Advanced

Rasism och svensk exceptionalism – en kritik av Sveriges ovilja att kriminalisera rasistiska organisationer

Laczak, Karolina LU (2014) LAGM01 20142
Department of Law
Abstract
In the last year a number of notable events with ties to Nazi groups, such as demonstrations and brutal attacks, have occurred in Sweden. The media has also reported on numerous occasions that the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has repeatedly criticized Sweden. The criticism has focused on the fact that the country has not complied with Article 4 (b) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by criminalizing organizations that promote and incite racial discrimination. However, Sweden has since its accession in 1971 been of the opinion that it does fulfil the obligations following this provision, even though they have never prohibited racist organizations by law. ... (More)
In the last year a number of notable events with ties to Nazi groups, such as demonstrations and brutal attacks, have occurred in Sweden. The media has also reported on numerous occasions that the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has repeatedly criticized Sweden. The criticism has focused on the fact that the country has not complied with Article 4 (b) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by criminalizing organizations that promote and incite racial discrimination. However, Sweden has since its accession in 1971 been of the opinion that it does fulfil the obligations following this provision, even though they have never prohibited racist organizations by law.

The aim of this thesis is to examine how Sweden has argued its position not to impose a ban on racist organizations and how this position differs from the one CERD takes. The intention is to better understand what the Swedish reluctance to legislate against racist organizations is based on. The investigation was conducted using argument analysis and Critical Race Theory. In the centre of the investigation were the preparatory works that examined the matter of Sweden’s accession to ICERD, the country’s periodic reports sent to CERD to present how it complies with the convention and the Committee’s responses to these reports and its general recommendations regarding the interpretation of Article 4 (b).

The investigation has shown that Sweden is essentially using the same arguments in order to explain why it has never imposed an organization ban. One of the main arguments is that the need for such a ban has never arisen, since the problems with racial discrimination in the country have not been assessed as particularly serious. Hence, Sweden holds that there is no reason for taking such an extensive measure as criminalizing organizations. This reasoning is based on another provision of the ICERD, Article 2.1 (d), which according to Sweden stipulates that the States parties should only take those legislative measures that can be deemed required by the circumstances of each country. If the circumstances give rise to the assessment that no such need exists, it is not necessary to comply verbatim with the stipulation in Article 4 (b) according to Sweden. Another one of Sweden’s arguments is also based on this interpretation of Article 2.1 (d), as the country refers to other existing criminal provisions in Swedish law in order to justify its reluctance to introduce a ban. In Sweden’s opinion these provisions make it impossible for racist organizations to function, which means that there is no reason to prohibit the organizations themselves because they cannot operate successfully anyway. Sweden refers furthermore to various human rights like freedom of expression and association, claiming that an organization ban cannot be imposed since this would constitute an excessive restriction of these freedoms.

My conclusions are that Sweden’s argumentation largely reflects a belief in Swedish exceptionalism in matters relating to racism. The reasoning is characterized by the conviction that Sweden is a country that has neither historically nor presently been affected by racial discrimination or racism in general; instead these phenomena are considered to be unusual occurrences in the Swedish society. Through examinations of the country’s historical background it is however possible to establish that this is not the case and that Sweden’s argument that there has never been any need for an organization ban thereby cannot be accepted. The same applies to the argument that the presence of other criminal provisions makes it impossible for racist organizations to operate. Despite these provisions the organizations’ activities have in fact continued. Sweden sees itself as a country immune to racism, which means that it diminishes the problem of racial discrimination in general and also reduces it to a problem that manifests itself solely at a micro level, instead of seeing racism as the integrated part of Swedish society that it has historically been. This line of reasoning enables the position that it is not necessary to impose a ban on racist organizations despite the fact that CERD has repeatedly requested it. For the same reasons I do not consider it plausible that Sweden will criminalize racist organizations in the future, unless the Swedish self-image fundamentally changes and the country acknowledges both its racist history and present. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Under det senaste året har en rad uppmärksammade händelser med kopplingar till nazistiska grupper, som t.ex. demonstrationer och brutala överfall, ägt rum i Sverige. Dessutom har media vid ett flertal tillfällen rapporterat om att Sverige upprepade gånger kritiserats av FN:s rasdiskrimineringskommitté (CERD). Kritiken har handlat om att landet inte har rättat sig efter art. 4 (b) i FN:s internationella konvention om avskaffandet av alla former av rasdiskriminering (ICERD) genom att kriminalisera organisationer som främjar eller uppmanar till rasdiskriminering. Sverige har dock sedan anslutningen 1971 hävdat att man visst uppfyller konventionens förpliktelser, trots att man inte förbjudit rasistiska organisationer i lagen.

Detta arbete... (More)
Under det senaste året har en rad uppmärksammade händelser med kopplingar till nazistiska grupper, som t.ex. demonstrationer och brutala överfall, ägt rum i Sverige. Dessutom har media vid ett flertal tillfällen rapporterat om att Sverige upprepade gånger kritiserats av FN:s rasdiskrimineringskommitté (CERD). Kritiken har handlat om att landet inte har rättat sig efter art. 4 (b) i FN:s internationella konvention om avskaffandet av alla former av rasdiskriminering (ICERD) genom att kriminalisera organisationer som främjar eller uppmanar till rasdiskriminering. Sverige har dock sedan anslutningen 1971 hävdat att man visst uppfyller konventionens förpliktelser, trots att man inte förbjudit rasistiska organisationer i lagen.

Detta arbete syftar till att undersöka hur Sverige har argumenterat för sitt ställningstagande att inte införa ett förbud mot rasistiska organisationer samt hur denna inställning skiljer sig från CERD:s. Avsikten är att bättre förstå vad den svenska oviljan att lagstifta mot rasistiska organisationer grundar sig i. Undersökningen har gjorts med hjälp av argumentationsanalys och den amerikanska teoribildningen Critical Race Theory. I centrum för undersökningen står förarbetena som utredde frågan om Sveriges eventuella anslutning till ICERD, de periodiska rapporter landet skickat till CERD för att redovisa hur man efterlever konventionen samt CERD:s svar på dessa rapporter och deras generella rekommendationer rörande hur art. 4 (b) ska förstås.

Undersökningen har visat att Sverige till stor del återkommit till samma argument för att förklara varför man aldrig infört ett organisationsförbud. Ett av de främsta argumenten är att det aldrig har uppstått ett behov av ett sådant förbud då problemen med rasdiskriminering i landet inte har bedömts som särskilt allvarliga. Därmed menar Sverige att det inte finns någon anledning att vidta en så långtgående åtgärd som en kriminalisering. Till stöd för denna inställning hänvisar man till en annan bestämmelse i ICERD, art. 2.1 (d), som man menar föreskriver att konventionsstaterna endast ska vidta de lagstiftningsåtgärder som krävs i förhållande till omständigheterna i varje land. Sverige menar alltså att om omständigheterna i landet är sådana att inget behov föreligger, måste man inte följa stadgandet i art. 4 (b) ordagrant. Ett annat av argumenten grundar sig också i denna tolkning av art. 2.1 (d), då Sverige även hänvisar till andra befintliga straffbestämmelser i lagen för att på så sätt motivera varför ett organisationsförbud inte behöver införas. Sverige menar att dessa bestämmelser omöjliggör rasistiska organisationers verksamhet, vilket innebär att det inte finns någon anledning att förbjuda organisationerna i sig eftersom de ändå inte kan fungera på ett meningsfullt sätt. Vidare hänvisar Sverige ofta till olika mänskliga rättigheter som yttrande- och föreningsfriheterna och menar att ett organisationsförbud inte kan införas eftersom detta skulle innebära en alltför långtgående inskränkning av dessa friheter.

Mina slutsatser är att Sveriges argumentation till stor del reflekterar en tro på svensk exceptionalism när det handlar om rasism. Resonemanget är präglat av övertygelsen att Sverige är ett land som både historiskt sett och idag inte riktigt berörs av rasdiskriminering eller rasism, utan dessa företeelser anses ovanliga i det svenska samhället. Genom undersökningar av Sveriges historiska bakgrund kan man dock konstatera att detta inte stämmer och att Sveriges argument om att det aldrig har förelegat något behov av ett organisationsförbud därmed inte kan godtas. Detsamma gäller argumentet att andra straffbestämmelser omöjliggör rasistiska organisationers verksamhet. Trots dessa bestämmelser har organisationerna kunnat fortsätta verka. I Sverige finns en självbild av att vara ett land befriat från rasism, vilket innebär att man förminskar problemet med rasdiskriminering i samhället och identifierar det som ett problem som enbart kommer till uttryck på individnivå istället för att se rasismen som den integrerade del av det svenska samhället som den historiskt sett har varit. Detta sätt att resonera möjliggör inställningen att man inte behöver införa ett förbud mot rasistiska organisationer trots att CERD upprepade gånger har efterfrågat det. Av samma skäl bedömer jag det inte heller som troligt att Sverige inom den närmaste framtiden kommer att kriminalisera rasistiska organisationer, såvida inte den svenska självbilden förändras i grunden och ett erkännande av både den rasistiska historien och samtiden sker. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Laczak, Karolina LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Racism and Swedish exceptionalism - a critique of Sweden's reluctance to criminalize racist organizations
course
LAGM01 20142
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Rättsvetenskap, Mänskliga rättigheter
language
Swedish
id
4905433
date added to LUP
2015-02-05 17:57:43
date last changed
2015-02-05 17:57:43
@misc{4905433,
  abstract     = {In the last year a number of notable events with ties to Nazi groups, such as demonstrations and brutal attacks, have occurred in Sweden. The media has also reported on numerous occasions that the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has repeatedly criticized Sweden. The criticism has focused on the fact that the country has not complied with Article 4 (b) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) by criminalizing organizations that promote and incite racial discrimination. However, Sweden has since its accession in 1971 been of the opinion that it does fulfil the obligations following this provision, even though they have never prohibited racist organizations by law. 

The aim of this thesis is to examine how Sweden has argued its position not to impose a ban on racist organizations and how this position differs from the one CERD takes. The intention is to better understand what the Swedish reluctance to legislate against racist organizations is based on. The investigation was conducted using argument analysis and Critical Race Theory. In the centre of the investigation were the preparatory works that examined the matter of Sweden’s accession to ICERD, the country’s periodic reports sent to CERD to present how it complies with the convention and the Committee’s responses to these reports and its general recommendations regarding the interpretation of Article 4 (b). 

The investigation has shown that Sweden is essentially using the same arguments in order to explain why it has never imposed an organization ban. One of the main arguments is that the need for such a ban has never arisen, since the problems with racial discrimination in the country have not been assessed as particularly serious. Hence, Sweden holds that there is no reason for taking such an extensive measure as criminalizing organizations. This reasoning is based on another provision of the ICERD, Article 2.1 (d), which according to Sweden stipulates that the States parties should only take those legislative measures that can be deemed required by the circumstances of each country. If the circumstances give rise to the assessment that no such need exists, it is not necessary to comply verbatim with the stipulation in Article 4 (b) according to Sweden. Another one of Sweden’s arguments is also based on this interpretation of Article 2.1 (d), as the country refers to other existing criminal provisions in Swedish law in order to justify its reluctance to introduce a ban. In Sweden’s opinion these provisions make it impossible for racist organizations to function, which means that there is no reason to prohibit the organizations themselves because they cannot operate successfully anyway. Sweden refers furthermore to various human rights like freedom of expression and association, claiming that an organization ban cannot be imposed since this would constitute an excessive restriction of these freedoms. 

My conclusions are that Sweden’s argumentation largely reflects a belief in Swedish exceptionalism in matters relating to racism. The reasoning is characterized by the conviction that Sweden is a country that has neither historically nor presently been affected by racial discrimination or racism in general; instead these phenomena are considered to be unusual occurrences in the Swedish society. Through examinations of the country’s historical background it is however possible to establish that this is not the case and that Sweden’s argument that there has never been any need for an organization ban thereby cannot be accepted. The same applies to the argument that the presence of other criminal provisions makes it impossible for racist organizations to operate. Despite these provisions the organizations’ activities have in fact continued. Sweden sees itself as a country immune to racism, which means that it diminishes the problem of racial discrimination in general and also reduces it to a problem that manifests itself solely at a micro level, instead of seeing racism as the integrated part of Swedish society that it has historically been. This line of reasoning enables the position that it is not necessary to impose a ban on racist organizations despite the fact that CERD has repeatedly requested it. For the same reasons I do not consider it plausible that Sweden will criminalize racist organizations in the future, unless the Swedish self-image fundamentally changes and the country acknowledges both its racist history and present.},
  author       = {Laczak, Karolina},
  keyword      = {Rättsvetenskap,Mänskliga rättigheter},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Rasism och svensk exceptionalism – en kritik av Sveriges ovilja att kriminalisera rasistiska organisationer},
  year         = {2014},
}