Joint Project on the Rights of the Sami People
Civil Rights Defenders and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation are working together with Sami civil society to ensure that Sweden respects the rights of the Sami people. Both political and legal changes are needed.
Sweden has often presented itself as a global supporter of human rights and a model country on environmental issues. But at the same time, Sweden does not fully respect the human rights of the indigenous Sami people in Sweden itself. Sweden has actively chosen not to adopt the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989, also known as ILO-convention 169, regarding the right to Sami self-determination and land rights. On several occasions, the United Nations has criticised Sweden for its lack of commitment to ensuring protection of the rights of the Sami people.
Resource exploitation of minerals and timber in Sápmi is ongoing. This has led to the limitation of the rights of the Sami people to have a say on the use of the land, as well as their own future.
To address these problems, Civil Rights Defenders and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation have launched a joint project in collaboration with Sami civil society. The goal is to ensure that Sweden respects the indigenous peoples’ rights of the Sami people. The joint project strengthens protections for the human rights of the Sami people by empowering the Sami to claim their rights, and increasing their say on how the land and water in Sápmi is used.
Representatives of Sami organisations and individual Sami rights activists were consulted in the planning of the joint project. There is also a dedicated group of Sami experts that is directly involved in determining how the project is implemented. Regular meetings and a continuous dialogue with Sami organisations take place throughout the project, too ensure that as many different perspectives from within the Sami community are heard and included.