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SWEDHR history in brief
Swedish Professors & Doctors For Human Rights (SWEDHR) was founded in Uppsala, Sweden, in 2014. The bases of an initiative presented by Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli agreed in a meeting on the 19th of September 2014 hosted by Doctor Leif Elinder, and the participation of Professor Anders Romelsjö. The founding Board of Directors is described here. The human-rights activities of the organization in the first period have mostly dealt with the case against Julian Assange initiated in Sweden, and the liberation of Dr Fikru Maru. The organization also denounced war-crime behaviours by the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, by the Ukraine junta, and critically analysed the biased work of the OPCW in Syria.
As well in this period, the organization was able to publish SWEDHR Research & Reports. It also initiated the publication of The Indicter –a geopolitical and human rights monthly review, considered a continuation of The Professors’ Blogg, which was published between 2005 and 2015.
SWEDHR analyses in 2017 on video materials posted by the organization White Helmets in reference to the war in Syria, caused an international debate.
Also in this period, published analysis by the organization chairman Prof Ferrada de Noli, were presented as documentation at the United Nations Security Council.
In 2019, the international focus of the Julian Assange case moved from Sweden to the UK, after the Swedish prosecution decided to drop the so-called “legal case”, coinciding with the US request to the UK on the extradition of Assange. In London, a group of British doctors then established Doctors For Assange, an initiative which Swedhr doctors endorsed soon thereafter, in December 2019.
Considering the above, and after consultation with the members, the Board of Directors of SWEDHR unanimously decided to recommend its members to integrate and facilitate a support to the said international initiative Doctors For Assange based in London. The SWEDHR chairman and vice-chairman representation activities remained unchanged in the campaign for Julian Assange’s freedom.
From Doctors for Assange, 11 Dec 2019
From Mrs Christine Assange
At the end of this period, the Board of Directors of Swedish Professors and Doctors for Human Rights thanked chairman Prof Marcello Ferrada de Noli “för en utomordentligt fin insats till stöd för mänskliga rättigheter och till stöd för Julian Assange i synnerhet“.
/ Updated by Dr Lena Oske, 26 March 2020.
In view of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sweden, the Board of Directors decided in September 2020 to re-assume the SWEDHR activities, particularly on behalf of the humans rights of Swedish elderly.
The activity of SWEDHR in this new period was mainly devoted to issues around the pandemic, and included analysis on the vaccine issue. Swedhr representatives became also involved in the discussing and proposals of adequate strategies in the international combat against the pandemic. This, from the perspective of Swedhr members’ medical and epidemiological expertise. A variety of those analyses were published in The Indicter and other international outlets.
This period was also marked by public debates in the Swedish mainstream media.
In February 2022, SWEDHR’s leading body –the Board of Directors– held an internal debate over the initiation of Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, from the perspective of international human rights legislation. The organization’s chairman Professor Ferrada de Noli, submitted to vote a statement proposition condemning the Ukraine leaders, as well as those of the EU and NATO, as causing and provoking the crisis leading to the SMO –thus considering the Russian military response as legitimate and within self-defence rights. However, albeit by small margin, a majority of the Board of Directors voted against such statement proposition, and instead favoured to condemn the military invasion on the principled argument that SWEDHR is an organization promoting peace and negotiation-based solutions, exclusively.
At the same time, the Board of Directors declared to further pursue its commitment of a) denouncing the human rights violations in Ukraine, and b) war crimes perpetrated by the Kiev government against the Donbass population and Russian-ethnic minorities.
Swedhr’s denouncing of war crimes committed by Ukraine forces continued unabated in The Indicter. See here.
The war in Gaza, initiated anew in 2023, demanded new denouncing activities from the part of SWEDHR. See for instance @SWEDHR, @ProfessorsBlogg and @The_Indicter on social platform X (ex-Twitter).
On December 10th, 2023, in the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, SWEDHR Board of Directors published “Open letter to the president of the European Commission Dr Ursula von der Leyen“, calling on the EU governments to denounce the genocide in Gaza. Swedhr’s letter to Von der Leyen also called for the EU Council and EU governments to demand their NATO partners for the immediate freedom of journalist Julian Assange.