"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." These are the opening words of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the Swedish Government, the task of strengthening human rights and respect for them has high priority. It is a task we pursue both in our political endeavours in Sweden and in our foreign policy. Human rights issues pervade most of our policy areas.
What are human rights?
The rights contained in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights include, to put it simply,
- fundamental freedoms, such as to hold and express opinions, to practise a religion, to set up or join an organisation or organise meetings
- the right to protection against abuse, for example, the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or subjected to torture
- rights to have basic needs met, for example, the right to an adequate standard of living, to health care and education.
In the fifty or so years since the Universal Declaration was adopted, the rights have been enshrined in a number international conventions. These conventions ensure various rights to the individual vis-ā-vis the State. Sweden has ratified the fundamental human rights conventions, which means we have pledged to respect the rules of the conventions. Swedish foreign policy is also intended to ensure that people in other countries are able to benefit from human rights.
The Government's human rights website
In order to disseminate knowledge on human rights and provide information about Swedens undertakings in this area, the Government has launched a human rights website. It includes further information about the Governments work in the field of human rights in Sweden and in Swedish foreign policy. The website also contains news, conventions, documents, publications and reports on human rights in every country in the world.