MFA launches 135 human rights reports
On 26 April, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) presented 135 new country reports on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The reports are available (in Swedish) on the Government website.
The MFA has been presenting public country reports on human rights since the beginning of the 2000s. The reports are an important part of the MFA’s broad efforts in this area but they are also used by government agencies, companies and civil society organisations, and in education and training.
Not surprisingly, the reports show enormous differences between countries. However, overall, the previous positive trend in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law has unfortunately stalled in many parts of the world It is unclear whether this is a reversal in the trend or just a temporary dip.
In many countries, the space for civil society is shrinking, due among other things to registration requirements and bans on foreign financing.
Discrimination against women and violence against women are both widespread. Many countries restrict women’s rights, including to property, inheritance and divorce.
Concerning democratic elections too, the reports show many worrying examples of countries where general elections are a chimera. In extreme cases, political parties are banned and political opposition is regarded as treason.
In many places, the rule of law is violated by the politicisation of courts. Corruption and nepotism are commonplace.
“We bear a particular responsibility to draw attention to and help those whose voices otherwise risk being silenced. It is our duty, but it is also in our interest, because working for human rights, democracy and the rule of law helps to create a more secure world,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.