Several debaters are critical of the government's restructuring of Swedish aid. Pictured (left): Minister for Development and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell (M). Photo: UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferré. Source: Flickr. Pictured (right): Site's logo. Photo: Holger Ellgaard. Source: Wikimedia commons.

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Week 13: Criticism from several quarters against cuts in Swedish aid

Government restructuring of det Swedisha up tothe tooth and Sida's announcement that the authority will terminate the agreements with several organizations gainr big consequences, say several debaters. De points out that this including affectr human rights defenseare and organizations fighting for international law in Israel and Palestine.

- Sweden's aid work is collapsing like a house of cards.

That's what Jonna Sima writes in one editorial on Aftonbladet. This after Sweden's aid agency, Sida, announced that all 17 cooperation agreements with civil society organizations will be terminated as of next year, as a result of the government's changes in aid policy. Sima describes the announcement as "so far the worst killing blow against Swedish aid". The 17 organizations that are affected will in turn have to cancel collaborations with thousands of organizations around the world, writes Sima.

- Elaborate collaborations with schools, trade unions, organizations that work with women's oppression and LGBTQ issues will abruptly lose their Swedish funding.

Sida's announcement was met with similar pessimism by Somar Al Naher, lead writer at Dagens ETC. Despite the fact that there is a great deal of Swedish support for a comprehensive aid policy, Sida's announcement has met with minimal resistance, Al Naher believes.

- Why is the opposition so quiet? she wonders.

That aid to civil society is decreasing is, in Al Naher's words, worrying. She believes that less support for the sector has clear consequences, not least in civil society's functions as reviewers of the state's policy makers and defenders of human rights. 

This debate shares many similarities with the perspective presented by representatives from nine Israeli human rights organizations in a debate article in Svenska Dagbladet. The representatives are critical of the government's decision to first freeze Sida's support for Palestine, and then to dismantle the strategy for Israel and Palestine and instead include Israel and Palestine in a broader strategy for North Africa and the Middle East.

- The new strategy does not mention the occupation at all. That Sweden chooses to cut aid at a time when Israel's human rights movement is under relentless attack by its own government is to give the smear campaigns against us public credibility, write the representatives, who are actively working to reach out with aid to affected Palestinians.

-  If the Swedish government really shares our commitment to human rights and compliance with international law, it is time to support the forces and organizations in Israeli and Palestinian civil society that stand up for these goals and values.

Criticism of the government's changes in aid

When aid is slaughtered, our people's spirit shrinks 

Jonna Sima, editorial writer, Aftonbladet 

The government cuts aid without any resistance whatsoever 

Somar Al Naher, editorial writer, Dagens ETC 

"Sweden contributes to lowering the work for peace" 

Representatives from nine Israeli human rights organizations active in Israel and Palestine, Svenska Dagbladet

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