COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS EXAMINES REPORT OF SWEDEN

Committee on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights
6 November 2008

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has considered the fifth periodic report of Sweden on how that country implements the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Marianne Jenryd, Director General, Legal and Administrative Affairs, Ministry for Health and Social Affairs of Sweden, in her opening statement, said that Sweden was fully committed to upholding and respecting its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Implementing successful integration policies to maintain and develop the welfare state had been –and would continue to be – a challenge. In highlighting some of the recent initiatives in the fight against all forms of discrimination, a key issue for Sweden, the Government adopted a new Discrimination Act on 4 June 2008, which would enter into force on 1 January 2009. The Act merged the current seven civil law acts against discrimination regarding different areas of society and different grounds of discrimination into a single piece of legislation. The current four Ombudsmen against discrimination on different grounds, including the Ombudsman again Ethnic Discrimination, also merged into a single national authority, called the Ombudsman against Discrimination. This ensured more effective and powerful monitoring of compliance with the Act.

Among issues raised by the Experts were questions regarding the incorporation of the Covenant into Swedish internal legislation; results of the action plan of 2006, specifically with regard to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights; the difficulties faced by increased numbers of refugees in Sweden; gender equality; land rights involving the Sami; regulation of asylum seekers; the gap between the legislation protecting people with disabilities and practice; the situation of the Roma and specifically the schooling of Roma children; ratification of International Labour Organization Convention 169; the large number of complaints received and prosecuted; increases in the number of poor children; mental health policies; homelessness; violence against women; measures to improve the labour market; the ratification of the European Convention on Human Trafficking; language training in the mother tongue; human rights curriculum based education; and registration of ethnic origin.

Ms. Jenryd, in concluding remarks, said that it was a very interesting discussion. A lot of topics were covered from health care to the Roma, and many questions were not easy to answer. This gave Sweden an opportunity to reflect on how to improve the situation in the country.

Philippe Texier, Chairman of the Committee, also in concluding remarks, appreciated the frank and open dialogue with the delegation. The delegation was highly competent. There were rather difficult and broad issues, and it was hoped that at the next review with the addition of the Optional Protocol issues could be looked at more closely.

The delegation of Sweden included representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of integration and Gender Equality.

The concluding observations and recommendations of the Committee on the report of Sweden will be issued towards the end of the session, which concludes on Friday, 21 November.

When the Committee meets at 3 p.m. this afternoon, it will begin its consideration of the initial report of Kenya (E/C.12/KEN/1).

Report of Sweden

According to the fifth periodic report of Sweden (E/C.12/SWE/5) development has been ongoing for some time in Sweden aimed at increasing the influence of the Sami population over both more internal Sami affairs and matters that affect the Sami People from a wider social perspective. The Government adopted a bill on 11 May 2006 entitled “Greater Sami Influence” to the Riksdag (Parliament) giving the Sami Parliament the responsibility currently performed by the County Administrative Board and the Swedish Board of Agriculture that pertains mainly to internal Sami conditions. Sweden has implemented a number of other new developments, which include steps taken to become a party to ILO Convention 169. The Government also adopted A National Action Plan for Human Rights 2006-2009 in May 2006. The action plan focuses on protection against discrimination and specifies several measures aimed at combating discrimination on grounds of sex, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation and, to a certain extent, age. Other issues addressed include the rights of people with disabilities, children’s rights, and men’s violence against women, including violence in the name of honour, and human trafficking, rule of law issues and asylum and migration. Other measures announced aim at increasing knowledge and information about human rights within the education system and the public sector as well as among the general public.

In December 2003 the Swedish Riksdag unanimously adopted “Shared Responsibility: Sweden’s Policy for Global Development”. The general objective, which applies to all policy areas, is to contribute to equitable and sustainable global development. In May 2006 “The Power to Shape Society and One’s Own Life - New Gender Policy Objectives” was adopted, which proposed new gender policy objectives and a proposal to establish a new government agency, with an overall objective that women and men shall have equal distribution of power and influence, economic equality, equal distribution of unpaid care and household work, and men’s violence against women shall come to an end. With regard to the labour market, in 2005 6 per cent were openly unemployed (5.7 per cent of women and 6.2 per cent of men) and the employment rate was 73.9 per cent (71.9 per cent of women and 75.9 per cent of men). Full-time unemployment is higher for men than for women, but the situation is the reverse for part-time unemployment. Women are part-time unemployed to a significantly greater extent. An employment subsidy known as "Plusjobb” was introduced on 1 January 2006, which targeted unemployed persons who have been registered with the Employment Service for at least two years. The temporary trainee replacement scheme was reinstated for 2006 and 2007, making it possible for the public sector to invest in better training and education for its staff while providing work experience to 10,000 unemployed men and women. The report also notes that pay disparities have remained essentially unchanged since the early 1990s. According to wage statistics, women’s wages correspond on average to 84 per cent of men’s wages.

Presentation of the Report

MARIANNE JENRYD, Director General, Legal and Administrative Affairs, Ministry for Health and Social Affairs of Sweden, in her opening statement, said that Sweden was fully committed to upholding and respecting its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The last elections that had been held had resulted in a new Government which took office in October 2006. The commitment of Sweden to uphold and respect its international human rights obligations remained unchanged.

In recent years, Ms. Jenryd noted, most nations had been increasingly influenced by globalization and by international events and developments, and that also included Sweden. Swedish membership of the European Union and the right to free movement of persons, services, capital and goods had a great influence on Sweden through action taken to ensure that Swedish legislation conformed to European Union expectations. Instability, due to armed conflict and poor living conditions in various parts of the world, led to mass migration, which also had an impact on receiving countries. This affected Sweden to a much larger extent than many other western countries. A striking example of this was that one single community (Södertälje) in Sweden received more refugees from Iraq than the whole of the United States.

These changes transformed Sweden from a homogenous country, population wise, to a multi-ethnic society, underscored Ms. Jenryd. Today one out of eight Swedes (13.4 per cent in 2007) were born outside Sweden. In 2006 Sweden had a higher proportion of foreign-born people than, for example, the United Kingdom, France or the Netherlands and almost as high a proportion as the United States. Implementing successful integration policies to maintain and develop the welfare state had been –and would continue to be – a challenge.

In highlighting some of the recent initiatives, Ms. Jenryd noted that in the fight against all forms of discrimination, a key issue for Sweden, the Government adopted a new Discrimination Act on 4 June 2008, which would enter into force on 1 January 2009. The Act merged the current seven civil law acts against discrimination regarding different areas of society and different grounds of discrimination into a single piece of legislation. The current four Ombudsmen against discrimination on different grounds, including the Ombudsman again Ethnic Discrimination, also merged into a single national authority, called the Ombudsman against Discrimination. This ensured more effective and powerful monitoring of compliance with the Act. Over and above the structural benefits, the merger was expected to improve the conditions for dealing with cases involving multiple types of discrimination.

The new National Action Plan for Human Rights 2006-2009 was adopted in May 2006, said Ms. Jenryd. The plan set out a coherent approach to human rights issues in Sweden. The plan covered the rights of disabled people, the rights of the child, national minorities and the indigenous Sami people, men’s violence against women, including violence in the name of honour, human trafficking, and the right to work, to housing, to health and education.
One of the key tasks of the Sweden Government was to combat exclusion and marginalisation by getting more people into work, stressed Ms. Jenryd. Sustainable high employment was a pre-condition for the long-term financing of the public welfare system and for reducing poverty and economic inequality. Since 2006 the Government placed focus on economic incentives to stimulate the general supply of and demand for labour. The most important measures to increase the labour supply were the in-work tax credit and changes to the unemployment and sickness insurance systems. Between 2006-2007 the unemployment rate (age 15-74) decreased by one percentage point to 6.1 per cent and – at the same time – the employment rate increased by one percentage point to 67 per cent. The increase in employment was particularly significant among young people and foreign-born people.

On 10 July 2008 the Government adopted an action plan to combat prostitution and human trafficking. Sweden’s commitments in the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations served as a basis for the Government’s policy in this sphere, underscored Ms. Jenryd. This action plan focused specifically on the individual’s need for protection and support. Special measures were also taken on behalf of children and young people. A follow up on the action plan was scheduled for sometime in 2010. The action plan was intended to intensify outreach activities and give greater priority to sheltered housing, treatment centres and other forms of protection and support. Establishing contact with children and young people exposed to – or at risk of being exposed to – sexual exploitation posed a particular challenge.

In November 2007 an action plan to combat men’s violence against women, violence and oppression in the name of honour and violence in same-sex relationships was presented to the Government. The plan included 56 measures, and the Government allocated approximately 80 million euros over four years to implement these measures. An important part of this particular action plan was to combat violence and oppression in the name of honour. Specific knowledge and sometimes special routines were necessary, for example in police investigations, risk assessments and the work of social services. Overall, the action plan drew attention to circumstances and situations that made women vulnerable to being subjected to violence, for example, women with disabilities, women living with abuse, immigrants, national minorities and the elderly, Ms. Jenryd stressed.

The objective of the Swedish disability policy was to achieve a social community based on diversity, designed to allow people with disabilities of all ages full participation in the community and equal opportunities in life. The policy covered measures to remove obstacles to full participation in society and actions to combat discrimination and to increase individual support. The measures were cross-sectoral. Sweden faced several challenges in welfare provision, Ms. Jenryd stressed. Improvements in welfare required fresh thinking to improve quality, a diversity of actors and greater choice for the individual. More attention was needed in the area of the labour market. The Government gave priority to work to increase employment for people with disabilities and to identify and remove the obstacles to participation in working life.

Ms. Jenryd noted that on 30 March 2007 Sweden signed the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Optional Protocol, which entered into force on 3 May 2008.

Ensuring the welfare and rights of elderly persons was an important priority in Sweden, noted Ms. Jenryd. The demographic changes faced in Sweden, with an aging population and fewer people of working age, created new challenges and demands on the welfare system. To meet the needs of the elderly the Government introduced a series of reforms to strengthen the rights of the individual and choice, to promote quality and diversity in service provision and to improve and secure the quality of the care provided. A key Government initiative in this field was an open national system to measure and compare the quality of provisions by local and regional service providers. The system provided users with relevant information to enable and support their personal choice, and act as a benchmarking function to promote quality development.

Sweden’s health system attracted considerable resources and was recognized as one of the nation’s vital social institutions, Ms. Jenryd underscored. Paul Hunt, the Special Rapporteur on the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, upon his visit to Sweden noted that mental health was deteriorating in Sweden. Although several steps had been taken to improve the situation, the problem remained. The cause did not yield a simple solution. Reducing long-term unemployment, investing in parent support and strengthening anti-discrimination measures were necessary steps, as young people were the most affected. The Government allocated 500 million SEK for 2008 and 900 million SEK for subsequent years to develop psychiatric care at different levels of society. A range of other means had been adopted for children and young people.

Ms. Jenryd said that Sweden saw the regular reviews – and the constructive dialogue as a result - were a positive way of dealing with difficult matters, and as a means of discussing and addressing various concerns, in a common endeavour to create an open and inclusive society.

Questions by Committee Members

Regarding the incorporation of the Covenant into Swedish internal legislation, an Expert asked why this had not been done, especially as Sweden had incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights; did Sweden intend to incorporate it? Why did Sweden take the position to oppose the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant?

What were the concrete steps taken to incorporate the Covenant into the dualist system in Sweden, asked an Expert? What were the results of the action plan of 2006, specifically with regard to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights under the Covenant? Will the Ombudsman have the mandate to inquire into allegations of violations of economic, social and cultural rights by non-State actors and provide remedies, asked an Expert?

On Sweden’s new global policy and its draft law of 2002-2003 promoting sustainable and equitable development and economic, social and cultural rights, an Expert asked for examples of countries which had benefited from this cooperation, and what was the proportion of development aid from Sweden through multi-lateral assistance? What were the difficulties faced by increased numbers of refugees in Sweden?

The recent multilateral convention on the Sami population between Sweden, Norway and Finland was commended. Concerning the Sami population, an Expert asked if the burden of proof was solely left to the Sami? Was legal aid a right for the Sami? What percentage of asylum seekers who were not granted asylum remained in Sweden? Comments were welcomed concerning discrimination since the Committee had received reports by non governmental organizations that despite the new discrimination legislation a gap remained between the legislation protecting people with disabilities and practice. Experts raised concerns about the situation of the Roma and specifically the schooling of Roma children.

In view of the recent financial crisis, an Expert asked if this had an affect on the Official Development Assistance system. How was the term disability defined in Swedish legislation, and who were people suffering from disabilities but had the capacity to work?

The right to health was absent from Swedish policies, noted an Expert with concern, and he asked why this was the case? A true integration of human rights into policy included health as a right. In the national human rights plan, to what extent were economic, social and cultural rights addressed and included? Which rights protected by the Covenant had been included in domestic policy?

International Labour Organization Convention 169 had yet to be ratified, and land rights involving the Sami remained an obstacle for Sweden’s ratification, noted an Expert. Did Sweden intend to ratify this Convention soon; did consultations take place between the Government and the Sami tribes?

Answers by the Delegation

In response to the questions raised, the delegation said that there had not been any conflicts between national law and the Covenant. Examples of cases brought forth to the Supreme Court where international obligations were invoked would be provided at a later time. Concerning the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on individual complaints, the delegation said the Government opposed the adoption of the Optional Protocol at the General Assembly. At this time Sweden did not find it necessary, however, this did not imply that Sweden would not ratify the protocol.

The new ombudsman was appointed in the summer of 2008, noted the delegation.

With regard to the gap between legislation and the implementation of protection for persons with disabilities, the delegation said the gap would be covered in 2009 when the new discrimination act entered into force. For example, one aspect that was not previously covered was the lack of accessibility. There was no general definition of disability in Swedish legislation, noted the delegation. There was a definition in the new discrimination act; however, there was no mention in particular if a person had the ability to work. The responsibility was up to the individual registering a disability to identify if he/she was able to work. The statistics collected on disability were not a scientific study and thus it was difficult to identify if a person was able to work and to what extent.

The Government believed that a multi-strategy was necessary to deal with this gap. It was important to include structured action plans, strategies, monitoring and resources for implementation. County Councils (local authorities) were responsible for administering these services. Many had problems in meeting these responsibilities and the needs of the citizens. If an individual did not receive services needed, he or she could take their case to be examined by a court of law. 15 million euros had been allocated to public transportation systems to ensure that all people’s needs were met in this regard. The Government made having an accessible community a priority and measures had been taken to ensure that Swedish society was accessible.

Sweden’s global policy aimed to help make equitable development a right for all. This was done in two ways, through an effective development policy, and a coherent policy which was cross-sectoral.

On trade policies and corporate responsibility, the delegation said Sweden encouraged interaction and dialogue between different cultures. The Government made active efforts to promote the social dimension of trade policy. This was done through the promotion of trade labour issues and bilateral and free trade agreements where human rights were an integral component. There were a number of programmes in which the Government engaged with private enterprises covering topics, among others, on human rights and labour conditions.

The right to legal aid for the Sami was raised by the Committee, and the delegation said that each Sami was entitled to the same legal aid benefits as any other person entitled to rights in Sweden, however, a Sami community as a whole could not apply for legal aid.

The recent financial crisis did not affect Swedish banks significantly, said the delegation. However, the crisis might affect the employment rate.

On the right to health, the delegation said that this right was laid out in the Swedish Constitution and the Health and Medical Services Act, good health on equal terms, and the Prohibition of Discrimination Act also stipulated the right to health.

The National Action Plan for Human Rights did in fact include economic, social and cultural protections, said the delegation. An entire chapter was dedicated to these rights, which was separate of the discrimination act.

Concrete measures were taken to combat discrimination in the criminal justice system, said the delegation. Public authorities were required to provide interpreters if needed without any costs incurred by the individual involved in such cases. The costs were fully covered by the courts. The Swedish Government took the vulnerable situation of the Roma as a serious issue. A delegation was tasked to identify, among other things, methods on how to improve schooling systems for the Roma.

Further Questions by the Committee Members

An Expert asked if Sweden conditioned its economic assistance to improve the situation of promoting and protecting international human rights, and if so, what were the positive results of such conditioning? What economic, social and cultural rights had been integrated into national policy development, reiterated an Expert?

Answers by the Delegation

The delegation said that the Government focused development assistance on fewer countries to do more in each country. Efforts were made through dialogue and capacity building.

With regard to what parts of the Covenant had been directly invoked in national policy, the delegation said that for instance the Covenant mentioned the right to adequate living standards and conditions on this issue were set out in a number of social programmes in Sweden.

Questions by the Committee Experts

Experts raised questions related to the Government’s role in the Swedish labour market and policies; disparities between men and women in the labour market; and challenges faced in determining what disability constituted.

An Expert asked what specific challenges faced the Government of Sweden in dealing with the issue of disabilities. Was there discrimination on foreign migrants?

One Expert asked if it was possible for a person to work beyond the legal age for retirement and still collect a pension. Was it necessary for an individual to have more than one job?

Answers by the Delegation

In response to these questions and others, the delegation of Sweden said it was in fact possible for a person to collect a pension and wages at the same time if he/she chose to do so.

The present employment policy and goal was to remove exclusion from the labour market, said the delegation. A number of reforms had been introduced with a goal of making it more worthwhile to work, less costly for employers to hire, and to make small start up business more attractive. One of the biggest reforms was the reduction of income taxes, and reforms in unemployment and social insurance. For instance, “The New Start Jobs” gave advantages to every employer who employed people with weak linkages to the labour market, including unemployed persons, immigrants, elderly, and persons with disabilities, among others. The incentive for employers was a tax credit for each new person hired.

The International Labour Organization noted that the recent history of anti-discrimination methods in Sweden may have changed attitudes in the labour markets. However, the Government of Sweden remained at a position where more was left to be done in this regard, said the delegation.

On gender equality issues and combating violence against women, Sweden had come further than other countries on gender equality than on discrimination on ethnic grounds, said the delegation. Sweden had a longer history of working on women’s rights in the labour market. The Swedish Government’s strategy on women’s rights was scheduled for consideration by the Swedish parliament via an inter-parliamentary working group in April 2009.

With respect to statistics, the delegation said that Sweden adopted the recommendations made by the International Labour Organization, as did all States belonging to the European Union, concerning employment and unemployment. The rate of employment for foreign born men and foreign born women was higher,. The unemployment rate went down for foreign born men compared to that of Swedish born men. At the same time there was a persistent difference between employment and unemployment rates between foreign born men and Swedish born men, which remained a challenge for the Government.

On part-time and full-time work, the delegation said that the Government had decided not to consider the proposals made by the working group on measures in the labour market, and that it was a better approach to leave this issue for the employers and trade unions to resolve; the Government did not want to get involved. However, one initiative taken by the Government was in the form of a stronger economic incentive to support the labour market. The general time limit for unemployment benefits for full-time workers was 300 days, and for part time it was raised to 75 days on 7 April 2008. It was the hope that this incentive encouraged part-timer workers to seek full-time work, and for employers to convert part-time work into full-time work.

The delegation said that in order to make social assistance work, a reduction of social exclusion was necessary, which entitled measures in various areas, including the labour market, education, and integration policies. There was a reduction of the total number of recipients who received social assistance, with figures from 2007 showing almost a 50 per cent decrease.

Questions by Committee Members

An Expert said 15,927 complaints had been registered in Sweden, and only 4,808 of those complaints had been subject to prosecution. There were no statistics on the results of those prosecutions. This illustrated that the rate of prosecution was low in Sweden, and that those acts were not being properly punished. An Expert asked, what happened with the other complaints, and requested more information in this regard?

On the right to health the report of Sweden indicated that obesity was correlated with non-educated parts of society, and Expert said, asking what educational programmes had been implemented or planned to be implemented on this issue. What had been done since the Special Rapporteur’s visit and recommendations? Incidents of sexual diseases were on the rise in Sweden, however the increase indicated a need for preventative measures; what was being done or planned in this regard?

The data of 2007 for Sweden showed an increase in poor children, was this due to the increase of single family parents, or the increase of immigrants, asked an Expert? In addition young adults aged 20-24 also showed a decline in education, what was being done in respect to this decrease. The report noted that only people belonging to ethnic groups had difficulties communicating with medical personnel in their language of origin; what was being done to assist or support these people in communicating in their own language with medical personnel?

One Expert asked how many cases had the Swedish courts decided on where an individual party to the case was put into psychiatric facilities?

According to a survey in 2005 the number of homeless people increased reaching 17,800, noted an Expert. What serious measures had been adopted by the Swedish Government on this issue?

The offence of domestic violence was not considered a special offence in Sweden legislation, but rather as aggravation against individual integrity, noted an Expert with concern. It was suggested that a clearer definition be adopted.


Answers by the Delegation

In response to these questions and others, the delegation of Sweden said that in March 2008 the Government presented a bill that renewed policy for public health. There were some target areas identified among others including participation and influence in society, the conditions of children and young people in growing up, health during work life, promoting health care and medical services, preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, and the reduction of the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. A total of 11.5 million euros was allocated in 2008 to support and strengthen the role of parents in suicide prevention, physical activity, nutrition, and the reduction in the use of tobacco. However the results had yet to be collected.

Regarding mental health, the delegation said it was an issue of highest priority for the Swedish Government. There were a number of activities related to this issue of mental health which included focus on the education of the personnel, disabilities, and on children and young people. 90 million euros was allocated for measures taken in the area of mental health.

On violence against women, the delegation said the Government presented an action plan to combat violence against women, violence in the name of honour and gross violation of women’s integrity in November of 2007. The gross violation of women’s integrity policy was meant to capture a situation in which an offender was guilty of repeatedly threatening a women or minor offences. It was a gross offence in the legal system, where the period of detention was increased from figures in 2001 of 129 days to 174 days in 2006.
In 2006 the percentage of children living in low income household decreased to 6 per cent, noted the delegation compared with the figures in 1990 with 18 percent. The proportion of households of children who received social assistance dropped sharply. Relative child poverty showed that in 2006, 15 per cent of all children lived in families who were relatively poor. It remained a high priority area for the Swedish Government.

The total number of homeless in Sweden was in fact reported as 17,800, said the delegation, however, of that total 3,600 were in fact sleeping on the street without shelter. Of that total 2,700 were men and 900 were women, where two thirds reported abuse problems, and one third reported psychiatric problems. One measure taken by the Government was a strategy called “Homelessness Multiple Phases, Multiple Responsibilities”. This strategy aimed at supporting the coordination of all stakeholders in combating this problem. The strategy covered the period of 2007-2009 with a goal that no child be put in this situation, and that no one be taken out of their homes, especially if there was a child in their custody.

Further Questions by the Experts

In addition to the current languages used to teach, were there other languages representing other minorities which had become significant in Sweden? Concerning the Roma and the limited access of Roma children to education, what measures had been taken to encourage Roma children to attend school, and to deal with harassment of Roma in schools, asked an Expert?

Further questions related to the ratification of the European Convention on Human Trafficking; language training in the mother tongue; the training of teachers; human rights curriculum in the education system; and registration of ethnic origin.

Answers by the Delegation

The delegation said that Sweden was considering adhering to the European Convention on Human Trafficking.


In 2006, the Government appointed a Delegation for Roma Issues with the task of improving the situation of the Roma in Sweden, said the delegation. It consisted of 10 members, half of whom were of Roma origin. A number of experts and a broad reference group consisting of representatives of the Roma organizations had been appointed for permanent consultation. The Delegation was to present its final report in December 2009. With regard to harassment in schools, this was prohibited in Sweden, and there was a follow-up body which received complaints. The National Agency for Education in Sweden released a report in 2007 on pupils with a Roma background, which identified that more focus on mother tongue training was necessary. Only 26 per cent of pupils entitled to such training actually received it. The National Agency for Education planned to present a report in March 2009 about harassment in schools.

The delegation said that educational regulations had been put in place, which included total hours completed, and courses in English and Swedish.

Concluding Statements

In her concluding remarks, MARIANNE JENRYD, Director General, Legal and Administrative Affairs, Ministry for Health and Social Affairs of Sweden, said that it was a very interesting discussion. A lot of topics were covered from health care to the Roma, and many questions were not easy to answer. This gave Sweden an opportunity to reflect on how to improve the situation in the country. She thanked the Committee and hoped that the next report would be even better.

PHILIPPE TEXIER, Chairman of the Committee, appreciated the frank and open dialogue with the delegation. The delegation was highly competent. There were rather difficult and broad issues, and it was hoped that at the next review with the addition of the Optional Protocol issues could be looked at more closely.

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