Sweden - OPCAT Situation

Opcat status

OPCAT Ratification September 14, 2005
UNCAT Ratification January 8, 1986
NPM Designated

Parliamentary Ombudsmen (Riksdagens Ombudsmän)

NPM Type

Ombuds Institution

NPM Legal Framework

OPCAT Ratification Bill (2004/05:107) and Amendments to the Act with Instructions to Parliamentary Ombudsmen (§5 a, 01 July 2011)

Sweden ratified the OPCAT in 2005. The OPCAT Ratification Bill included the designation of two existing institutions as Sweden’s NPM: the Parliamentary Ombudsmen and the Chancellor of Justice.

At the time of the discussion of the OPCAT bill, the government argued that the two institutions were fully compliant with the OPCAT criteria.This argument had two consequences as it was not deemed necessary to amend their legal foundation and to grant them additional resources to enable both institutions to perform the NPM mandate.However, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice presented their objections to the Parliament and refused to be designated as NPM. They considered that they lacked the necessary resources and their mandates were inadequate. In addition, the Parliamentary Ombudsman expressed constitutional concerns related to the one-sided manner in which the government was perceived to have delegated this function to the institution. The Parliamentary Ombudsman argued that this decision contradicted the principle of absolute independence from the government. In spite of these objections the Bill was passed.

In 2011, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s Act was amended and a specific unit was established within the institution. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen was allocated additional resources to perform its new tasks as NPM.

Only the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen has been performing the OPCAT mandate since 2011.

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture visited Sweden in 2007 and the report has been made public, as well as the governmental response.

The SPT member who is the SPT Focal Point for Sweden is available here.