CIVICUS

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Sweden

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Last updated on 06.06.2019 at 14:19

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 Two activists linked to the band “Pussy Riot” to receive asylum in Sweden

Two activists linked to the band “Pussy Riot” to receive asylum in Sweden

Lusine Djanyan and Alexey Knedlyakovsky, two activists linked to the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, have received asylum status in Sweden.

Association

Lusine Djanyan and Alexey Knedlyakovsky, two activists linked to the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, have received asylum status in Sweden. The activists claim to have been receiving death threats and to have been exposed to “politically motivated” harassment. The asylum claim was filed in 2017 but it was first denied in 2018 by the Swedish immigration authorities. After appealing the 2018 ruling, the activists have now been granted asylum in 2019.

Djanyan told the Swedish broadcaster SVT: 

"I am happy that my children will grow up in safety, especially considering the developments at home".

Association

Freedom of association is guaranteed by law and in practice. Everyone, individuals and legal persons, national and non-national, can freely exercise the right to form and join associations, foundations and other types of non-governmental organisations to attain a particular objective.

Freedom of association is guaranteed by law and in practice. Everyone, individuals and legal persons, national and non-national, can freely exercise the right to form and join associations, foundations and other types of non-governmental organisations to attain a particular objective. There is no law regulating the existence or operations of non-profit associations. These operations are entirely guided by self-observed good practice. The requirements to register and operate an organisation are minimal and proportionate to the size and scope of activities of the organisation. Registration is not mandatory, unless the value of an association's financial dealings is over a certain tax registration threshold. If the association wishes to have an organisational ID number, which can be useful in contacts with authorities and to access funding, it will also need to register with tax authorities. The establishment of a foundation requires registration but rules allow for easy and swift procedures. There are no practices of invasive supervisory oversight by governmental entities. Civil society organisations operate independently without state interference in their internal governance and activities, both inside and outside the country. Organisations can seek and secure financial resources, including from foreign sources, and there are no restrictions on joining international networks or federations.


Peaceful Assembly

The rights to assemble and protest are constitutionally protected. These rights may be limited only as prescribed by law, mainly on the grounds of public order and safety and only if necessary and proportionate.

The rights to assemble and protest are constitutionally protected. These rights may be limited only as prescribed by law, mainly on the grounds of public order and safety and only if necessary and proportionate. The legal framework establishes that either notification or formal authorisation for public assemblies is needed depending on the type of event. Prior authorisation is required for most of the cases and a week notice must be given to the police. Any restriction can be appealed to administrative courts. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen, who considers the issues relating to facilitation and protection of public assemblies, raised a number of concerns regarding the police conduct in moving protestors to a different location, halting protests without legal justification and terminating assemblies based on incidents of violence with some participants without first taking action against those individuals, for example in situations of counter-assemblies. Media is guaranteed access to public assemblies. Freedom of assembly has been in the news lately with demonstrations of far-right activists. Two incidents were reported in January 2016, one involving the attack by far-right demonstrators against onlookers and another one on the conduct of police during a non-authorised demonstration. In February, a man was shot during a pro-Kurdish demonstration.

Expression

The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by the law and practice. It may be subject to restrictions under the hate-speech laws when statements incite to discrimination or violence. This applies also to online expression.

The right to freedom of expression is guaranteed in law and practice. It may be subject to restrictions under hate-speech laws when statements are designed to incite discrimination or violence. This limitation also applies to online expression and the police now have additional powers to identify internet users in order to combat online hate crimes. Internet service providers are also subject to data retention requirements for the purpose of helping the police to track down criminal suspects online. Media are independent and diverse. Most are privately owned. The Swedish law offers a sound protection to media under the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766 and the Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression of 1991. There are no cases reported where individuals were persecuted for critical speech. A recent poll showed that one third of the journalists had felt threatened in the last year. The Swedish Minister of Culture and Media called a meeting in April this year to discuss threats and violence against journalists, and announced a national action plan on press freedom. Recent events contributed to triggering a debate on where the limits to freedom of expression should be set, in particular when religion and immigration are concerned.