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 labor 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 protect your participation and right to exert an influence. 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 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 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 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 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.
Our work with human rights
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 rightsholders. 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.
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.
During 2016, two of the UN’s audit bodies assessed Sweden. Both the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights were involved in the audit.
The County Administrative Board has acknowledged and addressed the conclusions in a publication, which translated to English would be called Speaking of Human Rights. The publication presents recommendations concerning regional and local authorities in relation to public data from the different counties.
The publication can be found here:
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.
The Swedish Government’s special website for human rights, which 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.
The Swedish Equality Ombudsman’s website, where 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 Ombudsman for Children’s website, where 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 Swedish Agency for Participation’s website, where you can find information on societal participation. 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 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.