Human rights

The County Administrative Board systematically applies a human rights-based approach and we work with human rights in our operations. We also provide support for other actors working with human rights.

As a resident you have the right to be treated respectfully in your contacts with employees of the Municipality or other authorities. If someone in your surroundings is threatening you, you can request protection from the police, the social services or another authority. Your opinions should be represented in political assemblies and you should be able to expect the elimination of any obstacle to your equal participation in society, in education or on the labour market.

In other words, human rights will be respected, protected and realized. This is a prerequisite for you to be able to maintain your integrity, use your ability to act and claim your worth on equal terms with the rest of the population.

Political rights

Political rights protect your participation. You have the right to form an opinion and express it. You have the right to practice any religion and belief, or to waive to practice a religion. You have the right to participate in associations and networks. You have the right to protest and to participate in societal development. You have the right to gather information. You have the right to vote in general elections and to run as a candidate for any elected office.

Civil rights

Civil rights protect your personal security and integrity. You have the right to not be deprived of your liberty through illegal detainment, non-consensual medication or other intrusions of your personal integrity. You have the right to have your case tried in court and to not be treated as guilty to a crime unless proven so. You have the right to address complaints against those who expose you to abuse. You should be allowed to move freely within the country’s borders.

Economic rights

Economic rights protect your economic life. You have the right to work and receive wages under fair, safe and healthy conditions. You have the right to unionize and to receive social benefits in case of illness, injury, disability, unemployment, or parental leave. No matter income, you have the right to a decent standard of living. This entails a secure access to basic supplies, such as food, water, housing, heat, clothes, and more.

Social rights

Social rights protect your ability to act socially. For example, you have the right to the highest attainable standard of health. You should be protected from harmful and toxic substances in our nature, receive health care and benefit from public health promotion programs concerning abuse, tuberculosis, widespread forms of cancer, and more. You also have the right to a safe family life and, as a child, you have the right to be protected from any kind of abuse and exploitation.

Cultural rights

Cultural rights protect your cultural identity. You have the right to a basic education in elementary school. You shall not be excluded from further education based on false cause. Education should encourage a spirit of respect for your own and other’s rights. You should be able to celebrate cultural festivities and participate in those customs and practices that you identify with. Authorship and copyrights shall be protected, and as a resident you should be able to benefit from scientific progress and innovation.

Children’s rights

Children’s rights are a specific part of human rights. They emphasize the individual child’s position as a full-fledged inhabitant and owner of rights, with unique opinions, abilities to act, needs and interests. The child’s guardian and societal actors, such as state, municipality, and individual authorities, share the responsibility for the child’s rights.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it is actually called, defines an international minimum standard that applies as law in Sweden since 1 January 2020. According to the convention, the child has a comprehensive right to be protected against discrimination, for example on the basis of their gender, their appearance, their national background or the income level of the household to which the child belongs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child also protects the child's right to express their views. This applies not least when a municipality or an authority plans a decision that affects the child. Then these views must form the basis for an independent assessment of what is in the child's best interest among the decision alternatives at hand. The assessment must also have significance in practice. It must be considered in the first place, meaning it is attributed a decisive interest, during the actual decision-making.

There are other important regulations in the Convention, such has the child’s right to development, the child’s right to protection from all types of violence, and the child’s right to socialize with their parents.

General principles

Everyone has the right to the same rights and protection of rights no matter their gender, age, ethnicity, religion, functional capacity, sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, anyone who feels that their rights have been violated must be able to file a complaint and receive rectification. Children have the right to special protection. In the Convention on the Rights of the Child, this is portrayed as, among other things, the right to individual development, the right to speak, and having one’s interests be placed first, in relation to everything concerning the child. In the same way, special rules regarding rights for people with disabilities. There is also an enhanced protection against racial discrimination, discrimination against women, and again torture in the international regulatory framework

The public responsibility for human rights

All public actors have a common and individual responsibility for ensuring that human rights are respected, protected, and actualized. It is a prerequisite for the inhabitant – or owner of rights – to claim their integrity, use their capability of action, and deem themselves worthy the same equal rights as the rest of the population.

Public responsibility for human rights is enshrined in the form of government and other laws. It is reinforced by Sweden's international commitments, which are regulated in conventions that the Riksdag and the government have acceded to, for the entire public sector.

What do the County Administrative Board do?

We encounter issues concerning your rights in different ways. It happens in regular informational cases or during decision-making in relation to various applications, permits and licenses. It happens in preventive efforts in the social field, for example in our work with violence prevention. It happens in activities aimed to facilitate your everyday life, such as urban planning or integration.

When we encounter issues concerning your rights, we will not take it for granted that you can defend them by yourself, or that you do not face specific obstacles or difficulties. Therefore, it is important to work systematically when it comes to these issues and try to eliminate problems in our activities before they cause any violations of your rights.

The Government has emphasized the County Administrative Board’s crucial role to ensure that human rights gain an impact at regional and local levels. We will always consider human rights in our own activities and at the same time provide support to the municipalities and other actors.

The human rights-based approach

The human rights-based approach is a method used to enable consideration of human rights in ongoing work activities. The method was developed by the UN during the 2000s’ and has gradually spread to various public actors.

The County Administrative Board uses a human rights-based approach in several cases. The approach is simple but based on some essential principles. Firstly, the administrator, or the case officer, at the authority clarifies how the activity is related to human rights issues. Thereafter, the administrator, or case officer, obtains information about the perspective on the issue held by the rights holders. Lastly, the information is analysed and based on the conclusions, the authority applies legally secure means to prevent risks, or counteract existing deficiencies, within the activity area.

The County Administrative Board’s model is built on tried recommendations for systematic implementation of this way of working. The board is responsible for incorporating this manner of working in ordinary board and follow-up routines. A continuous plan for competence development should also be available for managers, strategists, and case managers. The authority should also implement a specialist in this area and give them a big room to act in support and counselling at the authority.

The County Administrative Boards have furthermore developed a general tool for rights-based approaches to work, which aim support the organisation or function who still have not developed their own policy or approach to the matter.

What impact have human rights had in Sweden?

The UN has established an organisation to assess human rights impact on different levels. They assess how well different countries have assumed their public responsibility to implement the human rights in compliance with the declaration of human rights. Every four or five years, assessments are made and lead to opinions and recommendations from the committees regarding national successes, challenges and areas of improvement.

Overview with national, regional and local statistics

During 2023, the County Administrative Board have developed overviews of how Sweden lives up to certain rights. The overviews show the result for each individual county, but also the whole of Sweden. The statistics are presented according to gender, age and birth region for:

  • the right to satisfactory living standards
  • the right to work
  • the right to education.

The purpose of the overviews is to act as a base for dialogue and development within the area, on both a national and regional level.


The County Administrative Board must work to ensure that national goals have an impact in the county. The goal for the government’s democracy policy is a democracy that is alive and persistent, known for its participation and where possibilities for influence is equal.

Information about human rights on other websites

United Nations Human Rights

Website of the UN’s OHCHR on human rights. An extensive, and sometimes demanding, material from the UN on the human rights impact around the world, the UN’s efforts in the area and scores of in-depth information on different human rights themes.

United Nations Human Rights External link.

The Swedish Government

The Swedish Government’s information about human rights includes public data and news, information on Sweden’s national human rights efforts, Sweden’s international commitments, international assessments of Sweden, the Swedish State Department’s reports on human rights impact in other countries, and more.

Democracy and human rights, The Swedish Government External link.

The Swedish Equality Ombudsman

On the Swedish Equality Ombudsman’s website you can find information on The Swedish Discrimination Act, how to file a discrimination complaint as well as information about different methods to prevent discrimination in schools, in work places and in other areas of the society.

The Swedish Equality Ombudsman (DO) External link.

The Swedish Ombudsman for Children

On the Swedish Ombudsman for Children’s website you can find information on the Rights of the Child, data on the various living conditions for children and adolescents, the Ombudsman for Children’s reports on living conditions in Sweden, information from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and more.

The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden External link.

The Swedish Agency for Participation

You can find information on societal participation on the Swedish Agency for Participation’s website. The website also contains a lot of information about public responsibility and effort in accordance the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Swedish Agency for Participation External link.

The Living History Forum

The Living History Forum’s website provides information and educational material on crimes against human rights in modern times, such as the Holocaust, the genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, and more. The website also offers an overview of issues concerning racism in Swedish society, and much more.

The Living History Forum External link.