ENAR press statement: Riots in Sweden – time for government to finally address ethnic minorities’ exclusion

by , under ENAR

Comment:   As Migrant Tales has written on a number of postings, the riots in Sweden mirror the dire situation of some immigrant groups in that country and how marginalized they are from the rest of society. 


Brussels, 28 May 2013 – The ongoing riots in Stockholm, Sweden are a strong wake-up call for Swedish  authorities. For too long, Sweden has turned its back on the dire social and economic situation of migrants  and minority communities who are facing increasing marginalisation, scarcer access to decent housing, higher unemployment rates, as well as excessive use of power by policing authorities. The European  Network Against Racism (ENAR) condemns both the violence use on the street by rioters and the ongoing  institutional violence of successive Swedish governments, which have chosen not to address the deeprooted causes of exclusion plaguing Swedish society.

For instance, the Swedish police project ‘REVA’, aimed to crack down on irregular immigrants, has led to racial  profiling in checking ID and residency permits of anyone ‘foreign-looking’. Such practices are clearly  discriminatory and undermine the rights of individuals. They also contribute to the exclusion and demonisation of particular communities.

We call on the Swedish government to:

– Put measures and resources in place to remedy the discrimination, high unemployment rates and segregation faced by ethnic minority communities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       – Put an immediate end to the excessive use of police powers targeted at ethnic minorities and migrants.                                                                     – Engage in a dialogue with grassroots NGOs to develop an action programme to decrease tensions in communities and rapidly improve their socio-economic conditions.

ENAR Chair Chibo Onyeji said: “It is essential to use non-violent methods in the pursuit for justice and socioeconomic change. But urgent action is needed to create a constructive environment that can give young people  growing up in ethnic minority communities a foundation for a bright future. Fostering inclusion and reducing the increasing inequalities faced by ethnic minority communities should be at the forefront of Sweden’s political concerns.”

Read original statement here.

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