1 The State duty to protect human rights [page 11]

Criminal law provisions to protect human rights

“Sweden has a number of criminal law provisions for the protection of human rights regardless of the context in which an offence is committed, including in the business context. Through these criminal provisions Sweden also fulfils its international commitments in relevant respects. Examples include: …

  • Protection of property, against corruption, etc., through criminal liability for offences such as theft, robbery, fraud, extortion, receiving stolen goods, bribery, dishonesty to creditors and infliction of damage (Chapter 8–12, Penal Code).”

Annex: Measures taken [page 22-24]

The State as actor

  • “Corruption is a global problem and often plays a significant role in human rights abuses. International cooperation against corruption has become more intense and several important agreements have been entered into, including the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and two Council of Europe conventions. Sweden attaches great importance to international cooperation against corruption and works actively to implement the conventions and spread knowledge about their contents to relevant parties. In 2010, Sweden took over the chair of the management group of the Business Anti-Corruption Portal. It has developed the Portal, in part through cooperation with the European Commission, to cover approximately 100 countries since the beginning of 2014. The information, which mainly targets the business community, is available in English, German, Russian, Chinese and Arabic. Sweden provides support to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which works to combat corruption in the mining industry. …
  • Like other state-owned companies, Swedfund International AB (Swedfund) and the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK) are required to comply with the government state ownership policy for CSR, as described above. Moreover, Swedfund and SEK have social mandates specially adopted by the Riksdag. Swedfund is required to ensure that its investments comply with international standards and CSR principles, within clear and sound corporate structures that do not contribute to tax evasion, money laundering or terrorist financing. SEK is required to take account of conditions such as the environment, corruption, human rights and working conditions in its credit assessments.

Action by government agencies

  • “The Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board (EKN) has been instructed in its appropriation directions to pursue continuous development of its work on human rights, working conditions, the environment, corruption and internet freedom, based on OECD recommendations in these areas (‘Common Approaches’ and ‘Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits’). EKN also has instructions to ensure that its activities comply with, and information has been provided about, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”

Annex: Measures planned [page 27]

Regulations and legislation

  • “The interim report Implementation of the EU’s new accounting directive (Swedish Government Official Reports 2014:22) proposes enhanced transparency regarding payments made by some companies active in the extractive industry and in the logging of natural forests. The provisions will require companies to publish annual reports on payments made to authorities in the countries in which they operate. The aim is to combat corruption.
  • The EU has adopted a Directive amending the Accounting Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information. Corporate disclosure of sustainability and diversity policy (Ministry Publications Series 2014:45) proposes that certain companies prepare a sustainability report providing information on, for example, respect for human rights and anti-corruption activities. It is also proposed that the corporate governance reports of certain listed companies disclose the diversity policy that applies to their board.”

Annex: Links [page 30]

“Anti-corruption steering group portal: www.business-anti-corruption.com