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Sweden deports Iraqi refugees amid protests

AFP/The Local · 20 Jan 2011, 07:47

Published: 20 Jan 2011 07:47 GMT+01:00

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Deportations to Iraq also took place in Denmark.

"In total, 26 people were deported, 20 from Sweden and six from Denmark" on board a plane travelling to Baghdad on Wednesday, the Stockholm police said in a statement.

Ahead of the deportations, human rights groups and the UN refugee agency UNHCR had called on the countries to rethink the move, insisting it was too dangerous to send the rejected asylum seekers -- reportedly some of them Christians and homosexuals who risk persecution -- back to Iraq.

"The deportations were in accordance with expulsion orders from the Swedish National Migration Board (Migrationsverket), immigration courts and ordinary courts, which were handed over to police authorities," police said.

Earlier on Wednesday, police detained 25 people who protested outside an asylum seeker detention center near the Swedish capital. The protesters were reportedly part of a group of up to 100 people trying to block the mass deportation.

The Swedish section of Amnesty International had asked Immigration Minister Tobias Billström to halt the return of Iraqis, while the country's Christian Council also called for a suspension of deportations to Iraq, especially of members of ethnic or religious minority groups in that country.

Their calls were echoed by the UNHCR, which on Tuesday expressed strong concern at reports that Sweden planned to send Iraqis back to Baghdad despite repeated warnings that conditions there are unsafe.

On Tuesday, 70 people were detained after demonstrating outside offices of the Swedish Migration Board near the southwestern city of Gothenburg and amid rising criticism of the deportations.

Story continues below…

Swedish immigration authorities ruled in 2007 that "there is no armed conflict in Iraq" and that it was therefore acceptable to return Iraqi citizens to their country. The ruling meant that Iraqis were no longer automatically granted asylum.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have fled the war in their country to resettle in Sweden, with official statistics showing 117,900 people born in Iraq lived in the Scandinavian country in 2009, up from 49,400 in 2000.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:55 January 20, 2011 by kcussmilsum
YaaaaaHoooooo !!!

It's about time & Thanks Very Much!

Bye Bye, then : )
09:33 January 20, 2011 by jwlundgren
I am highly conservative and even I have a problem with the 'no armed conflict in Iraq' statement. Wasn't a church overtaken recently and the congregation shot in Baghdad?
09:55 January 20, 2011 by Strongbow

Sporadic acts of terrorism aren't armed conflict. They are no worse off than the other minorities already living there.
10:38 January 20, 2011 by Ravioli
I think that it needs to be made crystal clear to people exactly WHO is persecuting these Christians and homosexuals in their homeland and WHY that is?

I wonder why more articles don't answer those questions?
12:11 January 20, 2011 by Nemesis
This is very strange.

Swedish authorities are still approaching Iraqi's who are refugee's in Jordan and offering them a place in Sweden.

Speak to the Iraqi's in SFI and you will find they were approached outside Iraq to come to Sweden by the Swedish themselves.
13:36 January 20, 2011 by laura ka baal
All the Pastors have been referred as GAY ,n child abuser,they need no introduction, deport 20, 20000 will come back again,now they are everywhere,we have to breathe,eat dine and wine with them,its too late ,Yaaahooooooooooooo!!! will go then hotmail will come then gmail so need for yahooooooooo.
16:11 January 20, 2011 by millionmileman
This is a crying shame as the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Iraq in particular is going into overdrive. It seems that the compassion of Raoul Wallenberg has all but disappeared.

These refugees are facing a horrific future.
16:54 January 20, 2011 by Strongbow
I don't recall Sweden taking any African Americans as refugees in the 1960's either, when they were being murdered in broad daylight by the ethnic/religious majority.
16:54 January 20, 2011 by kenny8076
its funny all the protesters are always young, unemployed, students, who dont pay taxes to take care of these people they want so bad to stay...... get a job, raise a family with outrageous taxes, educate yourself on where your money is going, THEN come back and protest it...... until then, go get an education that people with jobs will pay for you and shut up.
16:59 January 20, 2011 by Syftfel
The line in the sand must be drawn somewhere, these pathetic, usesless, socialists, Mona supporters, and anarchists notwithstanding. Also, thanks to the valiant efforts of the US and its allies, Iraq is today a booming democracy, albeit in its infancy. These deportees are well advised to go back with their heads held high, rid theor country of the mullahs, and start working towards a democratic, capitalist, Iraq. I wish them all well.
20:45 January 20, 2011 by Sweetdishgurl
YES!!!!! GET THEM OUT ASAP! No more asylum seekers please! So sick of how STUPID Sweden is for taking them in the first place. The country is destroyed from the ones that are there already. Malmö is more like "little Baghdad" and the area of Rosengård is a horror ghetto zone of violence. Sweden needs to kick all the thugs OUT!
23:28 January 20, 2011 by dt804a
For a different view on the matter, underscoring that persecuted Iraqi Christians have been deported into the lion's den, see this article: "Sweden Deports Christian Refugees Back to Terror in Iraq" at


This reminds me of Sweden's conduct during WW II, about which one can read (inter alia) in Wikipedia under "Sweden during WW II".
03:02 January 21, 2011 by jbat
Welcome to the local... Sweden's "Little America"!!!
06:43 January 21, 2011 by VicTaulic
This is good. Keep Sweden nice and pure so I can enjoy all the blond women when I retire to here. thank you very much.
10:42 January 21, 2011 by jbat
kenny8076.. maybe you should learn too about who own this country.. Swedish or moaner taxpayer like you!

Sweetdishgurl the Troll??? I bet you are not Swedish because you smell like bushher citizen!

This country will always be safer with weak refugees and asylum seekers but will be in great danger with moaner immigrants like you. Now you moan about refugee, then when no more refugee, you moan about what Swedish should to in their own country, then you moan about what you should get, then you moan about this country should belong to you too and want more power and share...and then finally you make this country like your own "little USA".. and Swedish people no longer own this country as it should..

opss.. I forgot you great great great grandfathers and grandmothers have done this really really really well againts red indian people...

Viva USA the new world order aka new war maker!
12:06 January 21, 2011 by big5
It's worth mentioning that out of 280 appeals to the European court, in 270 cases the court upheld Sweden's decision to deport. This puts Amnesty International's and the UNHCR's reservations in some important perspective.


The fact is, several fully loaded passenger airplanes a week go back and forth between the Kurdish north of Iraq and Stockholm: not with deportees, but with refugees living in Sweden who are going home to visit with friends and family there.
15:30 January 21, 2011 by BCIS
Good for Sweden. It's about time. People are being persecuted all over the world, does that mean they should all be allowed into Sweden to fester off of its social welfare system? IDTS!!

And, hell...even if they're Christians or Homosexuals. If they keep their mouths shut, then who will know they're Christians or Homo? I know for fact that not all muslims go to the mosque for prayer call (and that's in the most strictest of muslim countries, Saudi Arabia), so that wouldn't be a give away. You don't have to go to church, read your bible in your home. Gays are persecuted all over the world, even in western societies, it is not a reason for asylum to be granted.

My husband, a Swedish citizen who's actually Swedish, whose parents are Swedish, and whose parent's parents are Swedish, and who have paid more than their share of taxes, could not get help from the government when he was finishing up his degree and fell on hard times. They could offer him no assistance whatsoever. He wasn't needy enough, with kids. He was being punished for paying taxes for years and years and for having the audacity to "do it right." If he were a drug addict or an "asylum seeker" he would have been given money and a place to stay. Sweden needs to worry about its own citizens versus trying to maintain some type of global image of trying to heal the world, thereby being a dumping ground for all of the earths misfortunes and miscreants.
22:31 January 22, 2011 by johnny1939
Why not send the Iraqis to USA. They started the war and should be responsible for the aftermath. I believe poor Sween takes in the most of these people in the World or am I wrong? If I am right we have probably been forced by the Americans to do so. I thought that Obama would end these wars but oh no, he is just as bad and evil as G. Bush.
00:28 January 23, 2011 by Uncle
Eeehh... johnny1939....

Just a friendly reminder... Iraqis invaded Iran and accordingly to most estimates, killed around 600,000 Iranis (some say that it was 1,000,000 people).

Iraqis attacked Kurds in Al-Anfal campaign and killed around 200,000 civilians with chemical weapons.

Iraqis invaded Kuwait and caused 50%(!) of Kuwait population to flee.

Now what I would like to know, how many Irani, Kurd and Kuwaiti refugees were accepted by Iraq when it was pounding these people with chemical weapons, napalm and SCUDs? Eh? How many refugee housings were built there? Did they provide these hundreds of thousands with a job? How about education? Healthcare perhaps?

Oh.... I have never heard of such generosity by Iraqis whenever THEY were the ones who were all "bad and evil"... Perhaps you would care to enlighten me and open my eyes to the unprecedented displays of Iraqi charity towards their neighbours?
19:47 January 25, 2011 by GOWHITE
Well I guess if the United Nations and Amnesty have a problem with that then they do have the power to send them somewhere else if they feel they should not go back to Iraq! Plain and simple!

13:31 January 26, 2011 by Chickybee
Iraq Christians (if they really are Christians) should be allowed to stay.
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