Swedish Liberal Party's former leader Bengt Westerberg appointed to government racism investigator.


Friday, 06 May 2011
Xenophobia and racism is rife in Sweden. But recently, racism and xenophobia has become institutionalised and more of a culture such that one sees how it manifests but it is hard to tell how it gets there. The coming of the radical far right party, the  Sweden Democrats to the parliament shows that intolerance in Sweden in no longer a hidden issue.

Example of how racism is rife in Sweden is the observed in the heavy waste of resources because lots of minorities could not get access to proper employment, career, housing or even funding for business start up or network with traditionally well connected Swedish people.
The government has talked and acted but it is baffled as to how and why this way of society dichotomy exists in the country.

To give the government a lee way in understanding the crux of the matter, it appoints today a commission to propose how to work against xenophobia and racism better.

Integration Minister Eric Ullenhag unveiled on Friday, May 6th directives for a new government study on more effective efforts against xenophobia and related forms of intolerance could be carried out.

The purpose of the study is to obtain an overall picture of the knowledge available about xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and to identify weaknesses to be addressed in future work. Bengt Westerberg, outgoing Chairman of the Red Cross and the former People's Party leader, has been appointed as special investigator.

“Efforts to combat xenophobia must constantly be in progress. Each new generation must be won for tolerance and democracy. An effective work against xenophobia is also critical to our success with integration in Sweden,” said Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag in a statement.

The investigation must include compiling the knowledge available on the xenophobic and intolerant attitudes, examine why they occur and suggest what action should be taken to combat xenophobia and intolerance. An important part of the mission is also to see how knowledge of xenophobia and racism can be better used in today's schooling.

“I appreciate that Bengt Westerberg wanted to assume this task. He has long worked to discourage xenophobia and racism and has a deep knowledge in the field, "said Erik Ullenhag.

The inquiry will be completed in October 2012. A key driver of government's decision to launch an investigation is the Sweden Democrats' arrival in parliament, says Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag.

According to the minister, this is not an account of or against the Sweden Democrats. However, the fact is that the Sweden Democrats have come into parliament and it increases the value and importance of having a cohesive work against xenophobia and intolerance.

Sweden Democrats have described the investigation as indoctrination and propaganda against the party at schools.
By Team

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