The law recognizes Sami (formerly known as Lapps), Swedish Finns, Tornedalers, Roma, and Jews as national minorities. The law protected and the government supported minority languages.
Societal discrimination and violence against Arab and Somali immigrants and Roma continued to be a significant problem during the year.
Police registered reports of xenophobic crimes, some of which were related to neo-Nazi or white-power ideology. Police investigated and the district attorney's office prosecuted race-related crimes. Official estimates placed the number of active neo-Nazis and white supremacists at 1,500. Neo-Nazi groups operated legally, but courts have held that it is illegal to wear xenophobic symbols or racist paraphernalia or to display signs and banners with inflammatory symbols at rallies, since the law prohibits incitement of hatred against ethnic groups.
It was frequently difficult to determine whether hate crimes had ethnic or religious motives, but abuses directed at members of ethnic minorities from Muslim-majority countries officially were reported as being anti-Islamic." Anti-Islamic behavior was aimed at both Arab and Somali immigrants. The NCCP hate crime report for 2010 counted 272 reported anti-Islamic hate crimes, or 49 percent of the total antireligious hate crimes. In 2009, 194 of the hate crimes reported were anti-Islamic crimes (33 percent of religion-related hate crimes), down from 272 in 2008.
The most frequent anti-Islamic crimes were crimes against persons, with 148 reported incidents in 2010, and 80 reported cases of agitation against an ethnic group. According to the report, 3 percent of anti-Islamic crimes were ideologically motivated.
The discrimination ombudsman received 694complaints regarding ethnic discrimination during the year.
The government estimated the Romani population at 50,000 persons. In 2010 a special delegation for Romani problems reported that a majority of Roma lived as outcasts, unemployment reached 80 percent, elementary education was rare, and a Rom's average life expectancy was significantly lower that the country's average. In 2010, 150 reported hate crimes were identified as anti-Romani. On September 9, the government announced a 46-million-kronor ($6.7 million) supplement to the 2012 budget aimed at improving the situation of Roma over a four-year period.
During the year the discrimination ombudsman handled five mediation and court cases involving Roma. The most common complaint was against landlords who refused to rent apartments to Roma. Conciliation with financial compensation to the Roma was the most common outcome.