Last month, The Local wrote about the case of Hind Aleryani, who applied for asylum in Sweden this year after she and her daughter started receiving threats related to her work as a journalist and activist.
But Aleryani's attempts to find a safe haven in Sweden have so far been unsuccessful. The Migration Agency is refusing to take on her case. Because she has a valid Schengen visa from visiting the Czech Republic for a work conference in 2017, the agency is citing the Dublin Regulation to argue she has to travel there to apply for asylum.
Since The Local's first article, the #HindNotANumber hashtag has gained traction on social media, with the journalist receiving support from organizations including UN Women Yemen, Reporters Without Borders, the Swedish Journalism Union and Swedish PEN. On Friday campaigners led by Swedish-Kurdish writer Kurdo Baksi demonstrated outside the Migration Agency in Sundbyberg, calling for her protection.
Campaigners demonstrating in front of a sign reading 'Stop the deportation of Hind Aleryani'. Photo: Hind Aleryani
Today, The Local has published a new video interview with Aleryani. She says she is thankful for the support, but feels that Swedish authorities are treating her like “just a number”. Scroll down to watch the video.
Hers is not the only story.
The Local has covered numerous cases where people have been forced to leave Sweden, often over issues beyond their control. There is an unwillingness from authorities to see past the rules and look at the person.
Regulations are necessary. But they are supposed to be there for a reason: to regulate the migration process, not to become immovable bureaucratic obstacles that benefit neither Sweden nor the people hit by them.
Asylum seekers, work permit holders, citizenship applicants, trailing spouses, international students, Brexit migrants, border crossers, EU residents, et cetera, are real people. It is time to start treating them as such.
Hind is not a number, and neither is anyone else.