Discrimination “part of Migration Board culture”

This week's scandal surrounding the Swedish Board of Migration is nothing new, according to a forthcoming academic study in which Swedish migration policy is described as nationalistic and discriminatory.

Instead, the kind of behaviour which has been revealed is part of a culture which has existed among employees for many years.

The study, which was leaked to Svenska Dagbladet, revealed a letter from a senior migration officer to the former director general, Berit Rollén. In the letter, the manager wrote that Somalians had a “deficient education and a diffuse idea of things”. She went on to say that the group had “major difficulties with health awareness, birth control, the spreading of diseases and so on”.

That particular manager is no longer working at the Board of Migration.

The current head of the organisation, Janna Valik, distanced herself from the contents of the letter and said that this sort of language is no longer used at the Board.

“Since 1999/2000 we have had a language programme, with clearly defined rules, so this sort of thing can’t happen,” said Valik to SvD.

In the study, researcher Christina Johansson argued that Somalians as a group have faced an unusual degree of discrimination by the organisation.

But Janna Valik emphasised that the negative attitudes at the Board of Migration are a problem for the whole of society, rooted in the Swedish psyche – not just an issue within the organisation.

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TT/The Local