Advanced

Sami Impact on Decision-making in Sweden - an analysis of present possibilities for participation and consultation in relation to international obligations

Holmgren, Nanna LU (2019) JURM02 20191
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The traditional territory of the indigenous Sami people stretches into Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. Sami culture is strongly connected to reindeer husbandry, which requires vast and coherent land where the reindeer can access natural pasture without disturbances. This thesis examines present possibilities for Sami in Sweden to impact decision-making processes regarding use of land and natural resources within their traditional territory, as well as analyses these possibilities in relation to Sweden’s international obligations regarding Sami self-determination.

Self-determination is widely acknowledged as customary international law and is therefore binding for all states. Self-determination entails a right for indigenous peoples... (More)
The traditional territory of the indigenous Sami people stretches into Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. Sami culture is strongly connected to reindeer husbandry, which requires vast and coherent land where the reindeer can access natural pasture without disturbances. This thesis examines present possibilities for Sami in Sweden to impact decision-making processes regarding use of land and natural resources within their traditional territory, as well as analyses these possibilities in relation to Sweden’s international obligations regarding Sami self-determination.

Self-determination is widely acknowledged as customary international law and is therefore binding for all states. Self-determination entails a right for indigenous peoples to self-government in internal and local affairs, as well as a right to participate in decision-making regarding matters that affect them. The right to participation has given rise to a duty for states to conduct good faith consultations with indigenous peoples in order to obtain their agreement or consent. The duty is well-established in international law, but it is disputed whether or not consent is required in order to proceed in the matter. The principle of FPIC has gradually evolved within international law over the last 20 years. The principle is particularly important in relation to control over land and natural resources. It has been argued that the principle is an essential part of the right to self-determination, as projects in indigenous peoples’ territories impede on their right to decide their own priorities.

At the time of writing, Sweden does not have a special order of consultation with the Sami. After repeated criticism from several international human right bodies during the last 15 – 20 years, Sweden appointed two separate investigations in order to investigate the question regarding consultation. Proposals were made in 2009 and 2017, but none of them has led to any legislative additions or amendments due to extensive critique from various remittance instances. This means that the Sami have to rely on other mechanisms for participation and consultation in various legislative acts and other regulations. The analysis demonstrates that the mechanisms provide possibilities for impact on decision-making processes regarding use of land and natural resources to some extent. However, these opportunities are not secure or sufficient enough to ensure the Sami right to participation and fulfil Sweden’s duty to consult them. Therefore, my conclusion is that Sweden does not fulfil its international obligations towards the Sami. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Den samiska ursprungsbefolkningens traditionella territorium breder ut sig över delar av Sverige, Norge, Finland och Ryssland. Samisk kultur är starkt kopplad till rennäringen, som kräver vidsträckta och sammanhängande marker där renen ostörd kan få tillgång till naturbete. Den här uppsatsen undersöker nuvarande möjligheter för samer i Sverige att påverka beslutsprocesser rörande användning av mark och naturresurser inom deras traditionella territorium, samt analyserar dessa möjligheter i relation till Sveriges internationella skyldigheter gällande samiskt självbestämmande. Rätten till självbestämmande är allmänt erkänd som internationell sedvanerätt och därför bindande för alla stater. För ursprungsbefolkningar innebär rätten till... (More)
Den samiska ursprungsbefolkningens traditionella territorium breder ut sig över delar av Sverige, Norge, Finland och Ryssland. Samisk kultur är starkt kopplad till rennäringen, som kräver vidsträckta och sammanhängande marker där renen ostörd kan få tillgång till naturbete. Den här uppsatsen undersöker nuvarande möjligheter för samer i Sverige att påverka beslutsprocesser rörande användning av mark och naturresurser inom deras traditionella territorium, samt analyserar dessa möjligheter i relation till Sveriges internationella skyldigheter gällande samiskt självbestämmande. Rätten till självbestämmande är allmänt erkänd som internationell sedvanerätt och därför bindande för alla stater. För ursprungsbefolkningar innebär rätten till självbestämmande en rätt till självstyre i interna och lokala
angelägenheter, samt en rätt att delta i beslutsprocesser i frågor som rör dem.

Rätten till deltagande har gett upphov till en skyldighet för stater att
genomföra konsultationer i god tro med ursprungsbefolkningar för att nå
överenskommelse eller erhålla samtycke. Skyldigheten är väletablerad inom
internationell rätt, men det är omdiskuterat huruvida samtycke krävs för att processen ska kunna fortskrida. Principen om fritt och informerat
förhandssamtycke har gradvis utvecklats inom internationell rätt de senaste 20 åren. Fritt och informerat förhandssamtycke är särskilt viktigt i relation till kontroll över mark och naturresurser. Det har argumenterats för att principen är en nödvändig del av rätten till självbestämmande eftersom utvecklingsprojekt inom ursprungsbefolkningars traditionella territorier inskränker deras rätt att bestämma sina egna prioriteringar.

I skrivande stund har Sverige ingen speciell konsultationsordning med samer. Efter upprepad kritik från flera internationella organ för mänskliga rättigheter under de senaste 15 – 20 åren har Sverige i två omgångar tillsatt utredningar som granskat konsultationsfrågan. Förslag lämnades år 2009 respektive år 2017, men på grund av omfattande kritik från olika remissinstanser har inget av förslagen lett till några legislativa tillägg eller ändringar. Således är samerna hänvisade till mekanismer för deltagande och konsultation som är spridda över flertalet lagar och andra regleringar. Sammanfattningsvis visar analysen att dessa mekanismer erbjuder vissa möjligheter för samerna att påverka beslutsprocesser rörande användning av mark och naturresurser, men att dessa inte är tillräckligt tillförlitliga eller långtgående för att säkerställa samernas rätt till deltagande och uppfylla Sveriges skyldighet att konsultera dem. Av detta drar jag slutsatsen att Sverige inte uppfyller sina internationella skyldigheter gentemot samerna. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Holmgren, Nanna LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20191
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
international law, indigenous people, Sami people
language
English
id
8977514
date added to LUP
2019-06-11 17:26:24
date last changed
2019-06-11 17:26:24
@misc{8977514,
  abstract     = {The traditional territory of the indigenous Sami people stretches into Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. Sami culture is strongly connected to reindeer husbandry, which requires vast and coherent land where the reindeer can access natural pasture without disturbances. This thesis examines present possibilities for Sami in Sweden to impact decision-making processes regarding use of land and natural resources within their traditional territory, as well as analyses these possibilities in relation to Sweden’s international obligations regarding Sami self-determination. 

Self-determination is widely acknowledged as customary international law and is therefore binding for all states. Self-determination entails a right for indigenous peoples to self-government in internal and local affairs, as well as a right to participate in decision-making regarding matters that affect them. The right to participation has given rise to a duty for states to conduct good faith consultations with indigenous peoples in order to obtain their agreement or consent. The duty is well-established in international law, but it is disputed whether or not consent is required in order to proceed in the matter. The principle of FPIC has gradually evolved within international law over the last 20 years. The principle is particularly important in relation to control over land and natural resources. It has been argued that the principle is an essential part of the right to self-determination, as projects in indigenous peoples’ territories impede on their right to decide their own priorities.

At the time of writing, Sweden does not have a special order of consultation with the Sami. After repeated criticism from several international human right bodies during the last 15 – 20 years, Sweden appointed two separate investigations in order to investigate the question regarding consultation. Proposals were made in 2009 and 2017, but none of them has led to any legislative additions or amendments due to extensive critique from various remittance instances. This means that the Sami have to rely on other mechanisms for participation and consultation in various legislative acts and other regulations. The analysis demonstrates that the mechanisms provide possibilities for impact on decision-making processes regarding use of land and natural resources to some extent. However, these opportunities are not secure or sufficient enough to ensure the Sami right to participation and fulfil Sweden’s duty to consult them. Therefore, my conclusion is that Sweden does not fulfil its international obligations towards the Sami.},
  author       = {Holmgren, Nanna},
  keyword      = {international law,indigenous people,Sami people},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Sami Impact on Decision-making in Sweden - an analysis of present possibilities for participation and consultation in relation to international obligations},
  year         = {2019},
}