Anger mounts over two-year-old’s deportation

A petition against the deportation of a two-year-old girl from Sweden to France has received 30,000 signatures. The case has led to renewed calls to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Swedish law.

Anger mounts over two-year-old's deportation

The decision by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to deport the two-year-old Haddile to France in an effort to reunite her with her mother has received widespread criticism from the Swedish public and children’s rights organizations.

The girl’s mother, who is Algerian but has French citizenship, disappeared 20 days after giving birth at a hospital in Lund in the south of Sweden. Her whereabouts are still unknown.

Haddile’s step father took care of her when the mother disappeared but he was accused of abuse after Haddile was admitted to hospital with serious brain damage at the age of four months.

Haddile then ended up in foster care and her foster parents say they are willing to adopt her.

In light of this case, several Swedish political parties are now calling for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to be fully incorporated into Swedish law.

“If the child convention were part of Swedish law, children’s legal position would be strengthened. A political majority in the government wants the convention to become Swedish law, but nothing happens,” said Emma von Corswant, a children’s rights lawyer at Unicef, in a statement.

Unicef says the handling of Haddile’s case goes against Article 2 in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifies children’s rights to be protected against discrimination.

In an opinion piece for the Newsmill website, Stina Bengtsson of the Centre Party called for the child convention to be incorporated into Swedish law. The Social Democrat migration spokesperson, Fredrik Lundh, made a similar appeal in a statement to the TT news agency.

The deportation decision has been appealed to the Migration court, but Mikael Ribbenvik of the Swedish Migration Board told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) that he believes the court, too, will push for reunification – though it might reassess whether it should happen in Sweden or France.

Ribbenvik also said the Migration Board will investigate its handling of the case.

The petition against Haddile’s deportation is a private initiative.

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Migration Board worker took bribes for passports

A court in Malmö has jailed a former Migration Board worker and his accomplice for taking bribes in exchange for residence permits and passports for asylum seekers desperate to stay in Sweden.

Migration Board worker took bribes for passports
The Swedish Migration Board's offices in Malmö. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

In a bribery case that first came to light in the summer of 2012, three men were charged with selling Swedish residence permits, forged Bulgarian passports and other identity documents to refugees seeking shelter in Sweden. 

The court gave one of the suspects a three-year prison sentence for taking bribes and helping to forge documents. 

The 53-year-old ex-case officer earned 450,000 kronor ($54,000) from taking bribes in seven separate cases, the court said. 

A 56-year-old accomplice was jailed for a year and a half for forging passports and other forms of identification. 

A second Migration Board case officer, a 47-year-old man, was cleared of the charges against him. 

Investigators found that the asylum seekers, who hailed from Africa and the Middle East, were given forged Bulgarian passports which allowed them to remain in the European Union.

Some also paid the migration agency workers to obtain Swedish residency permits.

The false passports gave the asylum seekers the right to remain in Sweden based on the residency rights afforded all EU citizens.

Suspicions about the scheme emerged after an internal Migration Board investigation, prompting the agency to notify police.