Memorandum 23 March 2010 Government Offices Sweden Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Information from Sweden regarding the Study on "Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Participate in Decision-Making Please find below relevant information prepared by the Swedish Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Gender and Integration pertaining to indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making related to the questionnaire by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, dated 22 February 2010. Question 1. Sweden adheres to a dualistic system, which means that conventions that Sweden ratify do not automatically become part of national law. There are two main methods for giving legal effect to international conventions in Swedish law: incorporation and transformation. International conventions are usually transformed into Swedish law by the enactment of equivalent provisions in an existing or a new Swedish statute. In certain cases, a convention can be incorporated by means of general law, stating that the convention shall apply in Sweden as Swedish law and be directly applicable. The above-mentioned framework applies to giving legal effect in Sweden to international human rights law at large. Consequently, it applies to the implementation of international human rights frameworks with regard to persons belonging to indigenous peoples. A basic element of Swedish Sami policy is to support and promote the rights of the Sami people and issues directly affecting the Sami people and reindeer herding. The Sami parliament has been given special responsibilities related to participation in decision making. For example it shall: decide the distribution of state grants and the distribution of other financing made available for the Sami; appoint the Board of the Sami Schools; 2 manage Sami language projects; participate in social planning and monitor compliance with Sami needs, including interests of the reindeer industry as regards land and water; and disseminate information of Sami conditions. The Sami parliament has been given new responsibilities with regard to reindeer herding issues. The Government submitted a bill on increased Sami influence in 2006 where the Government proposed designation of the Sami Parliament as the central administrative agency responsible for reindeer husbandry and transferred a number of administrative task from the County Administrative Boards and the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Question 2, 3. At the regional level the County Administrative Boards have a special Reindeer Herding Delegation. The delegation consists of representatives from the Sami villages and politicians from the regional level. The head of the delegation is the County Governor. The mandate is to decide on land lease and other matters of concern for the Sami villages. The Sami Parliament, as being the central administrative agency responsible for reindeer herding husbandry together with the Reindeer Herding Delegations at the regional level constitute important tools for consultation at different levels. As regards decision making at the local level Sami villages affected by e.g. application for geological survey must be given the right of consultation before prospecting is permitted. The reindeer owners have protection against interference with their rights as land owners with the same procedure of consultation as described above. Consequently, they are regarded as parties when it comes to granting permits for building roads, airports , power stations and other exploitations. No special permits is needed before logging but when it comes to larger areas consultation is required between the concerned Sami village and the forest company /private land owner. The consultation focuses on the size of the area and how to best take reindeer herding into consideration. The reindeer herding area is divided into year around reindeer breeding land and winter grazing land. There is, however, no obligation to consult before logging on winter grazing land. 3 The Sami is recognized as a national minority in Sweden on the basis of Sweden's ratification of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. According to article 15 of the Framework Convention parties shall create the conditions necessary for the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs, in particular those affecting them. As a part of the Government's new strategy for national minorities a new Act (No. 2009:725) regarding national minorities and minority languages entered into force January 1, 2010. The new act states that administrative authorities shall give the national minorities the opportunity to have influence on matters which concern them and shall, as far as possible, consult with representatives for the minorities in such matters. Question 4. A bill on Swedish Sami policy was intended to have been addressed to the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) in March 2010. Due to criticism from the Sami parties the Government has postponed the process for the purpose of entering into a closer dialogue regarding the content of the bill with Sami groups. A proposal concerning introducing a Swedish consultation process regarding questions which are of interest for the Sami was one of the key issues to be included in the bill. The consultation process aimed at strengthening Sami influence in questions regarding their interests and implementing international human rights framework pertaining to indigenous peoples. The Swedish Government would not oppose transferring new responsibilities to the Sami Parliament on issues directly affecting the Sami people. In a situation where autonomous decision making is not possible, participation in decision making could be an alternative.