7 Million Reasons to Focus on Detainee Rights in Sweden
We are yet again delighted that the Postcode Lottery has chosen to support Civil Rights Defenders and the National Association for Social and Mental Health’s (RSMH) three-year effort “Locked up – but not without rights” with a donation of 7 million (SEK). This continuing support will enable us to enhance focus on the rights of people in detention in Sweden.
“We are extremely grateful for this amazing support. It gives us a unique opportunity from a human rights perspective to examine the situation of detainees in Sweden with particular focus on the most vulnerable: young people, asylum seekers and people who suffer from mental illness” says Robert Hårdh manager at Civil Rights Defenders.
In Sweden, there has long been no independent civil society actor who has managed to systematically monitor the situation in locked institutions. This lack of scrutiny means that the problems are not discussed, the voices of the detained are not heard and that action is not taken. The Postcode Lottery support for Civil Rights Defenders and RSMH changes this significantly.
The support enables us to seriously fill the void of “watch-dogs”, an important development that in part has been lacking in Swedish society. Civil Rights Defenders is becoming an in increasingly visible actor, says Robert Hårdh.
Sweden has received serious international criticism regarding conditions in compulsory care, detention centres and other locked institutions. Civil Rights Defenders and the RSMH will monitor the situation, highlight problems and ensure that persons with mental illness and prison inmates are guaranteed their human rights.
Detention takes place in Sweden if persons are suspected of or convicted of a crime. But human freedom is also restricted by compulsory treatment in which people are put into custody or placed in other locked institutions. The victims are often young people, asylum seekers and people who suffer from mental illness.
“The need for clear counterweights in society to balance the power of the State in locking up people and the support provided from the Postcode Lottery gives us an opportunity to be such a counterweight”, said Robert Hårdh.
The project involves an exciting and stimulating cooperation between Civil Rights Defenders and the National Association for Social and Mental Health, RSMH. Civil Rights Defenders has extensive experience working with issues related to the right to life, liberty and integrity in different parts of the world. RSMH have the expertise and experience of working on mental compulsory care and mental illness.