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    Sweden Gains UNSC Leverage Through Logrolling With 'Authoritarian' Nations

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    In summer, Sweden was ushered into the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member after a protracted campaign. In as much as gaining influence over UNSC was a goal for the Swedish government, self-described as "feminist," the methods used in the campaigning were unbefitting a nation that sees itself as a champion of human rights.

    Sweden's membership of the UN Security Council was one of the Swedish incumbent red-green government's major foreign policy goals, which Prime Minister Stefan Löfven made clear as he assumed office in the autumn of 2014. But to acheieve it, Sweden utilized some morally doubtful methods.

    In its moral crusade to the UN Security Council, Sweden, struck dubious deals with a number of smaller nations, which Stockholm itself classed as "authoritarian," which is utterly unbecoming of a nation with an emphasis on human rights and may prove injurious to Sweden's international reputation.

    Among other things, Sweden struck a quid-pro-quo deal with Ethiopia to ensure a voice switching in Stockholm's favor, the Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet reported. According to the newspaper, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn pledged support to Sweden in exchange for Sweden's backing to obtain a top job at the United Nations, such as UNESCO Director General. A new Director General will be elected next year, with Sweden possibly influencing the election in the capacity of a board member at both the Security Council and UNESCO.

    Another instance of Sweden's diplomatic "match-fixing" involves the West African state of Benin, whose president promised support in exchange for Swedish investments, whereupon business trips to Sweden in order to strengthen trade were negotiated. A third example Aftonbladet got hold of involved the island state of Comoros, whose President submitted a direct request for Swedish support in training diplomats. Lastly, Namibia was named among the countries that were promised Sweden's support despite their defective human rights records. The then-head of the Swedish Security Council commission, Niclas Kvarnström, confirmed to the Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet that Sweden benefited from sudden "changes of opinion" by fellow UN members.

    Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter previously revealed that Swedish Cabinet Secretary Annika Söder visited Zimbabwe during the campaign. Currently, the EU maintains sanctions against the African country due to allegations against President Mugabe of repeated violations of human rights. Additionally, Saudi Arabia, the very same country which Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström called "medieval" for flogging bloggers for dissenting opinions and oppressing women, was the focus of the Swedish campaign.

    Earlier this year, the Swedish government was revealed to have used aid money in campaigning for a seat in the UN Security Council. The formally independent human rights watchdog Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation (DHF) was utilized to funnel budget money to lubricate UN ambassadors from 27 countries, who were treated to restaurant visits, luxurious hotels and expensive air tickets. According to Dagens Nyheter, the ambassadors mostly represented "poor island nations" and "developing third world countries."

    With climate change used as a pretext, the UN ambassadors were invited to a free trip to Sweden.

    Founded in 1962, after Swedish FN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld's death in a plane crash in 1961, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation is strongly linked to the Swedish government. In 2014, DHF applied for a 14 million SEK grant from the Swedish Foreign Ministry to "create better living conditions for people living in poverty and oppression."

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    Tags:
    UN Security Council, UNESCO, UN, Dag Hammarskjold, Stefan Löfven, Margot Wallström, Scandinavia, Sweden
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