‘Undocumented kids have a right to school’

The Swedish government has appointed a commission with the task of establishing the right of children of illegal immigrants to attend school.

Education minister Jan Björklund is confident that the proposal will eventually become law, Sveriges Radio reports.

“It is maybe a question of several hundred, or perhaps thousand, children who are in Sweden but currently have no right to go to school,” Björklund said to Ekot.

“We reason that all children in the world, regardless of where they live and regardless of their parents rights or wrongs, have a right to a school education.”

The commission of inquiry will consider the rights of children whose parents have come to Sweden illegally and may not have applied for residence permits, or may have had their applications rejected. There are no figures as to how many children there are, Sveriges Radio reports.

Jan Björklund categorically promises that if the Alliance government remains in power after the next general election (in September 2010) then legislation will be passed to enable all children in Sweden, regardless of status, access to schooling.

The plans were welcomed by Christina Heilborn, a lawyer at Unicef.

“We are very happy and welcome this decision. This is also something that we have previously demanded,” she said.

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