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Sweden: Human rights situation of people of African descent to be assessed in UN expert group visit

GENEVA (27 November 2014) – The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent will conduct its first-ever official visit to Sweden from 1 to 5 December 2014 to study the human rights situation of people of African descent in the country.

The UN expert group will assess the situation of both Swedish-born and migrant people of African descent living in Sweden, and gather information on any forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, afrophobia and related intolerance faced by people of African descent. The experts will study the measures taken to prevent racial discrimination and protect victims of racism and hate crimes, as well as mechanisms for the protection, integration and inclusion of migrants and refugees and responses to multiple forms of discrimination that specific groups of African descent may face.

“The Working Group sees the visit as a unique opportunity to learn more about the situation in Sweden, to meet all stakeholders and to provide observations and concrete recommendations to fight racism,” Working Group Chairperson Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France said. “We will focus on both good practices and challenges faced in realising the fundamental rights of people of African descent in Sweden.”

Working Group members, including Fanon-Mendes-France, Sabelo Gumedze and Verene Shepherd will travel to Stockholm, Malmö and Lund, and meet representatives of the Government, relevant communities, NGOs and other civil society institutions working on issues of racism and discrimination and afrophobia.

At the end of their mission, on 5 December, the experts will share their preliminary findings during a press conference at the Press Centre of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm at 14.00. The Working Group will present a report containing its findings and recommendations to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015.


The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. The Working Group is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Ms. Mireille FANON-MENDES-FRANCE (France); Chair-Rapporteur; Ms. Verene SHEPHERD (Jamaica); Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa); Mr. Ricardo A. SUNGA III (the Philippines) and Mr. Michal BALCERZAK (Poland). Learn more, visit:

The UN human rights experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights Country Page: Sweden http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/SEIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Christina Saunders, (+41 22 928 9197 / csaunders@ohchr.org) or write to africandescent@ohchr.org

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