Implications for Sami Rights if Sweden Ratified ILO Convention No. 169
Sammanfattning: Sweden has received substantial criticism from several international organs on how the Sami people is treated. These international organs often recommend Sweden to ratify ILO Convention No. 169, which is the only instrument concerning indigenous peoples specifically which is open for ratification today. Several government inquiries have been conducted with the aim of improving the rights of the Sami. However, the inquiries have seldom led to any change in the legislation. This thesis examines the effects a Swedish ratification of ILO Convention No. 169 would have on the rights of the Sami peoples. This is done by comparing certain rights enshrined in the ILO Convention No. 169 with the Swedish legislation to determine whether any measures would be needed to implement the provisions. The rights enshrined in the ILO Convention No. 169 is also compared to other international instrument on human rights that impose obligations and expectations on Sweden in these regards. This thesis specifically examines provisions on participation and consultation, language, education and vocational training, handicrafts and rural industries, recruitment and conditions of employment, and land rights. After having examined the rights of the Sami people in Sweden in relation to the provisions in the Convention No. 169, it could be concluded that in relation to rights on education and language, the Swedish legislation appears to meet the formal requirements of the ILO Convention No. 169. Some measures to ensure the effective implementation of those rights may be needed. Regarding recruitment and conditions of employment, the Swedish legislation lacks any special measures to ensure the effective protection of the rights of the Sami people. The most notable restriction on Sami rights is that the land rights are restricted to reindeer herding Sami people. The reindeer herders are a minority within the Sami people. Therefore, a majority of the Sami people are denied their land rights, which are closely connected to their cultural life. Regarding the rights to participate and be consulted, Sami are often given the opportunity to give their opinion through Swedish legislation. However, these opportunities do probably not amount to the level of consultation contemplated in the Convention. Lastly, a ratification of ILO Convention No. 169 entail measures to recognize the Sami land rights and to identify these lands in consultation with the Sami peoples.
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