Human Rights

In 2002, the International Labour Organization launched the World Day Against Child Labour. This means that every year, on June 12, we pay extra attention to highlight the issues concerning child labour. Not only are the issues pointed out, but also the actions that are taken to eliminate child labour.

As you probably already know, I often mention human rights when I talk about sustainability and conscious consumption. I often get questions about this; why I choose to highlight this aspect of sustainability, but also what human rights actually are and how they work. My experience is that we do not talk enough about human rights and that the level...

In April 2013, April 24 to be exact, Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza was the name of a commercial building which housed several garment factories, which produced clothes for brands such as Mango, Primark, Walmart and Benetton. Over a thousand people died and approximately 2 500 people were injured, when the building collapsed due to...

Det kan inte ha undgått någon att H&M:s mål rörande fabriksarbetares rätt till skälig lön inte uppnåddes under 2018, vilket konstaterats av både H&M och externa utredare. I december skedde demonstrationer i Bangladesh, där textilarbetare påtalade just sin rätt till en levnadslön. Därefter utlovades en liten ökning av minimilönen. H&M är det företag...

Tidigare idag uppmärksammade organisationen Fair Action de fortsatta problem som finns inom skoindustrin avseende produktion av läderskor. Det är bland annat företagen Nilson Group (DinSko, Nilson Shoes, Skopunkten, Jerns och Radical Sports), Scorett och Vagabond som har granskats av Fair Action, och som uppmanas till att vara transparenta avseende...

I have officially finished my master's degree in human rights. This means that after five years of studying, what I would argue is the most interesting field of them all, I know a little bit more than I did in 2015. However, I still know just a fraction of what there is to know. If I ever claim to *know* human rights, I want you to find the thickest book on human rights conventions and hit me in the head with it. Not only because it would be false, but also because we want to avoid the phenomenon of saviour complex to spread more than it already has. Particularly, because human rights is a concept grown from an unequal starting-point (made up by the most influential states globally). We do not need yet another privileged person to claim expertise on human rights.

Since I believe that we would all gain from reflecting more on our place in the world, as well as the inequalities faced globally, I had an idea. We all know by now that I love food and cooking. We also know that I am a human rights nerd. By cooking my way through the world, mostly together with my sweetheart Ranu, I would be able to get to know more aspects of different regions. Not only would I be able to taste the flavours of different groups and areas, but also to look into the human rights issues faced in a specific context. So, without ever claiming to know anything, I hope you want to join me on the journey to at least know a little more.

Picture chosen based on the fact that this Swede is missing fika.

Nuremberg || Two months in Germany have passed by. I have been able to visit several places with a strong connection to the emergence of the human rights movement we see today. Last Saturday I went to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds, located in the north wing of the remains of the (unfinished) Congress Hall.

Nuremberg is historically closely associated with nazism. This heritage has understandingly been difficult to manage. The human rights movement in Nuremberg is, however, strong and the city has nowadays also the reputation of being the city of peace and human rights. Dokumentation centres, a human rights award, film festival and a municipal human rights office (the only one in Germany) are ways of establishing this new image.

Nuremberg's complicated past is mirrored in present time, with both a strong human rights movement contrasting the extreme-right wing actors romanticising the city's history. As Sharon Macdonald writes: "what was once seen as a sign of a country's achievement may later come to be understood as a reason for regret." How to deal with such a past is without doubt challenging.

Reference: Macdonald, Sharon. Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi Past in Nuremberg and Beyond. London: Routledge, 2009.

Sámi/Sápmi || This spring, Ranu and I made this Sámi flatbread called gáhkku. The Sámis, as you might know, are the indigenous people of Sápmi - which covers the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Murmansk region in Russia.

Historically, the Sámis were denied not only their rights, but also human dignity. As the story with many forms of racism and making of the "other", the Sámis were described as erratic and unsafe in Sweden. Thus, the colonisation of Sápmi began and can be argued to have continued ever since.

Sweden has (especially after WWII) made itself out to be a defender of human rights - but also as a country without a significant colonial past. This, despite the history with the Sámis, which is still present today regarding their land. The extraction of natural resources in Sápmi has lead to conflict between the Sámis, the companies involved, as well as the states - which have a responsibility to protect the rights of indigenous groups.

Last year, the news came that the Swedish government is initiating a truth commission to investigate and document the violations committed by the Swedish state against the Sámis. As mentioned by Amnesty Sweden, such an initiative is crucial, and it is of importance that the Swedish state acknowledges their wrongdoings and faces their actions in both the past and present.

References: Forum för levande historia ; McEachrane, Michael. Universal HUman Rights and the Coloniality of Race in Sweden. Human Rights Rev, 2018 ; Sametinget ; Sameradion & SVT Sápmi. "Amnesty välkomnar regeringens besked att etablera en samisk sanningskommission. 2019-08-19.