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new laws from july 1

Access to school and healthcare for all

Published måndag 1 juli 2013 kl 10.20
Under the new law, undocumented migrant children can go to school, Photo: Janerik Henriksson/SR Gävleborg

A controversial ban on taking photos in private settings is among several new laws coming into force in Sweden on Monday. Other changes include harsher punishments for paedophiles and healthcare for those who are in Sweden without the proper papers.

A ban on what's called "unlawful photography" means it will now be illegal to take a photo of someone who's at home, in a changing room or other private setting. Such photography would be allowed for certain purposes, however, such as journalists who make editorial use of the image.

Nevertheless the Swedish Journalists' Union has complained about the law.

"These days, when everyone's got a camera in their pocket, it's much more common for newsrooms to use readers' images," the union's president Jonas Nordling told Swedish Radio after the law had passed. "The risk is now that many of these photos won't be taken because people will be afraid of breaking the law in one way or another."

Starting Monday, refused asylum seekers who are in Sweden illegally, or people who stay here after their visas or work permits expire, will have the same access to public healthcare as residents and citizens.

Meanwhile, children without the right papers will now have the right to go school, but they won't be required to do so. Ann-Marie Begler, director-general of the Schools Inspectorate, tells Swedish Radio it'll still be difficult to offer education to these children because they and their parents are often unaware of their rights. And because many are hiding from the authorities, they're hard to locate.

"One needs to cooperate more with other institutions in society," she tells Swedish Radio. "There are many voluntary organisations who work to support this group of families and children. It's important to show the children they have the right to education, together with these organisations, and to show that there are municipalities where this works very well."

Teaching hours for math will be expanded to more than thousand hours per year for children in grades 1 to 3. A new law also says hours spent teaching the core subjects of Swedish, English and Math cannot be reduced to make room for other subjects.

The minimum prison sentence for the sexual abuse of children will double, from 6 months to a year, and the definition of rape will be expanded.

Also, the hitherto mandatory sterilisation for people undergoing sex change surgery will be scrapped to comply with international conventions on human rights.

Reporter: sven.hultberg_carlsson@sr.se

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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