Democracy and human rights under threat in Scandinavia?

Davor Džalto, Professor of Religion and Democracy at the University College Stockholm

On 28 June 2022, a memorandum was signed between Turkey, Sweden, and Finland which is supposed to lift Turkey’s veto over the potential NATO membership of these two Nordic countries. There are a number of reasons to be concerned about this move, which comes as the latest of a series of steps taken by Swedish authorities that jeopardise human freedoms, rights, and democracy in this country. […]

Measured by comparative standards, Sweden has exhibited a reasonable degree of commitment to democratic standards and the protection of human rights and freedoms over the past decades. However, it has also demonstrated a disturbing capacity to breach the same (as demonstrated in the rendition of Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari). Alongside its 2021 proposals to give “police powers to use camera surveillance, interception and house searches without suspicion of crime” or to expand “the mandate of private security guards to use force in upholding law and order”, the newly signed memorandum with Turkey seems to be yet another step in the wrong direction. […]

There are, however, other puzzling things about the sudden commitment of the Swedish government to the NATO membership. The official explanation that Swedish security is in danger after the Russian invasion of Ukraine have never been substantiated. Apart from vague and unconvincing phrases that, nonetheless, work as ideologically charged slogans, the public has never been informed as to any credible findings, intelligence reports or reasonably well-established prognoses that Russia has been planning an invasion of Sweden. On the contrary, giving up its neutrality sounds like a much more dangerous move — one that actually jeopardises Swedish security. Läs artikel