UN Report Slams Sweden Over Treatment of Samis

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James Anaya, the UN special reporter on the human rights of indigenous people. Photo: Radio SwedenListen: {play}/media/jukebox/rs-un-report.

A United Nations report on the human rights situation of Sweden’s indigenous Sami population, stretching over northern Norway, Sweden and Finland has sharply criticised the country for not respecting Sami rights.

James Anaya, the UN special reporter on the human rights of indigenous people, said more needed to be done to ensure the Sami’s – and particularly reindeer herders – have more say over land use when large windfarm projects are being decided. He also said the Sami Parliament in Kiruna should be granted greater powers and that more attention needed to be paid to recruiting Sami speaking teachers.

The UN has previously criticised Sweden for refusing to sign the UN convention of the rights of indigenous peoples, and for a lack of support for Sami language and culture – even though Sami is one of Sweden’s official minority languages.

James Anaya, the UN special reporter on the human rights of indigenous people has criticised Sweden for not doing more the respect the rights of the country’s indigenous Sami population. This is the first time that the UN report has been complied by top-level experts on the rights of indigenous peoples, who travelled to the three Nordic countries which span the Sami’s traditional territory.

While Sweden’s Nordic neighbors have signed the UN convention, Swedish governments have argued this would anger the non-Sami residents of the north – fearing that the Samis would be given too many privileges.

Members of the Sami Parliament have rejected arguments that they would demand half of the nation on the grounds of earlier treaties signed by Swedish kings in centuries gone by.

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