Swedish passports no help abroad

Dual citizens are finding that Swedish passports are not much help when they run into trouble abroad.

A unanimous government voted to allow dual citizenship in 2001, with the intention of increasing immigration. But when dual citizens are arrested abroad, the Swedish passport can be ignored under the Hague convention.

“We hear that ‘we don’t have any Swede here’,” says Christina Palm, head of the consular group at the Swedish Foreign Ministry, which tries to help Swedish citiczens who have been arrested abroad.

“They say the case is theirs and none of our business.”

Svenska Dagbladet interviewed Swedes from eleven countries and found that some are detained while others are harassed. The newspaper says Tunisia, for example, detains women at the border if they do not have male travel companions.

The Foreign Ministry said it knows of 165 Swedish citizens who are currently jailed abroad. Most often detainees are stopped while crossing borders, but drug crimes are also cited as a common reason for detention.

Christina Palm says dual citizens might have too much confidence in the Swedish passport and urges people to think twice about local laws and policies on dual citizens before travelling abroad.

Ulla Hoffman, a Left Party representative, was surprised by the news.

“These people have acquired citizenship that gives them even less protection. It’s terrible!”

She continued: “We wanted to make it easier to be Swedish and didn’t imagine that certain people would suffer this way.”

No one knows how many Swedes hold passports from other countries as well, but the Swedish Migration Board is certain that it is more than 300,000 – that, at least, is how many held two passports before Swedish law allowed it.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet