Ombudsman Berates Swedish Armed Forces for Discrimination Over Excluding Autists, People With ADHD

The Swedish Armed Forces have in recent years been betting on diversity, inclusivity, and equality under mottos like “Our strength consists of differences”. However, according to the Discrimination Ombudsman, there is still room for improvement.

The Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Conscription and Assessment Agency automatically exclude people who are diagnosed with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) from the possibility of being tried for military service; this is discrimination the Discrimination Ombudsman has concluded after an inspection.

The Swedish Armed Forces explained during the investigation that there is an increased risk for people diagnosed with ADHD or autism of not being able to perform military service, but that it cannot be ruled out that there are people with these diagnoses who are indeed able to do so. The Armed Forces also stated that persons who are already employed can continue their service when they receive such a diagnosis, if they are deemed to meet the conditions to do so within the framework of the ongoing examination that all employees undergo.

By contrast, listing either of the conditions during the enrollment phase automatically precludes would-be servicemen from examination. However, for people diagnosed with ADHD, there is an opportunity to later submit a certificate if they can show that they no longer meet the criteria for receiving the diagnosis.

In its supervisory decision, the ombudsman ruled that…

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