#SwedenForAll: joint anti-racist statement

We live in turbulent times of increased migration and violent expressions of racism. We, the undersigned, wish to see a clear and broad political recognition of racism as a social problem, and call on the government and all political parties in the country to develop comprehensive actions against it.

The following should be obvious. Racism must be acknowledged to be combated. Nationalism has no place in a consistently democratic society characterised by diversity. In a democratic society respect for human dignity and non-discrimination should be the common bond.

It should no longer be possible to deny racism in a society characterised by racist murders, escalating hate crimes and burning refugee camps. Nor should it be possible to deny that these violent manifestations are symptoms of deeper problems in society, such as discrimination in every area of society and an increasingly sharp stratification and segregation between whites and non-whites.

We cannot be considered as a society that respects human rights, but in practice have different rights and opportunities for people of colour. We cannot eagerly support gender equality, but stick our heads in the sand when it comes to racism.

Let us stop supporting politics that divide us into “us” and “them”. Let us also stop denying that racism and nationalism have deep historical roots in our country. Oppression of the Sami people, Afrophobia, anti-Gypsyism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are not new phenomena.

Sweden also needs to face up to a history of European colonialism. As the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent writes in a new report, what is required is an “education of the entire society, from top to bottom, with Sweden facing up to its colonial past and the legacies of European colonialism more broadly.”

The Swedish State still colonises Sámi. In a recent report by the Sami Parliament to the UN, colonialism is mentioned 55 times in 75 pages. Exploitation is mentioned 54 times, discrimination 29 times and racism 22 times. The Government and Parliament should set up a truth commission for the full recognition of the oppression of the Sami as soon as possible, which results in comprehensive measures to repair the damage caused.

Overall, breaking the patterns of racism, discrimination and marginalisation that we find in Sweden today requires comprehensive policy measures. After countless studies and official state reports, we can no longer say that there is a lack of knowledge.

We demand that the Government and all political parties take account of, and intensify, anti-racism work on a level with gender equality. It is good that the new government claims to be feminist. Considering the impact of racism on black and brown women’s lives and on our country at large it should also be anti-racist.

The new state budget for 2016 invests 1 billion Swedish crowns in gender equality. While racism and related forms of intolerance, including discrimination against LGBT people and support for anti-discrimination agencies, receives 50 million.

The government writes in the budget that the work to combat racism will be intensified and include “a national plan as the basis for a long-term and results-oriented effort.”

However, for this national plan against racism and hate crimes, the government has merely earmarked a total of 20 million over a four year period 2016-2019. This is hardly a big investment. Not least since racism in Sweden as in other European countries is one of the greatest threats to democracy and its two pillars, equality and non-discrimination.

We, the undersigned, therefore require:

– That all parties in Parliament recognise racism as a societal problem and develop comprehensive programmes to combat it.

– That the issue of racism be treated as equally important to gender equality in the public sector and working life in general – for example in terms of resources to state agencies, institutions and civil society organisations as well as positive action measures in employment.

– That the Government, together with a broad coalition of civil society organisations and relevant experts, develop an ambitious National Action Plan against Racial Discrimination in accordance with UN guidelines for such action plans.

Recognition of racism, comprehensive political measures against it and that we all embody the foundational values of our democracy is crucial for Sweden’s future and a society with equal rights and opportunities.

Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund
Antidiskrimineringsbyrån Helsingborg
Antirasistiska akademin
Black Coffee
Byrån för lika rättigheter
Centralförbundet Roma International
Centrum mot rasism
Civil Rights Defenders
Diskrimineringsbyrån Uppsala
Ensamkommandes förbund
English International Association i Lund
Fight Racism Now (FRN)
FN förbundet i Malmö
Förbundet Hassela Solidaritet
Föreningen Tryck
Guatemalanska föreningen i Lund
Göteborgs rättighetscenter
Hassela Ungdomsrörelsen
Ibn Rushd studieförbund
Kurdiska federationen paraply
Landsförbundet svenska samer
Malmö jämställdhetsbyrå
Malmö mot diskriminering
Malmös minoriteter för solidaritet och rättvisa
Mångkulturellt centrum
Nätverket antirasister i Uppsala
Organisation for Poverty Alleviation and Development (OPAD)
Orten i Fokus
Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights
Revolution Poetry
Roma filmfestival
Roma institutet
Romano Pasos Research Center
Romarådet i Helsingborg
Romer för kulturell utveckling
Romska rådet i Göteborg
Romskt kunskaps- och informationscenter i Malmö
Riksförbundet Romer i Europa
Rörelsen gatans röst och ansikte
Samarbetsorgan för etniska organisationer i Sverige (SIOS)
Staden är din
Svenska muslimer för fred och rättvisa
Sveriges unga muslimer
Ungdom mot rasism
Örebro rättighetscenter

Link to the call in Swedish


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