• Sweden edition

Afghan teens in Swedish asylum limbo

Published: 29 Jul 2009 09:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Jul 2009 09:59 GMT+02:00

A wave of teenage Afghan refugees has arrived in Malmö and other Swedish cities in recent weeks. Many remain in limbo as most Swedish municipalities refuse to accept them.

During the past week a record 64 juveniles have arrived in Sweden, according to Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) figures, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

In the southern Swedish city of Malmö alone, 45 teenagers have arrived and applied for asylum over the past fortnight.

They are among the 250 teenagers and children housed in reception centres around Sweden, 84 of which are in Malmö. Many have been in limbo for several months due to a chronic shortage of available places in other municipalities.

Of Sweden's 290 municipalities, only 100 have signed agreements with the Migration Board to accept refugees.

The Migration Board's head Dan Eliasson has joined the migration minister Tobias Billström in calling on municipalities' local councils to take on a greater share of the burden.

"The situation demands that more municipalities sign agreements to help the most vulnerable. The municipalities claim that they lack expertise. But these kids are not from Mars. Their problems do not differ from those that other teenagers can need help with," Dan Eliasson said to the newspaper.

The flow of teenage boys, mostly from Afghanistan and Somalia, taking their chances on treacherous journeys to Europe has been increasing recently as conflicts escalate in their home countries.

One recent arrival to Sweden is 13-year-old Mehdi Heidari, who began his journey from Afghanistan seven months ago.

"My father was murdered by the Taliban," he told DN.

"The Taliban tries to recruit all the boys to their schools. They offer food and shelter. If you don’t accept, things can get violent. They hit my fingers with a hammer."

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) many of those arriving in European countries have taken up to a year to complete their journeys, living on the fringes of society in the countries they pass en route.

When they arrive at their destinations many do not bother to apply for asylum and continue to live outside of formal society and accurate statistics are therefore difficult to compile.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:47 July 29, 2009 by Omaro
I feel sorry for them and the bad events they had suffered, I hope they will find a better life in Sweden.
12:53 July 29, 2009 by antoniolgj
Will these people ever stop coming?
13:10 July 29, 2009 by mobings
Many neighbouring countries in the region, like China, India and central asian states need to accommodate these people . Sweden should learn from history as these refugees are good for nothing , and most of them have fabricated stories to seek social advantages and eventually involve in crimes. I suggest the competent authority to go to quality rather than trash.
13:15 July 29, 2009 by si
Here we go - it's redneck time !
13:16 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
@mobings, why you do not go some time to Somalia and Afghanistan and check with your own eyes if they just fabricate stories? and about people good for nothing, then we should probably deport a certain number of swedes too... and anyhow, it is not up to you and me to decide what people are good for, thanks God!

@antoniolgj, maybe we should stop contributing in creating new wars every day by directly fighting there, selling lethal weapons to the best buyer and supporting criminal governments.
13:22 July 29, 2009 by himilo
Our country is well respectful international human rights law, that is why many refugee would like to come to sweden. people whom appose the immigrants has no role to represent majority of the people and its government.

so we are very proud to see multi cultural people in sweden.
13:29 July 29, 2009 by raukey
Asian countries have already populations limiting their own resources. For instance according to UN estimates India is currently hosting around 420,400 refugees (actual figure is 10 times more !!!).

Please see details on http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,USCRI,,AFG,4562d8cf2,485f50d82,0.html

So i think it would be OK for Sweden to accommodate these kids from a US led war-zone who have already suffered immensely. Sweden is a signatory to cooperate with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in order to provide protection for refugees within the framework of a special refugee quota.
13:31 July 29, 2009 by mobings
@ hi milo

I appreciate your dream to see Sweden a ' multi-cultural ' country but at the same time Sweden should set up standards to differentiate between brain and drain.
13:38 July 29, 2009 by jeffi lost her first one
Most refugees hit Greece first and spend a bit of time there. Refugee/asylum matters generally state you apply for asylum at the first country you hit and if denied sanctuary, you cannot apply elsewhere. I somehow sort of think that, IN GENERAL, not specifics and without racial biases of any sort, that there just might be some claimants for asylum who do not apply in the first "free" country they find. And as far as it being a "US-led war zone" well... how about we remember which nation was in there tossing toy-shaped bombs around first, okay?
13:45 July 29, 2009 by Nilspet
The flow of people in this globalized world will never stop. People move all the time for whatever reasons. Those boys can be smarter than some of us reading the Local. The refugee problem is a global problem. You can blame the US, EU and Sweden for waging the war in their country. Do u think that the Afhgan people would give entry permit to those troops carrying lethal weapons into their country? Swedish troops enter their country with weapons in the hand the weaker local people can do nothing about it. So why ever question why they come here?
14:15 July 29, 2009 by diegoveggie
afghan refugees are escaping taliban violence, mostly.

the western forces are helping out the majority of the afghan people get rid of this misogynists and religious fanatics that the taliban are. it was about time that someone did something about it. human rights are universal.

and in the mean time, it doesn't hurt to help the very few that make it to sweden, which is no heaven anyway.
14:33 July 29, 2009 by ppk
So many countrys betwen Afghanistan and Sweden,

What's wrong with those countrys ?
14:43 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
@diegoveggie, we should have thought about it when training Osama and his fanatics friends against Russians back in the 80´s, isn't it?

and do you really think that western countries are interested in fighting misogynist and religious fanatics? In Iraq, we gave power exactly to that kind of people... countries like Saudi Arabia are never put in discussion despite being very much fundamentalist... human rights are very often a joke when talking about foreign policy; any country has as 1st priority its own interests in the geographic region.
14:50 July 29, 2009 by magic1964
And why they choose Sweden indstead of Greece or even Turkey ???? I bet the welfare and is a priority.....
14:59 July 29, 2009 by byke
I am amazed such young children can travel by themselves or with a similar aged sibling so far. Its defiantly a troublesome situation, and while I do not usually agree on fully open boarders I do believe that any stray kids that make their way to Sweden should be treated as children, regardless of their original country. I will say this, in terms of immigration. If any young child can take on such a daunting task to travel so far, it shows courage and motivation. These are 2 qualities that I believe should be rewarded no matter from where in the world they may originate. I would rather see swedish TAX spent on these kids to reform and educate them so that they can build a better life in sweden than paying twats in local authorities to blunder on paperwork and trying to pass the buck to other regions & offer no real solution.

If sweden is to spend its TAX on immigration, then get great value for money and use humans that show great innovative methods ? (such as these kids)
15:34 July 29, 2009 by BCR
Why don't we come to an agreement with the UN whereby we will take as many refugees as the number of troops we supply to a battle zone.

i.e. if we send 4000 troops to Afghanistan then we are required to take a maximum of 4000 refugees.

I wonder how many refugees the US has taken?

This problem with refugees is primarily that Sweden is a very difficult country for a non-native unemployed person to find gainful employment and settle into the native society and secondly that Sweden takes more refugees and gives more aid per capita than any other country in the EU (probably world - citation needed). Hence, taxpayers such as myself are a little disgruntled when OUR money is invested so heavily in housing and supporting refugees who have come here to take advantage of our benefits system.

Why can't we spend more of our tax money on Swedish healthcare, schools, roads, infrastructure etc? It is not a bottomless pit of money.
16:17 July 29, 2009 by antoniolgj
"Why can't we spend more of our tax money on Swedish healthcare, schools, roads, infrastructure etc? It is not a bottomless pit of money."

Because this doesn't "enrich" Sweden...
16:41 July 29, 2009 by byke
What yo need to understand is that immigration (the external importation of a foreign workforce) is or can be a profitable TAX investment for many countries.

However Sweden seems to be favoring workers with greater educational backgrounds rather than those who show self motivation etc.

Again , any kid that can travel around the world off their own hard work shows dedication or talent to me. And I believe its a safer bet to invest TAX in foreign workers who show such motivation.
17:02 July 29, 2009 by diegoveggie
@bocale, no doubt that every country has its own interest in mind. but what are the 'coalition' forces to do? withdraw? and let the taliban take over the country? i think that because the us made mistakes in the past (it made sense oposing the soviet union in the 80s, but obviously the taliban were worst, or just as bad, as far as human rights/economy/everything?).

no doubt that saudi arabia, iran, north korea, etc would benefit from democracy and humane human rights. and it's not happening, but at the same time not many people in the west are voicing their opinions about it. instead they oppose the war in afghanistan. how weird.
17:04 July 29, 2009 by martell
- Why don't the neighboring countries of Afghanistan take them in into refugee camps?

- What are the Western forces in Afghanistan are there for?

- Why are the "asylum seekers" not sent back after an armistice? Which law states that asylum must lead to permanent stay and citizenship of the host countries? As citizens of Afghanistan, it is the refugees' duty to change the system of their own countries, not of the host countries.
17:10 July 29, 2009 by vladd777
The more muslims enter and remain in the country, the nearer sharia law creeps!

Sweden is a western thinking, mainly secular and agnostic country and islamism totally contradicts this modus operandi.

These refugees need to re-locate.


17:18 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
@martell, neighbor countries have received millions of people escaping from Afghanistan, refugee camps are everywhere in that region but, sorry to say, a basic fact remains: the major part of financial resources are totally under control of very few rich countries and it should not be a surprise that desperate people search some care there! about the other 2 points, why you do not read internal news now and then? you would know a little more how Afghanistan is now and what western forces are trying to achieve...

@diegoveggie, you may be right but, then, there is little sense in complaining about refugees and migrations. It should be openly said that, any time an international crisis starts, new waves of people will ask to come to our countries... no sense to complain any time about the obvious
17:51 July 29, 2009 by Bölö
If Sweden don't want asylam seekers, then they should stop selling arms, stop sending troops to other countries and say NO to huge EU refugee fund. Can they do it?
18:11 July 29, 2009 by Omaro
@ Bölö

Of course they can not.

Btw, Swedish governments and policies of accepting asylums are not stupid, this country if does not accept immigration, it will end to a population of ZERO. The problem is that some swedes do not want to accept that and that is their problem. Another thing which surprises me about immigration to Sweden, if they want a multi-cultural society, why do not they accept qualified people I mean educated people who can contribute to the building of Sweden???? and not only sitting and eating people, any body knows why????
18:40 July 29, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Sweden will have to realize sooner or later that it can't continue with this policy of trying to be mother to the entire world. You just can't take in every refugee that wants to take advantage of your welfare system. Obviously some refugees will make an effort to become a part of the mainstream society but many will not, especially if they come from cultures that are so different.

"Multi-culturalism" is a government policy scam that has been sold to the Swedish public for the past twenty -five years or so. Do you really want a future Sweden where a significant part of the population is Muslim?.
18:51 July 29, 2009 by byke
@ Greg in Canada

I think you will find that Sweden's policy of multi cultural integration is no longer on par with the international standard.

Sweden has needed to change its stance on this term due to the need to increase population density.
19:00 July 29, 2009 by Zonob
Greg in Canada

"Do you really want a future Sweden where a significant part of the population is Muslim?. "

What's your problem? Right where you and I live (Canada) there are already many Muslims. What's your issue here. Fear mongering does not solve anything.
19:53 July 29, 2009 by Greg in Canada
In case you haven't read the Canadian newspapers lately Zonob, there is a recent Muslim honour killing case in Kingston, Ontario in which a father/son murdered three Muslim females for becoming too westernized. I'll admit this is extreme and not representative of all Muslims, but isn't the first time this has happened in Canada either. Also Europe in general has more serious Muslim integration problems than does North America. It's not fear mongering at all. Sweden was more successful as society when it was more homogeneous. The Swedes have created their own social problems with their immigration polices. Look at Malmo for example.

Unlike Canada, USA or even Britain, Sweden had no history of mass immigration or colonialism until about 25 yrs ago when Swedish politicians all of a sudden out of the blue declared Sweden as being "multi-cultural".

I'm not against immigration or taking in refugees, but for our own good, we have to be selective about who we let in.
19:56 July 29, 2009 by byke
Actually Sweden has a long history of importing external workforces.

Its clearly evident from 1960 onwards as part of the swedish policy.

However its only been the past 25 years that we have seen a larger increase in non european workers.
20:44 July 29, 2009 by bigmikey
It is interesting that Swedes can think themselves so magnanimous, contributing to world peace by accepting refugees from a war zone, complaining about them after they arrive, the whole time selling weapons....

How long before you are a minority in your own country? Maybe focus on turning the refugees into Swedes would be a better tact, unless you plan on sending them home soon.
20:50 July 29, 2009 by Eurostan
its not the swine flu but islamic virus is spreading very fast. in sweden i got the feeling that i am living in a muslim country. if you go on any swedish town you can see many muslim people with beards and veils.

how one can say that they are under 18 years. they dont have any paper with them to prove that. the guys who come to sweden very well know that sweden is a banana country.

they dont go to greece.

i can bet they are surely not under 18.they say that they are under 18. so they can be treated as children.
21:11 July 29, 2009 by Nutcracker
There are several reasons why European populations are not reproducing at necessary demographic replacement rates: taxes inimical to married couples, denigration of marriage, emphasis on single mothers, encouragement of abortion, attack on Christian moral standards which support the nucleus family (the nation in miniature, really). As for 'immigrants' as a prospective work force, that often ignores historical realities of the inherent parasitism and instability of certain immigrant groups; for example, re Migration Watch in Britain, 65% of all Pakistani Moslems in Britain have never worked and therefore are a negative, not positive, effect on taxes, economy and society overall.
21:48 July 29, 2009 by bocale1
it is very sad to ascertain how fast this site has become a place for nazis & fascist people to express their frustrations and hatred against any sort of minorities... The Local would deserve more intelligent and constructive messages than just those pointless insults!
22:29 July 29, 2009 by Eurostan
its time to build a mosque in every swedish city and make shariw law in sweden and halal meat in all shops.otherwise serious consequences.
23:45 July 29, 2009 by Nilspet
I totally agree with Nutcracker #33 on taxes inimical to married couples, denigration of marriage, emphasis on single mother. We should stop emphasis on single mother. This is bad for the well being of our future generations. I am not religious at all but we should not let this kind of value dominate our society. We should encourage to live as a family. That is my opinion and I exercise the freedom of expression.
00:37 July 30, 2009 by SaltWater
Swedish asylum police is becoming a joke!
01:18 July 30, 2009 by Eurostan
soon sweden will have civil wars just like what is happening nigeria right now.

already they made little bit warm up trial in ROSENGARD six months back.
01:45 July 30, 2009 by La Figaro
I think most refugees come to Sweden she has a great reputation, not just for Abba, Volvo or beautiful blond girls.

For the past few years, Sweden has taken in more middle eastern refugees then US and Canda put together.

My annoyance is this, why are people complaining about refugees instead of addressing some of the root causes.

Why aren't these afghans trying to seek asylum in the countries responsible for their current state?

History has a way of repeating itself.

When the Soviets were fighting with the Afghans, CIA operatives went to Afghanistan to remind them that the soviets are infidels & trained them on bomb making, fighting etc.

Today, roles are reversed, the US in is Afghanistan, to fight the Taliban, the very group they helped create.
01:58 July 30, 2009 by Eurostan
what is the role of pakistan in afghanistan .

pakistan, afghanistan and iran are always in the news.

now radical islam spreads to nigeria and war going on now.
02:43 July 30, 2009 by Greg in Canada
"Sweden has taken in more middle eastern refugees then US and Canda put together"

Actually there is one Swedish town that just by itself has taken in more Iraq refugees than Canada/USA together. Seriously, how much longer can Sweden continue with this "mother to the world" refugee policy before it causes serious social consequences..
07:20 July 30, 2009 by magic1964
It all start when arrogant leftish Swedish thought that the perfect Sweden, the greatest country in the world, could integrate anybody thanks to its wellfare.......WRONG !!!!!!!!.....now it,s too late, they all want to come cause like the song says....Sweden is : "MONEY FOR NOTHING AND CHEEKS FOR FREE......"
07:59 July 30, 2009 by usgepo
Dam if you do and dam if you don´t, see things from the finance side, the system will not scale! at the end people living here will suffer, there is rampant abuse of the system and many of these people find a way cheat and take advantage of the lack of people policing this abuse.

Come to Sweden, the dumass tax payers will pay for you to live, start a small business, cheat on your taxes, live on welfare and drive a BMW!

Let the idiots pay for us! then join the Jihad, do not forget to bring your relatives once here!

Let the hnonst tax payer fuel the generosity of the social democrats who give away what is not theirs nor earned with the sweat of their backs!
11:15 July 30, 2009 by si
Somehow I don't think "Sweden has taken in more middle eastern refugees then US and Canda put together" makes a good comparison - I can't think of many countries who aspire to appauling levels reached by America.

Question is - why is it that America has not taken in refugees - as they are surely a huge part of the cause ?
11:29 July 30, 2009 by Eurostan
social democrates destroyed sweden. take social money and drive BMW unfortunately its true.
11:35 July 30, 2009 by si
Wouldn't know I drive a toyota... (BMW is not really a flash brand in Sweden maybe you should rephrase your crappy anology)
15:35 July 30, 2009 by usgepo
Agree about BMW, but is not an anology, just a brand imigrants tend to like and gravitate towards, as well as the rest of the pizza racers brands!
16:26 July 30, 2009 by bolababu
As an immigrant myself, it is unfortunate that I have to say this, it is the bitter truth though.

If you migrate to a new place and bring good tidings, your hosts would want more of you and your kind. If you bring bad tidings, they definitely would want less of you and your kind. People are not stupid, put yourself in the same position and see if you would be happy to see other people come destroy what you and your ancestors have worked to build. I have seen extremely disgusting immigrant-behaviour that made even me ashamed.

Worse still is the fact that most of these acts will definitely not be condoned in the middle-east. You cannot demand respect if you don't give it.
16:44 July 30, 2009 by Eurostan
immigrants from asian and middle east countries lost their credibility and respect because their behavior. north and west europe has no repect.

you can not demand respect for your culture or religion.

you crossed tolerence limits.
17:03 July 30, 2009 by Nutcracker
It was reported yesterday in the Daily Mail (London) that a senior Judge (who deals with immigration issues) stated that "hundreds of thousands of immigrants come to Britain just to get welfare benefits" and that "the cost of these handouts has helped to double the national debt." The infrastructures of all European countries cannot sustain the presence of parasitic ethnic groups or those espousing a hostile ideology (Islam). Britain, and now Germany, is experiencing large-scale emigration out of Britain by its most qualified natives. As for these Afghan youths, this is part of European-wide human-trafficking scams; laws re 'refugees' were drawn in a post-WWII world and must be redrafted or the threat of civil war in Europe cannot be discounted. Britain is the country most likely to reach breaking point first.
02:07 July 31, 2009 by totyis
@ Nutcracker (33). How about this reason?: less but better quality of life (education) than hordes on a limited amount of resources.
15:04 July 31, 2009 by Nutcracker
toytis: Yes, to a degree, but those 'better quality of life' and education aspects come with price tags which can be more destructive ultimately of individual self-worth than the roles of parents. 'Better quality of life' leads to overemphasis on materialism and unwillingness to display self-sacrifice (essential for peaceful and productive societies) and greater numbers of people are spending years more in 'education' and less as part of a necessary work face and as parents. Re: those countries accepting the greatest number of 'refugees' according to 2008 UN figures: USA, Canada, France, Italy, UK, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Norway. All have serious infrastructure/economic/social/medica/criminall problems re aliens and citizenry balking at paying the spiralling financial and social/freedom costs.
16:24 July 31, 2009 by open_your_eyes
I'm from the uk i have come on here to warn my fellow europeans, you must not go down this road of encouraging asylum seekers to come to your land, many are simply economic migrants who will play on your kind nature by telling you lies, and once there, they will seek to destroy your culture, and islamify sweden, this process takes place slowly but surely, politicians end up pacifying them and change laws for their benefit before they are called racist or made to feel guilty, also the human rights laws favour illegal immigrants, criminals, if you don't believe me just see what's happening in england, a country where the national flag is not allowed to be displayed in public in case it offends muslims.....open your eyes!.
17:53 July 31, 2009 by Nordland88
It is right to pity the people suffering in various Middle Eastern countries including Afghanistan. The best thing to do is contribute to relieving the bad conditions in refugee camps nearer to the troubles. However it is impossible for a small countries to take in all the victims of wars in that part of the world. Too many problems will result.

Strangely no one on this forum seems to want to discuss the motivations of the West in trying to conquer Afghanistan. Does it have anything to do with long term strategic power interests such as control over the vast oil and gas resources of Central Asia? Pipelanistan? The humanitarian concerns are mostly phoney, as usual. With such wealth and power at stake it seems stingy not to help with the on the ground human victims of this war.
09:21 October 7, 2009 by Gustaf
Ok But why are only boys arriving to Sweden. Are there no girls in those countries-or do the girls have abetter situation?
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