Logotype The Swedish NAO, link to startpage.

Inadequate measures for children’s rights

Sweden ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (“the CRC”) more than 30 years ago, and in 2020 it became law in Sweden. The audit of the Swedish National Audit Office (“the Swedish NAO”) shows that the state has not taken adequate measures for the CRC to have sufficient impact in practice.

Girl flying kite on meadow.

The Swedish NAO has examined the work of the state on strengthening compliance with the CRC during 2017–2023, with a particular focus on the educational area. The audit shows that the state’s efforts have, in many respects, promoted compliance with the CRC, but that the work has not been sufficiently effective.

The Swedish NAO notes that the Government has not prioritised which problems need to be resolved, what the work should aim to achieve or what various actors should do. For example, the Government developed a strategy at an early stage containing principles for working with the rights of the child. However, the strategy is general in nature and does not contain any goals, action plan or budget. Also, no follow-up has been performed of the strategy since it was approved by the Riksdag in 2010.

“It’s unclear to authorities what they are meant to change, which increases the risk of the work relating to children’s rights being deprioritised. The Government needs to be clearer and more coordinated in its governance,” comments Deputy Auditor General Claudia Gardberg Morner.

Furthermore, there are still numerous unresolved problems in the implementation of the CRC. For example, the children’s rights perspective is not always made visible in the preparation of legislative proposals in the educational area.

The Swedish NAO also notes that many of the reports that the Ombudsman for Children’s submit to the Government are insufficiently substantiated, despite a relatively high volume of resources having been allocated to them. This means that the reports risk not serving their purpose of promoting implementation of the CRC. There are also inadequacies in the Ombudsman for Children’s work with collecting and analysing case law.

“In addition, the Ombudsman for Children does not fulfil its legal obligation to compile statistics on the living conditions of children and youths. The Government needs to clarify this task, because it is not clear what type of statistics are being requested, or for what purposes,” explains Vanessa Liu, project leader for the audit.

Among the national educational agencies included in the audit, the National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools has comparatively systematic processes in place to ensure a children’s rights perspective in their work. The National Agency for Education and the Swedish Schools Inspectorate need to take measures to strengthen the children’s rights perspective in their work.

Recommendations in brief

The recommendations to the Government include:

  • ensure clear and coordinated governance and follow-up of the implementation of the CRC
  • take measures to ensure a children’s rights perspective in the legislative process
  • clarify the need for compiled statistics on the living conditions of children and youths, and review how responsibility for this task should be distributed.

The Swedish NAO recommends that the Ombudsman for Children improve the analytical quality of the work on monitoring compliance with the CRC, and to analyse whether their current means of gathering case law in a database are appropriate.

The Swedish NAO recommends that the National Agency for Education and the Swedish Schools Inspectorate take measures to strengthen and make visible the children’s rights perspective in internal processes, cases and decisions.

See the report for the full recommendations.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – Swedish law since 2020

The Convention on the Rights of the Child contains provisions on the human rights of children. Sweden ratified the CRC in 1990. In order to strengthen the impact of the rights of the child in public-sector activities and in legal procedures and decision-making processes concerning children, the Riksdag voted to make the CRC Swedish law in 2018. The law came into force in 2020.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

Updated: 10 May 2024

Contact form

Send your questions or comments via the form below and we will make sure that they reach the right member of staff. Please state if your question concerns the information on this particular page.

What is your question about?
What is your question about?