Sweden — Action Program to Combat Antisemitism (2023)
The action programs intend to complement the National plan to combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime, and include both measures aimed at bringing to light and combating each form of racism, and measures aimed at combating racism at large.
The action programmes have been developed based on dialogues with representatives of
civil society, reports on the prevalence of racism and hate crimes in Sweden and
recommendations from regional and international human rights bodies. They also raise the
level of ambition in the effort to combat different forms of racism, in line with the EU
Anti-racism Action Plan 2020–2025 and the EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism and
Fostering Jewish life 2021–2030.
The action programme to combat antisemitism contains measures for the period 2022–2024. A comprehensive presentation of the Government’s work in the area cannot be
accommodated within the action programme. However, together with the National plan to
combat racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime, it forms a common basis for the
Government’s continuing efforts to combat antisemitism.
More knowledge, education and research
- Special research initiative on the Holocaust and antisemitism: The Swedish Research Council will carry out a special research initiative with the findings of its previous remit as a starting point to identify and produce recommendations concerning research into the Holocaust and antisemitism, and the vulnerability of other groups in connection with the Holocaust, including Roma and antigypsyism, aimed at reinforcing the relevant field of research in the long term.
- Remembrance excursions to Holocaust memorial sites: In 2022, the Living History Forum, the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism and Voksenåsen will strengthen the conditions for and organise excursions to Holocaust memorial sites. The aim of the initiatives is to enhance knowledge and entrench remembrance of the Holocaust, but also to improve knowledge and understanding of antisemitism and racism, past and present, among Swedish youths and teachers.
- Sweden’s presidency of the IHRA: Sweden has assumed the presidency of the IHRA for one year from March 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023. A priority during the presidency is to follow up on the commitments presented at the Malmö Forum in the autumn of 2021. Combating antisemitism and antigypsyism is an important element of the presidency’s priorities.
- Greater knowledge of discrimination relating to religion: The Equality Ombudsman will improve knowledge of the prevalence of discrimination related to religion or other belief and how it interacts with discrimination linked to ethnicity. The remit includes developing a knowledge base on the challenges and obstacles that people face when practising their religion or are visible in their religion, for example through their clothing. Within the remit, discrimination against Jews and Muslims will be illuminated.
- Initiatives to enhance knowledge on different forms of racism: The Living History Forum will intensify its work on implementing knowledge-enhancing initiatives on different forms of racism, including antisemitism, in 2022–2024. The remit includes producing or developing supporting materials on different forms of racism, and conducting further training initiatives.
- Discrimination on multiple grounds: The Equality Ombudsman will, based on reports of discrimination, deepen knowledge concerning discrimination on multiple grounds and illuminate issues relating to intersectionality; that is, how different power structures and grounds for discrimination affect and sometimes aggravate each other.
- Work-related stress among certain vulnerable groups: The Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise will collect and compile insights concerning the relationship between the vulnerability of certain groups and work-related stress. A particular focus area will be work environment-related knowledge and the potential implications of vulnerability – due to ethnicity, skin colour and religion or other belief – for the individual’s health. The compilation of insights will be disseminated so that it can serve to support employers, safety representatives and other elected representatives in workplaces.
- Continued funding for a national research programme on racism: The Swedish Research Council, in consultation with the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte), will continue to earmark funding for a national research programme on racism, consisting of SEK 20 million annually.
- Greater knowledge about how antisemitism can be combated in education: The Living History Forum will implement knowledge-enhancing initiatives against antisemitism during 2022–2024. The remit includes ensuring that an initiative targeting higher education is implemented, aimed at improving knowledge of the history and development of antisemitism, contemporary antisemitism and its consequences.
- Initiatives to bolster democracy to combat racism in schools: In 2022 and 2023, the National Agency for Education, together with the Living History Forum, will develop a tool for systematic work on initiatives to bolster democracy in the school system and beyond, to combat antisemitism and other forms of racism.
- Greater knowledge of racism and rights among children: The Ombudsman for Children will implement awareness-raising initiatives on racism based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to bolster the ability of children and youths to exercise their own rights. The remit includes enhancing the Mina Rättigheter (My Rights) website.
- Support and information materials on talking to children about racism: The Family Law and Parental Support Authority will review, collect and compile knowledge into support and information materials on how adults can talk to children and youths about racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime. The compilation of insights will be disseminated so that it can be used in practice and can serve as support primarily for guardians, but also for the staff of government agencies, municipalities and regions.
- Greater knowledge on where pupils and guardians can turn to when someone has been
discriminated against or subjected to victimisation: The Equality Ombudsman will, in cooperation with the Child and School Student Representative (BEO) at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, implement specific information initiatives on where children, school students and guardians can turn to when someone has been discriminated against or subjected to victimisation at school.
Strengthening preventive measures online
- Surveying violent extremism and racism in digital environments:
• The Swedish Defence Research Agency will survey the prevalence of different forms of racism in digital environments. The remit includes measuring the prevalence of racism and analysing how it manifests itself in different digital environments connected to Sweden. In particular, the agency will examine the prevalence of antisemitism and other forms of racism.
• As of 2022, the Swedish Defence Research Agency will conduct a permanent survey
and analysis of violent extremism and racism in digital environments.
- Methods to combat racism online: The Swedish Media Council has been commissioned to compile methods for combating racism, similar forms of hostility and hate crime online among children and youths. The task entails to identify methods capable of combating the occurrence of such expressions online, for instance based on the different roles that children and youths may have in online bullying situations. It also includes disseminating methods that have proven to work.
A more active legal system
- Advanced and improved efforts to combat hate crime: In 2022 and 2023, the Swedish Police Authority will continue to advance and improve efforts to combat hate crimes and other crimes that threaten democracy. The Swedish Police Authority will for example implement knowledge-boosting initiatives at the agency and present the results of the work conducted to improve investigative capacity and clearing of such crimes. Within the remit, the Swedish Police Authority will cooperate with other agencies and organisations.
- Criminalisation of Holocaust denial: The Government has appointed a parliamentary committee (dir. 2021:87) that will
decide on whether specific criminal liability should be introduced for Holocaust denial.
Civil society: greater support and more in-depth dialogue
- Support for civil society’s work to combat different forms of racism: The Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society will allocate more than SEK 14 million in 2022 to operations that combat or prevent racism or similar forms of intolerance.
- Government grant for measures to improve security: The government grant for measures to improve security has been increased. For 2022, the amount is SEK 44 million. Applications for the grant can be submitted to the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency by faith communities, non-profit organisations and foundations that fear violence, intimidation or harassment associated with the association’s premises.
- Dialogue with civil society: The Government intends to continue the dialogue with Jewish civil society and other organisations through ongoing meetings on the topic of antisemitism and the work within the framework of the action program.