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rutor 2018 februari
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HEMENGLISHFARR policy in English

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Picture above from a manifestation in Stockholm spring 2018. Photo Sanna Vestin

Here you find some information on the situation for asylum seekers in Sweden and policy statements of the Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups, FARR. The examples are chosen to reflect subjects discussed in many countries, not at least within the European Union.


Legal and safe pathways to protection

It’s impossible to mention asylum without also mentioning the lack of legal pathways to asylum and the death tolls on the borders. A couple of years ago, one push-back incident provoked public enragement. Today push-back incidents are the new normal. And so are the rising death tolls amongst migrants trying to reach safety and the building of walls against those in need of protection along with the return of individuals, even to torture, in Libya.

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Internal flight alternatives and security assessments

FARR is deeply concerned over the recurrent practice of the Swedish Migration Agency (SMA) to issue judicial guidelines in relation to countries plagued by serious armed conflict through which the agency prematurely deems the prevailing security situation in the country to be at a level where asylum seekers would not face a risk of indiscriminate violence upon their return to the country. Once such a security assessment has been made, the agency is highly reluctant to roll it back.

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The situation for stateless asylum-seekers in Sweden

FARR is deeply concerned about the situation of stateless asylum seekers in Sweden.
Sweden, in contravention to its obligations under the 1954 Convention does not consider statelessness as grounds for protection, nor does it consider a stateless refugee’s ability to return to their country of previous habitual residence as grounds for protection.

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Temporary residence permits

According to a temporary law adopted in July of 2016, all residence permits issued on protection grounds are to be temporary rather than permanent. Despite the temporary nature of the rules adopted in July of 2016, indications are strong that temporary residence permits will permanently be the norm from now on, which is something FARR views with great concern. We strongly oppose the proposal from the EU commission to make temporary permits prescribed in the Common European Asylum System (CEAS).

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Vulnerable groups

We see that very little regard is taken to the specific vulnerabilities of some asylum seekers during the assessment of an asylum claim. The result of ignoring asylum seekers’ physical and cognitive disabilities is that their protection grounds are also ignored. Thus, mentally and physically impaired asylum seekers, whose state effectively contributes to their vulnerability in the midst of an armed conflict, are deported to such conflicts without their vulnerabilities being taken into regard.

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Unaccompanied minors and age

Unaccompanied minors have previously enjoyed a fairly safe reception in Sweden, with access to education and care and permanent solutions to their protection needs. Today, however, unaccompanied minors face great insecurities in Sweden. On the day that they turn 18 they are expected to be able to return to their country of origin or their parents’ country of origin and to provide for themselves without any existing network in that country. They are no longer considered to be at risk of being abused or recruited to armed factions. Meanwhile, they are forced to leave a life behind in Sweden that they have built for themselves during some of the most formative years of their lives.

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To our governments: Join the coalition of the willing

Civil society organizations make common request:
Joint letter calling on Nordic and Baltic involvement in European disembarkation and relocation arrangements

Stories and images of people stranded on boats in the Mediterranean have long been covering news outlets. People are stuck on boats for weeks without adequate support such as water, food, and medical care and ultimately risk being denied access to asylum procedures. This week 26 NGOs in the Nordic and Baltic countries, including FARR, have published an open letter in which they urge the governments of their countries to engage constructively in the proposed disembarkation and relocation arrangement.

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