Children's minister Åsa Regnér and Children's ombudsman Fredrik Malmberg. Photo: AP, Tomas Oneborg and Bertil Enevåg Ericson/TT

Children's rights convention in the spotlight

Sweden was the first country to outlaw the smacking of a child and prides itself on its children's rights laws. But as the world marks the 25th anniversary of the UN convention on the rights of the child, Sweden, despite signing the treaty, has yet to implement it into law.

However, speaking in New York on an official engagement, prime minister Stefan Löfven says Sweden will introduce the convention into law next year.

The UN convention on the rights of the child, (CRC) which was signed by governments worldwide, including Sweden, 25 years ago today, is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. It is said to have changed the way children are viewed and treated as human beings.

Sweden though has never legally implemented the treaty and has received harsh criticism from the likes of Unicef.

While Swedish governments over the past two decades have always said that the laws here provide children with better protection than the convention does, Unicef has said implementing it into law would give better protection against discrimination and give all children the same rights in law, no matter if they were undocumented asylum seekers or were in hiding.

Taking part in the 25th anniversary celebrations at the UN headquarters in New York, Sweden's new prime minister Stefan Löfven was joined by children's minister Åsa Regnér and Sweden's Queen Silvia. Löfven told Swedish Radio that the convention will be adopted into law next year.

"We will work as quickly as possible, and hopefully it will be done by mid-next year. It takes time, there is much to consider," he said.

The announcement has been welcomed by Swedish Unicef's children's rights lawyer Christina Heilborn, who is hoping that the same thing will now happen here as it did in neighbouring Norway, which introduced CRC in 2003.

"There one can see that it has a stronger position....there's a different attidude and approach by lawyers and policy makers when dealing with children's rights, now it is law. As long as it is not law, it is easier to dismiss," she tells Radio Sweden.

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