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Government mulls new law to force care for asylum kids

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11:01 CET+01:00
Government parties have called for legislation to force municipalities to care for children seeking asylum amid recent protests over the housing of young refugees in Vellinge in southern Sweden.

On Thursday, around 30 asylum-seeking boys from Afghanistan and Somalia moved into temporary accommodation in Vellinge, outside of Malmö.

The local council and residents fought a bitter battle over the issue after having long-been opposed to offering care of asylum seekers.

In light of these events, government politicians say they are running out of patience with county councils and are discussing legislation to force them to take their share of responsibility.

Centre Party migration spokesperson Fredrick Federley was among those arguing that patience had run out.

”We have ensured that they gain a financial incentive. We have appealed to their humanity, to their compassion, and to their societal responsibility.” he told the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

Of the country's 290 municipalities, only 103 have an agreement with the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) over asylum housing issues. According to SvD there are currently 500 asylum children in Sweden with nowhere to live.

Politicians are calling for a unified approach to the problem and state that municipalities should not control their own asylum and migration policies.

The government's alliance parties are now considering legislation, which would force local councils to house children.

”We have to think about new measures. And that is to go in and legislate,” said Gunnar Axén, chair of Sweden's National Social Insurance Committee (Socialförsäkringsutskottet).

The parties are now discussing how a possible law could be implemented and whether a quota system would work.

Concerns have however been raised over such a proposal. Referring to the Vellinge case Fredrick Federley adds that children must be taken to a place where they are welcomed.

”We have to offer children security and protection,” he said.

“You can't put them in a place where they are hated from the very beginning.”

Sweden's opposition parties have already discussed the issue and are in agreement that more pressure needs to be put on local councils.

”More municipalities must take responsibility,” said Veronica Palm, Social Democrat MP and vice chair of the National Social Insurance Committee.

”We had hoped that a system could work between municipalities and the Migration Board but now it seems things have come to a halt.”

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