Child Rights Convention in Sweden
The status of children in Sweden has changed and improved in many ways in the 1900s, both in terms of material conditions and from a rights perspective. At the beginning of the 20th century agriculture was a key source of supply in Sweden. The children's work on the farms was a necessity for the parents, and the families were often big and child mortality was high.
During the first half of the 20th century, the so called welfare society was formed and encompassed large parts of Sweden. The children were gradually given more space in this new society, and major investments in school, childcare, health care and good housing standard increased children's prerequisites for a good material life. Sweden did not participate in the two major so-called World Wars.
Examples of major changes from a rights perspective are the gradual reduction of the right to discipline children. In the 1958 corporal punishment in school was banned. In 1979, Sweden, as the first country in the world after many and long political debates, decided to completely ban corporal punishment of children. The introduction of this law has meant a gradual change of attitude in Sweden regarding the view of corporal punishment. At the time of introduction, the right to corporal punishment of children was considered strong, but today society has clearly distinguished itself from this type of discipline.
Sweden ratified the Convention of the Rights of the Child in 1990. The ratification took place without any reservations. Sweden has chosen not to incorporate the Child Rights Convention into Swedish law, but instead uses transformation as a method. This means that the Child Rights Convention itself does not apply as a separate law, but the laws of Sweden are amended and adapted to the Convention.
There has been a debate in Sweden for many years where different forces require that the Child Rights Convention should be applied as a law in Sweden. One reason for this is that despite Sweden's commitment to comply with the Convention, there are still shortcomings in our legislation and in practice. The UN Children's Rights Committee, which reviews how states follow the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has also criticized Sweden several times. The advocacy for the Convention on the Rights of the Child to become a Swedish law argue that the children's legal rights are taken more seriously, while on the other hand, the vague formulations of the Child Rights Convention can be problematic in dealing with legal certainty.
In Sweden there is now a plan that the Child Rights Convention will become Swedish law from 2020, thus the convention status in Sweden would change. The decision is not taken, but the government is planning to submit a bill in March 2018.