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Trade at the Expense of Human Rights, Sweden

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The Swedish Goverment has agreed on a policy that will promote human rights, but a report released by Amnesty International says the guidelines have been ignored. Our correspondent's in Sweden have more.

The Swedish government since 2003 has tried to place the needs and living conditions of the poor and the promotion of human rights to the fore in all policies including trade.

In 2010 the Swedish Minister of trade Ewa Bjorling and the state owned Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) went to Libya to promote a system of airborne frontier surveillance.


SSC's Bjorn Ohlson speaking to Libya's Minister of Trade:

[Bjorn Ohlson, Spokesman, SSC]:
"We can help you to be firm with the refugee situation along the border and in the Mediterranean."

Ewa Bjorling wrote on her blog.
"...our Swedish companies can be good role models in difficult countries in which Libya is an example..."

A report "Exports at the Expense of Human Rights" released by Amnesty International in Sweden shows that it's difficult to get any information from agencies controlling exports in Sweden.

The report cites several examples since 2003 where Swedish trade delegations did not comply with the government policy that includes the promotion of human rights.

[Goran Eklof, Report Author]:
"We asked to get an explanation of how human rights issues and related issues had been dealt with during the different meetings that the delegations had, how the delegation members had been briefed about this issues, and basically we didn't get any information at all."

The problem with trade and human rights is of concern - even at the level of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

[Goran Eklof, Report Author]:
"The OECD, also doesn't have guidelines on human rights; it does have guidelines on environment and unsustainable debts etc. but it doesn't have any human rights guidelines."

NTD News, Stockholm, Sweden

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