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Asylum seekers' hunger strike growing in Sweden

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08:54 CEST+02:00
Eleven Afghanis and Iranians have gone on hunger strike in the north of Sweden after their asylum applications were turned down.

Six people from Afghanistan and Iran went on hunger strike on Sunday in an asylum seekers' residence managed by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) in Holmsund, Västerbotten county.

On Thursday, five Afghani men started a hunger strike protest outside the offices of the Migration Board in Boden, Norbotten county.

The Afghani men in Boden have taped their mouths shut to demonstrate that they are refusing to eat or drink, reported local newspaper Norrländska Socialdemokraten (NSD).

They have been in Sweden between two and four years but recently received notice that they will not be granted the right to remain.

"They are prepared to keep up their hunger strike until they get residence permits or until they die," said Ajmal Zadran, a spokesman for the Afghanis.

There are between 100 and 150 Afghanis in Boden and Zadran said that more men are prepared to join the hunger strike.

The six Afghani and Iranian asylum seekers in Holmsund are also protesting against their deportation orders. Two of them were taken to hospital late Thursday night as their condition worsened, reported Sveriges Television (SVT).

The Migration Board called in extra staff to the asylum seekers' residence in Holmsund.

"We are doing so in order to ensure that nothing goes wrong," Migration Board spokesman Fredrik Bengtsson told news agency TT.

According to Bengtsson, the Migration Board is well aware of the current situation in Afghanistan and said that is why around 75 percent of Afghani asylum seekers are granted residence permits in Sweden.

"But we have to make individual judgements," said Bengtsson. There is no general need of protection for Afghanis. You still need to be under personal threat [to be granted asylum] and many are," he said.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

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