National minorities

Key objectives of the measure:
Sweden’s national minorities are the Jews, Roma, Sami (also an indigenous people), Swedish Finns and Tornedalers. The minority languages are Yiddish, Romany Chib, Sami, Finnish and Meänkieli.
In March 2009, the Swedish Government presented a new minority rights strategy in the Government bill From Recognition to Empowerment – the Government’s Strategy for the National Minorities (no. 2008/2009:158). The strategy contains a number of changes to strengthen the rights of national minorities and to raise the ambition level for the implementation of the minority rights policy. The minority policy focuses on the implementation of the minority policy strategy adopted in June 2009.
The objective of the minority policy includes issues related to the protection and support of the national minorities and their long-established minority languages, and aims to strengthen the national minorities’ power to influence and to provide the support needed to keep their languages alive. Empowerment of the national minorities and strengthening of their influence will improve the implementation of the Council of Europe minority Conventions. Improved participation in decision-making will highlight the needs of the minorities and thus raise general awareness in society of national minorities.The languages and cultures of the national minorities are part of the common Swedish cultural heritage. Strengthening the protection of the national minorities is one aspect of Sweden’s work on safeguarding human rights.
Main feature of the measure:
On 1 January 2010, a new Act on National Minorities and Minority Languages entered into force in Sweden. The Act regulates the right of national minorities to participation. It is especially important to facilitate consultation at local level since many decisions affecting individuals are made here. The authorities are to inform national minorities about their rights under to the new Act. The authorities are, for instance, to promote the opportunities of national minorities to preserve and develop their culture in Sweden, as well as children’s possibilities to develop a cultural identity and their minority language.
On 1 July 2009, the Language Act (2009:600) – on the status of the Swedish language, the national minority languages and sign language – was adopted. The Act clarifies that Swedish is the main language in all public activities and that Swedish shall be used in all sectors of society. The Language Act strengthens the status of minority languages and sign language and thus linguistic diversity.
Since 2006, the Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore has had the assignment to develop and promote the value of national minority languages and special funding has been provided for this within the framework of the agencies appropriation.12
The Swedish Arts Council provides activity grants and project grants to promote the languages and cultures of the national minorities. Since 2002, the Swedish Arts Council has special appropriations to promote the languages and cultures of the national minorities. The Swedish Arts Council can also provide support to efforts that promote the publication and distribution of the literature and cultural publications of national minorities.
In 2012 it is 500 years since the Roma’s arrival in Sweden was first noted in the city of Stockholm. The Swedish Arts Council organised a meeting at the beginning of 2012 on Roma culture and history. The meeting addressed cultural operators at national, regional and local level and civil society organisations.
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)