Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape, including spousal rape and domestic violence, are illegal, and the government enforced the law effectively. Penalties range from two to 10 years in prison.
Authorities apprehended and prosecuted abusers in most cases of domestic violence reported to them.
The law provides for protection of survivors from contact with their abusers. When necessary, authorities helped survivors protect their identities or obtain new identities and homes. Both national and local governments helped fund volunteer groups that provided shelter and other assistance for abused women.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Honor-related violence often involved immigrants from the Middle East or South Asia.In July the Swedish Prison and Probation Services estimated that 97 persons were in prison for committing honor-related violence.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment and provides for criminal penalties from a fine to up to two years in prison. The government generally enforced this law.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: Women have the same legal status and rights as men, including under family, religious, personal status, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance law. The law requires equal pay for equal work. Women were underrepresented in high-ranking positions in both the public and the private sectors (see section 7.d.).
Gender-based discrimination in access to credit, owning or managing a business, and access to education and housing is prohibited and was not commonly reported.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. Children born in the country, regardless of their parents’ citizenship and status in the country, were registered immediately in the tax authority’s population register.
Child Abuse: Child abuse existed. The law prohibits parents or other caretakers from abusing children mentally or physically. Authorities may remove abused children from their homes and place them in foster care. The children’s ombudsman published a number of reports and publications for children and those working to protect children from abuse.
Early and Forced Marriage: The minimum age of marriage is 18, and it is illegal for anyone under 18 to marry. The law allows no exceptions.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law criminalizes “contact with children under 15 for sexual purposes,” including internet contact intended to lead to sexual assault. Penalties range from fines to one year in prison. The law prohibits the sale of children; penalties range from two to 10 years in prison. It also bans child pornography with penalties ranging from fines to six years in prison. Authorities enforced the law. The minimum age for consensual sex is 15.
Displaced Children: Stockholm Police reported that underage children, mainly from Morocco, Algeria, and other countries in North Africa, were living on the streets. Many children sought asylum in the country, but authorities considered only a much smaller number as qualifying for asylum. Social Services offered accommodation for children or foster families regardless of asylum status, but many were stuck in a criminal lifestyle. Because in many cases the juveniles’ countries of origin were unwilling to accept them back due to their criminal record, they could not be deported.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
Leaders of the Jewish community estimated there were 20,000 to 30,000 Jews in the country and approximately 6,000 registered members of Jewish congregations. The NCCP registered 182 anti-Semitic crimes in 2016, compared with 277 in 2015, a decrease of approximately 34 percent. Anti-Semitic crimes included threats, verbal abuse, vandalism, graffiti, and harassment in schools. Anti-Semitic incidents were often associated with events in the Middle East and the actions of the Israeli government, and Swedish Jews were at times blamed for Israeli policies.
The most common forms of anti-Semitism were unlawful threats/harassment (49 percent of complaints), hate speech (27 percent), defamation (5 percent), and vandalism/graffiti (10 percent). Ten violent anti-Semitic hate crimes were reported in 2016, an increase from eight such crimes in 2015. Authorities initiated an investigation in 58 percent of the complaints of anti-Semitism reported in 2015; 37 percent were directly dismissed due to lack of evidence. Formal charges were brought in only 4 percent of the cases.
On September 30, an estimated 500 supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) marched through Gothenburg. The original route was supposed to pass a downtown synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, but a court changed the route after local protests. Participants in a counterprotest of approximately 10,000 persons clashed with the NRM supporters and police. Some NRM members attempted to break through police lines. Police arrested 22 NRM supporters and one counterdemonstrator. The Jewish community expressed appreciation for the robust police presence and reported they were not affected by the disturbances.
Police, politicians, media, and Jewish groups have stated that anti-Semitism has been especially prevalent in Malmo. The Simon Wiesenthal Center left in place its travel warning, first issued in 2010, regarding travel in southern Sweden, because Jews in Malmo could be “subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment.”
In April the Jewish Association in Umea ended its activities and closed the center following neo-Nazi threats. The small association with approximately 50 members received threatening emails, and its buildings were painted with swastikas and the phrase, “we know where you live.” A car connected to the association was also vandalized. Local authorities and police held a meeting with the center to see if they could find a new venue, but representatives chose to close since their members did not feel safe. Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman called what happened in Umea “completely unacceptable.”
In September unknown persons threw stones at the windows of the Malmo synagogue and broke the outer glass. The incident was classified as destruction of property and a hate crime.
In response to international events, on December 8 and 9, protesters at demonstrations in Malmo shouted “shoot all the Jews” and “the Jews should remember that Mohammed’s army will return.” Malmo Mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh condemned the statements. On December 9, an estimated 10-20 persons threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue in Gothenburg. The incendiaries did not ignite the building, and nobody was hurt. Police later arrested three individuals in connection with the attack; the investigation continued. Government officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister, condemned the attack. On December 11, unknown assailants threw two Molotov cocktails at a building in the old Jewish cemetery in Malmo. Nobody was injured, and a police investigation was continuing.
The government allocated 10 million kronor ($1.2 million) to increase security for places of worship during the year. All religious communities may apply for the grant.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency continued to cooperate with religious communities on a national level to promote dialogue and prevent conflicts leading to anti-Semitic incidents. It continued to train police officers to detect hate crimes and visited high schools to raise awareness of such crimes and encourage more victims to report abuses. The government made available information in several languages for victims of hate crimes and provided interpreters to facilitate reporting. Police hate-crime officers operated throughout the country.
The Living History Forum, a public authority commissioned to work with problems related to tolerance, democracy, and human rights using the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity as its starting point, continued to sensitize the public, and particularly the young, to the need to respect the equal value of all persons, with a specific focus on teaching about the Holocaust as a means of fighting Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities and prohibits universities from discriminating against students with disabilities in making admission decisions. The law protects, and the government effectively enforced, the right to access to health care and other public services.
Adequate accessibility for persons with disabilities is required by law: Government regulations require full accessibility for new buildings, and similar requirements exist for public facilities. Observers reported cases of insufficient access to privately owned buildings used by the public, such as apartments, restaurants, and bars. Many buildings and some means of public transportation remained inaccessible.
The law recognizes Sami (formerly known as Lapps), Swedish Finns, Tornedalers, Roma, and Jews as national minorities. Societal discrimination and violence against immigrants and Roma continued to be problems during the year.
Police registered reports of xenophobic crimes, some of which were linked to neo-Nazi or white power ideology. Police investigated and the district attorney’s office prosecuted race-related crimes. Official estimates placed the number of active neo-Nazis and white supremacists at 1,500. Neo-Nazi groups operated legally, but courts have held that it is illegal to wear xenophobic symbols or racist paraphernalia or to display signs and banners with inflammatory symbols at rallies, since the law prohibits incitement of hatred against ethnic groups.
On July 7, three men with ties to the neo-Nazi NRM were sentenced to up to eight-and-a-half years in prison for bomb attacks in western Sweden in November 2016 at a left-wing bookstore, and in January at an asylum center and for an attempted bombing of a second asylum center. One man was seriously injured in the asylum center attack. Two of the men received paramilitary training in Russia, according to the verdict.
On September 17, approximately 50 individuals from the NRM marched in Gothenburg without a permit. It is not illegal to demonstrate without a permit. Police surveilled the demonstration, but did not interrupt it.
A majority of the Roma lived as socially excluded outcasts. Perpetrators of nonviolent hate crimes usually worked in the service sector or were unknown to the victim. The Red Cross estimated that 4,700 “vulnerable EU citizens,” the vast majority of whom were Roma from Romania and Bulgaria, resided in the country in abject poverty at any given time. As EU citizens, they are allowed to stay in the country without permission for up to three months, but authorities did not enforce this limit.
In April a verdict by the appeals court determined that 11 Romani persons who had been registered in the database and had filed a lawsuit against the government had been subjected to a severe violation by being registered purely on the basis of their ethnicity.
The approximately 20,000 Sami in the country are full citizens with the right to vote in elections and participate in the government, including as members of the country’s parliament. They are not, however, represented as a group in parliament. A 31-member elected administrative authority called the Sami parliament (Sametinget) also represented Sami. The Sami parliament acted as an advisory body to the government and had limited decision-making powers in matters related to preserving the Sami culture, language, and schooling. The national parliament and government regulations governed the Sami parliament’s operations.
Longstanding tensions between the Sami and the government over land and natural resources persisted, as did tensions between the Sami and private landowners over reindeer grazing rights. Certain Sami have grazing and fishing rights, depending on their tribal history.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Antidiscrimination laws exist, apply to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals, and were enforced. There were isolated incidents of societal violence and discrimination against persons perceived to be LGBTI.
The NCCP reported 550 hate crimes based on sexual orientation and 80 reports of transphobic hate crimes. On July 22, a group of 15 far-right extremists, some from the right-extremist organization Nordic Youth, briefly halted a pride parade in Ostermalm. Police quickly led the group away without arrest, and the parade resumed.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
In 2016 the NCCP identified 6,415 police reports with a hate crime motive, a majority with xenophobic motives.