Anna Karin Lindblom, Inquiry Chair, summarises her personal take on the added value of the new Swedish institute, using a 5C-model encompassing comprehensiveness, continuity, competence, coordination, credibility.
With the new institute, we will get a complete and comprehensive overview including a solid system for addressing all human rights. The institute’s mandate covers all of Sweden’s human rights obligations; international and national.
No other actor in Sweden has had this particular role of getting a holistic perspective of the human rights situation in Sweden. Getting an overview will bekey. There are other actors that partly overlap with the role of the institute, e.g. the different Ombudsmen. The new institute, the Swedish NHRI, will make sure to see the full picture. This way, the institute can contribute to a consistent interpretation of human rights instruments in Sweden. It will be able to analyse how rights and instruments relate to each other in the Swedish context. A comprehensive approach to Sweden’s human rights obligations may be particularly important for cross-cutting perspectives that are to be mainstreamed through the different human rights instruments, such as for instance the rights of people with disabilities, gender equality, or non-discrimination.
The fact that the mandate of the Human Rights Institute is based on a law – adopted by Parliament – will hopefully pave the way for continuity and stability in Sweden’s national work for human rights. Even though it has been a long way before the Institute could be established, and even though there have been different views on how best to organise its creation, once the Institute has been established, it will most likely remain a stable structure. It is an advantage that Sweden will have a permanent actor with a broad human rights mandate in place, adding to more specific, temporary assignments and projects.
Continuity is crucial, since neither human rights nor democracy can be conquered once and for all. We must work with it on a regular basis; tiressly and continuously.
The new institute will gather knowledge and develop competence within human rights, obligations, instruments. It will also, out of a broad perspective, learn about their implementation in Sweden. This may make fruitful synergies possible and will likely create a fertile soil for creating even deeper knowledge. As the institute strengthens its knowledge, it will be able to attract new and relevant competence.
Human rights is a wide and complicated area with many different and cross-cutting aspects and perspectives. For rights to be implemented, many actors also need to be involved. Hence, there is a need for coordination and mainstreaming.
The role of the new institute will is not to coordinate other authorities and actors. But, since it will gather information on what various actors are doing, identify gaps to provide an overview and make suggestions to the government; it will, in practice, most likely fulfil some sort of coordinating role.
Sweden as a country aims to be a firm and proud defender of human rights.
Therefore, it needs its own stable structure for human rights in place on the national level, in accordance with the Paris Principles, as well as in line with other international recommendations that Sweden has received and accepted several times.
The fact Sweden now establishes atHuman Rights Institute is therefore an important step, for Sweden but also for the international community.