World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Sweden: Call To Replicate Denmark’s Discriminatory “Anti-Ghetto” Law Is Highly Concerning

Geneva – The Swedish Immigration Minister’s call to put a 50 percent cap on “non-Nordic citizens” in so-called “troubled areas” is a textbook recipe for discrimination, incitement, and counterproductive punitive measures, emanating from political expediency rather than sound policymaking, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement today. The Swedish government must immediately and unconditionally cease any plans of such nature.

On Monday, Sweden’s Immigration Minister Anders Ygeman told local newspaper Dagens Nyheter that districts with a majority of inhabitants from non-Nordic countries (immigrants from countries other than Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, and Norway) are a problem for Sweden. “I think it’s bad to have areas where the majority have a non-Nordic origin”, he told the DN.

As a starting point, the minister suggested a 50 percent limit on concentrations of people with immigrant backgrounds in so-called “troubled areas”. Using the need to acquire Swedish language skills as justification, the minister claimed that it is “hugely more difficult to learn and develop the [Swedish] language” in such areas.

However, this particular rhetoric—regarding the sheer presence of clusters of immigrant populations as the root cause of social problems in these areas—essentially fuels racial prejudice, xenophobia, and intolerance. This line of thinking, in turn, threatens to impede any potential for sound policymaking, as it will entrap Swedish political parties in a cycle of rhetorical competitiveness centered around who would be tougher on the “troubled areas”.

This is a seriously dangerous, slippery slope. Once the Swedish government establishes this discriminatory goal as a legitimate one, the implementation of harshly punitive policies in the name of achieving the goal will likely follow. The singling out of such areas and subsequently making inhabitants feel stigmatized, threatened, vulnerable, and unwelcome—merely for being non-Nordic citizens—is the antithesis of integration.

“It is shameful to see the Swedish government sliding into a populist abyss in which singling out and targeting vulnerable foreigners is used for electoral aims”, said Dr. Ramy Abdu, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor. “Forceful assimilation, coercion, punitive policies, and an approach of ‘toughness’ are never the answer, but rather fuel a negative image of foreigners in society that essentially impedes their integration. Integrating foreigners into the country should be done through offering incentives, creating a welcoming and positive atmosphere, and facilitating their inclusion in society and the labor market”.

In a recent brief report entitled “Disguised Racism”, Euro-Med Monitor examined the alleged merits of Denmark’s “ghetto list” and concluded that since its inception in 2010, the list has been part of the problem and not the solution. In taking into account the flawed and discriminatory criteria that disproportionately target individuals of non-European ethnicities, it is clear that with its heavily punitive and counter-productive policies and very stigmatizing name, the “ghetto list” only fuels existing xenophobia, racial prejudice, and intolerance against vulnerable minorities.

Denmark’s “anti-ghetto law” aims to reduce the number of people of “non-Western origin” in designated “vulnerable areas” to less than 30 percent, through evictions, double punishment, over-policing, and compulsory daycare. The rhetoric involved and the associated policies sow fear, insecurity, mistrust, and resistance among the groups it targets, and stands in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law vis-à-vis the rights to non-discrimination, equality, and adequate housing, as well as the right of equality before the law and equal treatment before tribunals.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Palestinian Ministry of Health: Developments In The Health Situation During The Israeli Aggression On The Cities & Governorates Of The Gaza Strip
For the second day in a row, the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip continues by targeting overcrowded residential areas and neighborhoods, as the death toll rose to 13 citizens, including a 5-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman... More>>

UN: Horn Of Africa Faces Most ‘Catastrophic’ Food Insecurity In Decades, Warns WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday that the Greater Horn of Africa is experiencing one of the worst famines of the last 70 years... More>>

FAO: Warns 90 Per Cent Of Earth’s Topsoil At Risk By 2050
A full 90 per cent of the Earth’s precious topsoil is likely to be at risk by 2050, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO...

Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>

Singapore: UN Experts Call For Immediate Moratorium On Executions For Drug Offences

UN experts* today condemned the execution of Nazeri Bin Lajim, a 64-year-old Malay Singaporean national convicted of drug offenses and urged the Government of Singapore to halt plans to execute individuals on death row for drug related charges... More>>