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'No civil war in Somalia': Migration Board

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14:18 CET+01:00
Somalis seeking a residence permit in Sweden will face tighter restrictions in the near future, after the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) judged that the country was no longer at war.

"The fighting isn't regular enough to warrant calling it a civil war, but it is still a difficult situation," Migration Board legal expert Fredrik Beijer told news agency TT.

Until now, the majority of Somalis arriving in Sweden from southern and central parts of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, have been allowed to stay in Sweden.

But now that the agency has changed its assessment of the situation in the country from one of “war” to “serious adversity”, the evaluation process will focus on the threat against the individual asylum seeker rather than the wider conflict.

"The situation in the country is such that there will be no need for really serious individual reasons but they will no longer be able to point to the general situation in the country," said Beijer.

So far, some 90 percent of all asylum-seeking Somalis have been able to stay – and more or less everyone who has arrived from the areas worst hit by fighting has been granted a permit, but with the new rules Beijer thinks this figure will fall to about 80 to 85 percent.

Migration Board representatives visited Somalia in June to evaluate the situation in the country. They concluded that a joint offensive by the Somali interim government and the African Union against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab guerrilla movement had been successful, with the group being forced back in large areas of the country.

“The al-Shabaab movement has been severely weakened and the real fighting has ceased,” the agency stated in its decision.

The improved security situation makes it possible for people within the troubled areas of Somalia to make their escape to safer areas of the country, according to the agency.

“This is something we will need to assess now,” Beijer told TT.

TT/The Local/rm


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