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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Sweden's Rape Laws Slammed By Amnesty

Amnesty International has used International Women's Day to criticise Sweden and its neighbouring Nordic countries for failing to combat sexual violence against women.

"In spite of all the progress towards equality between women and men in many fields in the Nordic societies, when it comes to rape the legal measures are still not adequate," the human rights group said in its report "Case Closed."

"Rape and other forms of sexual violence remain an alarming reality that affects the lives of many thousands of girls and women every year in all Nordic countries," it added, highlighting Finland in particular.

Amnesty claimed that the Nordic countries all suffered from loopholes in their legal systems, making it complicated to sufficiently prosecute and punish sex crimes, and only a small percentage of rape cases ever make it to court.

Amnesty said that Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway do not follow the European Court of Human Rights definition of Rape as all non-consensual sexual acts, and instead allow the "use of violence or threats of violence to define the criminal liability of rape.

The report called on all the Nordic nations to improve protection for victims of sexual crimes, insisting they needed to "ensure that all legal procedures in cases involving crimes of rape and other sexual violence are impartial and fair, and not affected by prejudices or stereotypical notions about female and male sexuality."

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