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Sweden shifts priorities for resettling UN refugees

Published: 21 Jan 2010 07:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Jan 2010 07:41 GMT+01:00

Sweden plans to give priority to refugees from Somalia and Eritrea in its efforts to resettle an estimated 1,700 to 1,900 United Nations (UN) refugees this year.

Eritrean refuges in Sudan and Libya, who are fleeing the totalitarian regime in Eritrea, need the international community to make a contribution and do their part,” Dan Eliasson, the head of the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket), told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Each year, the Riksdag allocates funding allowing the Migration Board to bring between 1,700 and 1,900 refugees to Sweden under the UN’s quota programme.

Currently, Sweden is one of 19 countries which accept quota refugees on an annual basis.

While Sweden last year gave priority to refugees from Iraq and it the surrounding area, changing circumstances have resulted in a switch in focus.

“The situation continues to be tough near Iraq, in refugee camps in Jordan and Syria,” Eliasson told SR.

“The humanitarian situation is still difficult, but somewhat better. The situation in the horn of Africa is tougher. And so we, together with the UN refugee committee, have decided we can change direction somewhat."

The shift will result in roughly 600 fewer Iraqi refugees coming to Sweden in 2010. Meanwhile, about 850 refugees will be transferred to Sweden from camps in Kenya, Sudan, and Libya.

Somalia is a country which is in the process of imploding. The fighting around Mogadishu and the south is fierce and people are suffering,” said Eliasson.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:11 January 21, 2010 by arnuxii
Definitely need a lot more Somalis, preferably those who are serious about their religion.
12:03 January 21, 2010 by Kaethar
Aw, crap. The only immigrants worse than Arabs are Somalis. :(

They better SPREAD THEM OUT through the country so they'll be forced to INTEGRATE.
13:11 January 21, 2010 by Gwrhyr
Wow Kaethar... tell me more about what Somali immigrants do in Sweden to make you say that?
14:41 January 21, 2010 by Frobobbles
These are UN nation quota refugees, folks. Those are people really in need. They are not comparable to the hundreds of thousands of refugees Sweden have accepted through illegal human trafficking.
15:21 January 21, 2010 by Great Scott
"Sweden shifts priorities for resettling UN refugees", they say the same in the UK, but wait it's the Politian's who want this. The rest of the country Sweden or the UK whatever is the huge vast majority, and they say NO MORE.

Please when describing something be more accurate.
16:08 January 21, 2010 by travels
Sweden, Europe and the rest of the western world can keep on taking refugees for ever and ever and it will only make a difference in the lives of those who come, a huge difference in the countries that accept them (as eventually the refugees will be a big percentage of the host country's population and forever alter its innate ethnicity) and almost no difference at all in the countries where they came from, for the reproduction rates of the refugees and poor countries is so much higher than those of the western countries that accept them that it does not make a dent in the countries of origin but a huge difference in the host countries and changes them forever, also taking into consideration the huge cultural difference between the host populations and the refugees.

Part of why the countries of origin are in such a bad shape (besides political and sometimes religious factors) is that even being so poor they still reproduce at alarmingly high rates, if children can hardly be fed or cared for having lots of them is not going to make it any better. Living off the social systems of the host countries and reproducing at much higher rates than the host populations is not good either, have as many kids as you can afford to care for without everybody else having to pay for you and your kids lives.
16:25 January 21, 2010 by calebian22
All one has to do is look at Minneapolis in the US, to see why accepting Somalis should be done with extreme caution. The last thing Sweden needs is a Somali taxi driver (which is about 75% of the drivers servicing the Minneapolis airport) denying a Swede a ride because they are prohibited by their religion to transport alcohol. Then again, it will probably be okay because Swedes never drink. :-)
18:44 January 21, 2010 by Kaethar
@Gwrhyr: The have the highest unemployment rate of any immigrant group (in every country). On average it stands at about 70% unemployment in Sweden with some Somali-dense areas reaching a staggering 90% unemployment. Now, this is due to a number of reasons. One, as we all know it is harder for an immigrant to find employment in Sweden due to language and culture issues. But this isn't really the main reason why it comes to Somalis. Another issue for them is that most are strict muslims (and pray 5 times a day, etc) whilst the women stay at home to take care of the children (Somali's having one of the highest fertility rates in the world averaging 5-8 children per family). And to make matters worse Somalis come from an ethnically homogenous country without a government. They have little experience interacting with other ethnic groups and little experience with a power of authority. Somalis have also traditionally been a nomadic people which means they work when they must and otherwise relax and enjoy life. Somalis themselves will admit to this and blame it as a reason why so many Somalis don't even attempt to work when living on welfare is an option. And to add to all of this many Somali men have an addiction to the drug khat.

When it comes to immigrants from certain nations you'll have the good and the bad (mostly higher and lower class respectively) but Somalis as a WHOLE are like this. You'll find exceptions but they're rare. The Somali CULTURE clashes horribly with the Swedish system.

I would rather have 10 Arabs and ten southern African immigrants than one Somali family. That's how bad their situation is. :(
19:20 January 21, 2010 by Beynch
Who makes these asinine decisions? Sweden should vote the entire rotten cabal of politicians out of office in September! Will these poor "refugees"(a misnomer of their ever was one) be tought how to flush a toilet before they get here? How much will my taxes go up as a result of this misdeed? And the UN, this bastion of hatred of the West, they do not have the West's interests at heart. The UN is a rotten swamp of thieves, perched on their bastion of "compaaaaaassion", cracking their dictatorial whip with ulterior motives. Give them the finger!
19:56 January 21, 2010 by vladd777
1 man + 4 wives + 20 to 30 children and soon u have a village.

This is the sad and scary story of people of colour in Africa.

Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi refused to let his people in Kwazulu Natal practice family planning because he said, "We are building a nation".

At the end of the day Sweden is committing suicide!
20:51 January 21, 2010 by powerofknowledge
@ Kaethar

Do u know Hilter?!

Im a muslim and has a PhD deos this hurt u ?

I guess so at least untill u find a job !!!!! wat how did i know??
21:01 January 21, 2010 by Kaethar
@powerofknowledge: If you're going to fake having a PHD at least try to learn how to spell. :) What I state is common knowledge in most countries neighbouring Somalia. Somalis ARE a nomadic people and like all nomadic people don't won't work unless they have to (which is why they're such a nightmare in the Swedish system). Of course this is a generalization just like it's a generalization that Swedes are reserved. Cultures vary drastically from country to country and I think this is something too many people forget.
00:46 January 22, 2010 by Michael84
Perhaps they're trying to take folks from different countries to sort of balance the situation. If you ask me though i rather not have Muslims here and i don't mean people from all countries which are ruled or influenced by Islam are Muslims. What i mean is Muslims!
12:45 January 22, 2010 by Gwrhyr
Kaethar, thank you clarifying your point. You make a lot of valid points and it's a shame that the immigration officials don't take cultural compatibility into account with refugee intake. I have worked in cross-cultural studies in the past and it is amazing how big the gulf can be between the way some refugee cultures view life and the systems of the government in the modern world. My work dealt with the Hmong in the USA and it was a common belief among elderly Hmong refugees that America was literally hell and that they had died on their way over.

The only part of your views I diagree with is khat. I thought you'd mention khat. Khat should not be illegal in Sweden as it is not even as dangerous or as harmful to health as alcohol in the unprocessed plant form. That is why khat, it's unprocessed plant form, will never be illegal in the Netherlands or the UK, which will secure the smuggling of khat continues in the more prudish and repressed European countries which have immature and authoritarian attitudes about mind-altering substances, like Sweden, France, Germany, Norway, etc.
18:36 January 22, 2010 by travels
@Gwrhyr

It was interesting to read your post and the example that follows:

"My work dealt with the Hmong in the USA and it was a common belief among elderly Hmong refugees that America was literally hell and that they had died on their way over." Wow, talk about a different frame of mind and belief system.

There exists the believe amongst many that we (as people from different parts of the world) are all the same and all want the same for ourselves, our families, our loved ones and that we all have the same or similar perspectives on life, to me that is just not the case, people from different countries and backgrounds might have such different views on all the above that inundating a country with large quantities of immigrants that are very different from the locals can be a big mistake, something that can be impossible to undo and that will alter the host country forever.
18:51 January 22, 2010 by Kaethar
Oh, come on. Khat is addictive and bad for you. It's also socially harmful. It's especially a problem in the diaspora where many Somali men will chew khat all day (since they don't work) instead of spending time with their kids. With an absence of role models and coming from a poor family many of these kids end up screwed up (even though they may not share the Somali cultural mentality).

Here's a youtube documentary about about the Somali diaspora in the UK which highlights this: watch?v=fJ5nCEVcb58

Somalis in Somalia tend to be very family-oriented and they combine a family lifestyle with a nomadic lifestyle. Khat is present but not used to the extent it is in the West. In Somalia they don't have the social issues that are present in the Somali diaspora. They of course have to leave Somalia since it's a warzone but it just goes to show that culture clashes can lead to serious problems for all parties involved. And there is no real winner either. Not the dad's who are made to feel useless, not the mother's who loose the close connection to their children, not the kids who grow up alienated and confused, and not society which has to deal with this mess. :(
19:07 January 22, 2010 by Gwrhyr
I agree with you that there are a lot of issues, but unlike you I do not blame khat. Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco have addictive properties and all are harmful to health, but when people abuse one of them they are not abusing it because of what the substance is, they are abusing it because of their social situation. You actually state this directly, that the problems with Somalian immigrants stem from their social situation and cultural differences.

Khat is only socially harmful when it is made illegal and driven underground and people are stigmatized for using it. You can read a review in Swedish of a book about khat here, it is very interesting:

http://drogsociologi.blogspot.com/2010/01/att-ata-paradisets-blommor.html

I agree with what you're saying about everything except your views on khat. The illegality of khat causes more problems for khat users than khat itself. The same goes with cannabis, magic mushrooms, and other soft drugs. Problem users arise out of poor social conditions, not out of simply using a substance. Khat's role in Somali culture could be compared to the roll of fika in Swedish culture.
14:19 January 23, 2010 by Iraniboy
Bla blah bla. Again another set of posters who can' understand the difference between a criminal/oppurtunist and an immigrants especially if it happen to be Islamic and dark!!

When can we understand that people should be judged based on personal qualifications and not national, colour, ideology...?
15:02 January 23, 2010 by Marc the Texan
Why not just pay for their resettlement in neighboring countries with similar culture. Most of these refugees never heard until they received their visas. Seriously! It's just a difficult situation for everyone. Why not reserve those spaces for the PhD student who wants to study in Sweden and allow the refugee who has lived a stone age life aspire to something more familiar in a neighboring country? This policy is idiocy.
01:00 January 24, 2010 by jonathanjames61
Honestly something is wrong somewhere with Swedish Immigration board,Immigrant are to contribute to development of the society,but some decisions makers at the immigration board need to be called to question,Now i know why they want more Somalians and Eritreans they believe they are fools and will not trouble the systems but they will soon be proved wrongs,even we the Saharan African finds it very ,very difficult to mix with Somalian,because of their way of life,i came from country with largest Muslims in Africa,although we have differences in our religion we still try to get along,but for Somalians and Eritreans they don't just want to blend,the next time the immigration is transferring them let it be 2 Somalian and 4 other nationality,may be this will help them to have a better look at the society they leave in. or else they will be creation a very dangerous feature society.
03:08 February 28, 2010 by Jamal_612
Dear Kaethar,

you come across as very judgmental, and the assumptions that you hold about the somalis are wrong. the primary priority that the somalis go to Sweden, America and elsewhere is for safety, and not to collect walfare benefits or become isolated . Anywhere they go, the majority of somalis are hard workers, and they are business oriented people. i live in minnesota which has the largest somali population in the west, and when we came to minnesota, we were refugees and had nothing, but today the somalis own some of the the biggest malls, restaurants and othar business. they are doctors, lawyers, teachers, and they are very productive part of the mainstream sociaty. unfortunately, the same is not true for our brothers and sisters in Sweden because unlike America, the Swedish system does not allow them to succeed. Most Somalis in Sweden, even though that they are thankful, complain about the lack of work. I am sure if there is opportunty to get off walfare and work, they would have done it becasue we did it in Minnesota. check out the link http://minnesotaindependent.com/1209/somali-refugees-hailed-for-moving-off-welfare-quickly PS the next time you run into somali, be open minded you will be supprised how friendly that they are
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