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Responsible business practices, Internet freedom and human rights

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has launched a new paper about enhancing Internet freedom and human rights through responsible business practices. The paper aims to stimulate collective action in relation to protecting and enhancing human rights, focusing on the freedom of expression on the Internet through responsible business practices. It lays out the challenges and opportunities involved in paving the way ahead. It draws on existing work, looks at some dilemmas the ICT sector faces and the guidance already available to businesses.

Sweden, a Nation of the Internet and a Nation of Freedom

18-19 April the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) and Sida are organising the first ever Stockholm Internet Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development - SIF12 - an international conference on the role of internet freedom in global development. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is hosting the conference.

Swedish ODA highest in world in 2011

Sweden tops the list of the world's largest aid donors in 2011, measured as a proportion of GNI. Newly released statistics from the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) also show that the economic crisis caused a decline in global aid volumes in 2011.

"Sweden coped well with the economic downturn and, unlike many other countries, was able to maintain a high level of aid to poor countries," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson. "I will continue to streamline Swedish aid to ensure that our contributions really produce results."

Yaron Reuveni, Counsellor and Consul at the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm, and Andreas Rosenblad, MFA Protocol Department. Photo: MFA

Diplomatic Portal - a means of making information available

"The Diplomatic Portal is a good way for us to make much of the extensive information we have available to foreign embassies, career consulates and international organisations in Sweden," says Andreas Rosenblad, the MFA Protocol Department's webmaster of the Diplomatic Portal on the MFA website.

Ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Committee. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

UN Human Rights Committee concludes its session in New York

The 104th session of the UN Human Rights Committee, which has been under way in New York from 12-30 March 2012, will conclude tomorrow. The Human Rights Committee is one of the UN convention bodies, and is tasked with monitoring whether countries comply with their commitments under the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Gustaf Lind is Sweden's Arctic Ambassador and currently the Chair of the Arctic Council. Photo: Hanna Björnfors/MFA

Arctic Council negotiations in Stockholm

Today, during Stockholm Polar Week, the Arctic Council meeting opened with nearly to 180 representatives from the member states, indigenous peoples and working groups present. Sweden is currently the Chair of the Arctic Council, and is hosting the meeting held at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm. During today's session, the council decided to adopt the proposed communication strategy that has been developed by the Swedish Chairmanship.

Carl Bildt travels to Beirut for political discussions

Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt will visit Lebanon on 28 March. Mr Bildt will meet Prime Minister Najib Mikati and UN representatives. Topics of discussion will include how Lebanon and the region are affected by the situation in Syria.

Gunilla Carlsson at the press conference. Photo: Jenny Häggmark/MFA

Gunilla Carlsson held press conference on humanitarian situation in Syria

Yesterday, 26 March, Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson called a press conference on the humanitarian situation in Syria. At the end of last week, Ms Carlsson visited Turkey, where she met representatives of the Syrian opposition in Istanbul. The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate and there are major humanitarian needs in several areas. During the press conference, Ms Carlsson talked about Swedish involvement in the region.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt arrives at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, to attend the Nuclear Security Summit. Photo: Yonhap/NSS

Swedish plutonium to United States for final disposal

Swedish plutonium has recently been transported to the United States for final disposal. The material will be taken care of in the framework of the US non-proliferation programme Global Threat Reduction. The partners in the programme include the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and countries such as the US, the UK and Russia. A total of just over three kilogrammes of reprocessed plutonium is involved.

The UN Human Rights Council. Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary from the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council

The 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which has been assembled for four weeks since 27 February, ended on friday. The agenda has covered many highly topical issues regarding human rights around the world.