State accused of racial biology

The Swedish state receives harsh criticism in its handling of the Girjas sameby trial, reports Swedish Radio News.

A total of 59 researchers signed off on an opinion piece in newspaper Dagens Nyheter, writing that a statement made by the state’s representative in the case, lawyer Hans Forsell, claiming that “Sweden does not have any international obligations to recognize certain rights for Sami people, regardless if they are considered to be indigenous peoples or not. The state is also of the understanding that the Sameby’s claim of Sami people being indigenous to the area lacks relevance in the case.”

The researchers claim that it is the complete opposite – Sweden does indeed bear a responsibility for the Sami people, and the fact that they are indigenous to the area is highly relevant.

The researchers further claim that the government’s choice of words in statements made during the case remind them of the time when there was a government institute in charge of “racial biology”. This institute was tasked with, among other things, examining the racial differences between Sami and Swedish people.

“That is the time when this language was last used,” one of the 59 researchers, Professor in Sami studies at Umeå University, Peter Sköld, tells Swedish Radio News.