“Most of the national minorities have a worse health status than the population as a whole”, according to a new survey by Swedish National Institute of Public Health, a state agency under Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on January 19th, 2010, said that it was distressing to note minorities’ health status from this survey, which was indicative that minorities in Sweden were treated differently than the rest of the population. It was the moral responsibility of the majority to take care of its minorities, Zed stressed.
This survey points out: “There are clear links between health status among the national minorities and like high unemployment, feelings of alienation, powerlessness and discrimination”. It talks about discrimination against male Jews; high unemployment, feelings of alienation, powerlessness and discrimination in case of Roma; Roma women experiencing lot of stress; high depression among Sami women; worse physical health of Swedish Finns; Tornedalers women felt discriminated against; etc.
Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Sweden to have a strong political will to ensure minority inclusion and integration programs to immediately take off the ground providing them with better health and education avenues, higher economic opportunities, sources of empowerment and participation, etc.
Zed also urged Sweden to urgently improve the plight of its Roma populace, who reportedly lived in apartheid like conditions. Zed asked how Sweden, which prided itself for its human rights record, was tolerating such reportedly widespread prejudice against a segment of its own society. Maltreatment of Roma was a dark stain on the face of Sweden.
According to Swedish Government’s Human Rights Website, “The Roma still occupy a highly vulnerable position in Swedish society and are exposed to discrimination although this is prohibited by law. Generally speaking, many Roma encounter great difficulties in virtually all spheres of society. This applies to education, the labour market, housing and health care and to possibility of participating in the community on the same terms as the majority population.”
Located in Ostersund with Sarah Wamala as Director General, the Swedish National Institute of Public Health works to promote health and prevent ill health and injury, especially for population groups most vulnerable to health risks.
Stockholm News also has a report about the issue. The article goes through the minorities in question and explains what in particular the health problems are. It's worth a read! Check it out here. Not all immigrants/minorities were involved in the study, and this quote from SN explains the missing data:
Around 500 000 people in Sweden identify themselves as belonging to a national minority. The absolutely largest group is the Finnish minority or "the Sweden-finns" as they are called. There are about 450 000 Sweden-finns in Sweden.
This means that there are many immigrants in Sweden who are not included in this study. In 2007, 1.23 million were born abroad. Since today it is at least the same number we can conclude that there are 700 - 750 000 immigrants who are not seen as minorities. The reason is that they are not defined as minorities in the strict sense, but immigrants.