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Three Swedish ministers face grilling from MPs over Kabul evacuation

Sweden's opposition has called three ministers for a grilling by the parliament's most powerful committee over the government's treatment of Afghan interpreters and other staff during the evacuation of Kabul.

Swedish government ministers Morgan Johansson, Ann Linde and Peter Hultqvist
Morgan Johansson (l), Ann Linde (c) and Peter Hultqvist (r) face a grilling from the Swedish parliament's most powerful committee. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Moderate Party has called Morgan Johansson, Sweden’s justice minister; Ann Linde, its foreign minister; and Peter Hultqvist, its defence minister, for formal questioning in front of the Committee on the Constitution, which is the parliamentary body empowered to investigate the government’s actions. 

“We consider that the government has failed both in practice and in procedure when it comes to the evacuation from Afghanistan,” Pål Jonsson, the Moderate Party MP who reported them to the committee, told the Swedish broadcaster TV4.

In the application, Hultqvist and Johansson are accused of providing “completely incorrect information”. It claims that it was unconstitutional to treat translators and other local staff separately from Sweden’s existing refugee quota, and also that there were as many as 10,000 Afghan staff who, together with their family and dependents, could potentially come to Sweden, more than accommodated within the refugee quota.

“At root, this is about being able to demand from government representatives that the information they provide is correct, and should not be misleading or misrepresentative,” Jonson writes.

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In the application, Jonsson noted that foreign ministry employees had confirmed the impression the the government had acted too late and too slowly, and sharply criticised the way the government had handled local employees at Sweden’s embassy in Kabul.  

“They have, among other things, highlighted that there was no concrete plan for how the safety of local employees should be secured,” he writes. 

Johansson welcomed the investigation, saying it was “natural” that the parliament should investigate the operation.

“The government and its agencies had to solve a very difficult situation under extreme and dramatic circumstances and I am proud of the rescue operation which was carried out,” he said.

Sweden evacuated around 1,100 people from Afghanistan during the operation which concluded on August 27th, and the Foreign Ministry is currently working on a second phase of evacuation via neighbouring countries, Sveriges Radio has reported.

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LGBT

Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

Multiple political parties in Sweden's parliament want to ban so-called conversion therapy, which aims to change young LGBT+ individuals’ sexual orientation.

Swedish political parties call for ban on conversion therapy

The Liberals have campaigned for a ban for some time, and a motion has now been submitted to parliament by the Social Democrats. Now, the Moderates and the Centre Party are joining them in calling for conversion therapy to be made illegal, Sweden’s public broadcaster Radio Ekot reports.

“The entire idea is that homosexuality is an illness which can and should be treated. That is, obviously, completely incorrect and a very out-of-place view in a modern society,” Centre’s spokesperson on legal issues, Johan Hedin, told the radio.

Conversion therapy consists of subjecting LGBT+ individuals to pressure or force to hide their sexuality or gender identity. According to MUCF, the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, it occurs “to a not insignificant extent” in Sweden.

“We think there should be a ban. Sweden should be a tolerant country, where nonsense like this quite simply shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Johan Forssell, the Moderate’s legal spokesperson told Radio Ekot.

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