of Europe.
- 1954 New York Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
- The 1954 New York Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons describes the rights and benefits afforded to stateless individuals.
- The Istanbul Convention
- The Council of Europe's Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.