Sweden
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1974
Last Amended 2011
Source Parliament of Sweden
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

[ARDA Note: According to the Instrument of Government, four documents comprise the "fundamental laws" of Sweden: the Instrument of Government (1974), the Act of Succession (1810), the Freedom of the Press Act (1949) and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (1991). The relevant passages from these four documents are reproduced below.]


The Instrument of Government

Chapter 1. Basic principles of the form of government

Article 2

Public power shall be exercised with respect for the equal worth of all and the liberty and dignity of the private person.
The personal, economic and cultural welfare of the private person shall be fundamental aims of public activity. In particular, it shall be incumbent upon the public institutions to secure the right to health, employment, housing and education, and to promote social care and social security.
The public institutions shall promote sustainable development leading to a good environment for present and future generations.
The public institutions shall promote the ideals of democracy as guidelines in all sectors of society and protect the private and family lives of private persons. The public institutions shall promote the opportunity for all to attain participation and equality in society. The public institutions shall combat discrimination of persons on grounds of gender, color, national or ethnic origin, linguistic or religious affiliation, functional disability, sexual orientation, age or other circumstance affecting the private person.
Opportunities should be promoted for ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities to preserve and develop a cultural and social life of their own.


Chapter 2. Fundamental rights and freedoms

Article 1

Every citizen shall be guaranteed the following rights and freedoms in his relations with the public institutions:
1. freedom of expression: that is, the freedom to communicate information and express thoughts, opinions and sentiments, whether orally, pictorially, in writing, or in any other way;
2. freedom of information: that is, the freedom to procure and receive information and otherwise acquaint oneself with the utterances of others;
3. freedom of assembly: that is, the freedom to organize or attend a meeting for the purposes of information or the expression of opinion or for any other similar purpose, or for the purpose of presenting artistic work;
4. freedom to demonstrate: that is, the freedom to organize or take part in a demonstration in a public place;
5. freedom of association: that is, the freedom to associate with others for public or private purposes;
6. freedom of worship: that is, the freedom to practice one�s religion alone or in the company of others.
The provisions of the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression shall apply concerning the freedom of the press and the corresponding freedom of expression on sound radio, television and certain like transmissions, as well as in films, video recordings, sound recordings and other technical recordings.
The Freedom of the Press Act also contains provisions concerning the right of access to official documents.


Article 2

Every citizen shall be protected in his relations with the public institutions against any coercion to divulge an opinion in a political, religious, cultural or other such connection. He shall furthermore be protected in his relations with the public institutions against any coercion to participate in a meeting for the formation of opinion or a demonstration or other manifestation of opinion, or to belong to a political association, religious community or other association for opinion referred to in sentence one.


Article 12

The rights and freedoms referred to in Article 1, points 1 to 5, in Articles 6 and 8, and in Article 11, paragraph two, may be restricted in law to the extent provided for in Articles 13 to 16. With authority in law, they may be restricted by other statute in cases under Chapter 8, Article 7, paragraph one, point 7, and Article 10. Freedom of assembly and freedom to demonstrate may similarly be restricted also in cases under Article 14, paragraph one, sentence two.
The restrictions referred to in paragraph one may be imposed only to satisfy a purpose acceptable in a democratic society. The restriction must never go beyond what is necessary having regard to the purpose which occasioned it, nor may it be carried so far as to constitute a threat to the free formation of opinion as one of the fundaments of democracy. No restriction may be imposed solely on grounds of a political, religious, cultural or other such opinion.


Article 13

Freedom of expression and freedom of information may be restricted having regard to the security of the Realm, the national supply of goods, public order and public safety, the good name of the individual, the sanctity of private life, and the prevention and prosecution of crime. Freedom of expression may also be restricted in commercial activities. Freedom of expression and freedom of information may otherwise be restricted only where particularly important grounds so warrant.
In judging what restrictions may be introduced by virtue of paragraph one, particular regard shall be had to the importance of the widest possible freedom of expression and freedom of information in political, religious, professional, scientific and cultural matters.
The adoption of provisions which regulate in more detail a particular manner of disseminating or receiving information, without regard to its content, shall not be deemed a restriction of the freedom of expression or the freedom of information.


Article 22

A foreign national within the Realm is equated with a Swedish citizen in respect of
1. protection against coercion to participate in a meeting for the formation of opinion or a demonstration or other manifestation of opinion, or to belong to a religious community or other association (Article 2, sentence two);
�Unless it follows otherwise from special provisions of law, a foreign national within the Realm is equated with a Swedish citizen also in respect of
1. freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of assembly, freedom to demonstrate, freedom of association and freedom of worship (Article 1);


The Act of Succession

[Preamble]

We CARL, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, the Goths, and the Wends, &c., &c., &c., Heir to Norway, Duke of Schleswig Holstein, Stormarn and Ditmarsen, Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, &c., &c., hereby make known that We, after the unanimous acceptance and confirmation by the Estates of the Realm of the Act of Succession according to which the male heirs begotten by His Noble-Born Highness, the elected Crown Prince of Sweden, His Royal Highness Prince JOHAN BAPTIST JULIUS shall have the right to the throne of Sweden and to accede to the government of Sweden, and after the submission of this fundamental law for Our gracious approval, by virtue of the right accruing to Us according to Article 85 of the Instrument of Government, adopt, accept and confirm this Act of Succession approved by the Estates of the Realm exactly as follows word for word:
Act of Succession
according to which the male heirs begotten by His Noble-Born Highness, the elected Crown Prince of Sweden, His Royal Highness Prince JOHAN BAPTIST JULIUS of Ponte-Corvo, shall have the right to the Royal throne of Sweden and to accede to the government of Sweden; adopted and confirmed by the King and the Estates of the Realm at the extraordinary session of the Riksdag in �rebro on September 26, 1810.
We, the undersigned Estates of the Realm of Sweden, counts, barons, bishops, knights, and nobility, clergy, burghers and peasants, now convened in extraordinary general session of the Riksdag here in �rebro, hereby make known that, with the decease, without male heirs begotten by him, of His Noble-Born Highness, the elected Crown Prince of Sweden, His Royal Highness Prince CARL AUGUST, and by our choice, as evidenced by the Act of Agreement and Election of August 21, 1810, of His Noble-Born Highness, Prince JOHAN BAPTIST JULIUS of Ponte-Corvo, as Crown Prince of Sweden, to succeed to the government of Sweden and its subordinate provinces His Royal Majesty, our present most gracious King and Lord, Carl XIII, after his death (be it long deferred by the Grace of God Almighty) to be crowned and hailed as King of Sweden, and to govern the Realm, on the conditions specified in the abovenamed Act of Agreement and Election as well as in the Royal oath to be made, as required by us, by His Noble-Born Highness, we have this day determined and confirmed for the legitimate direct male heirs of His Royal Highness JOHAN BAPTIST JULIUS, Prince of Ponte-Corvo, the following order of succession to the crown and government of Sweden, applicable in the manner and on the conditions expressly set forth below.


Article 4

In accordance with the express provision of Article 2 of the Instrument of Government of 1809 that The King shall always profess the pure evangelical faith, as adopted and explained in the unaltered Confession of Augsburg and in the Resolution of the Uppsala Meeting of the year 1593, princes and princesses of the Royal House shall be brought up in that same faith and within the Realm. Any member of the Royal Family not professing this faith shall be excluded from all rights of succession.


[Conclusion]

In witness of the fact that all that has been thus prescribed is identical with our intent and decision we, representing all the Estates of the Realm of Sweden, hereto attach our names and seals, in �rebro, the twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten.
�Everything as herein provided We not only accept for Ourselves as the unalterable fundamental law, but also direct and graciously command all who are united in loyalty, fealty and obedience to Us, Our successors and the Realm, to acknowledge, observe, abide by and obey this Act of Succession. In witness whereof We have this day with Our own hand signed and confirmed it, and duly affixed Our Royal seal thereto, in �rebro, on the twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ one thousand eight hundred and ten.


The Freedom of the Press Act

Chapter 2. On the public nature of official documents

Article 17

�It may also be laid down in law that the Government may determine that official documents may be transferred to the Church of Sweden, or any part of its organization, for safe keeping, without the documents ceasing thereby to be official. This applies to documents received or drawn up no later than 31 December 1999 by
1. public authorities which no longer exist and which performed tasks relating to the activities of the Church of Sweden; or
2. decision-making assemblies of the Church of Sweden.
In applying Articles 12 to 16, the Church of Sweden and any part of its organization shall be equated with a public authority in respect of documents so transferred.


Chapter 7. On offenses against the freedom of the press

Article 4

With due regard to the purpose of freedom of the press for all under Chapter 1, the following acts shall be deemed to be offences against the freedom of the press if committed by means of printed matter and if they are punishable under law:
�11. agitation against a population group, whereby a person threatens or expresses contempt for a population group or other such group with allusion to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious faith or sexual orientation;


The Fundamental law on Freedom of Expression

Chapter 1. Basic provisions

Article 8

In the case of radio programs or part-programs consisting of direct broadcasts of current events, or of religious services or public performances arranged by some person other than the person operating the program service, the following provisions are not applied:
Article 2, on the right to communicate and procure information for publication;
Article 4, prohibiting interventions;
Article 5, on the attitude to be adopted in applying this Fundamental Law;
Chapter 2, on the right to anonymity;
Chapters 5 to 7, on freedom of expression offenses, liability rules and supervision, prosecution and special coercive measures;
Chapter 9, on court proceedings in freedom of expression cases; and
Chapter 10, Article 2, on the right to communicate and procure information for publication in radio programs emanating from abroad.


Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.