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Why is Sweden Deporting Asylum Seekers to Syria?

Why is Sweden Deporting Asylum Seekers to Syria?

Sweden is continuing to try to remove Syrian asylum seekers, despite the appalling human rights situation in that country.

The attempted removals have led to protests by opposition Social Democrats.

Four Social Democrat leaders wrote to the Svenska Dagbladet daily:

“The Foreign Ministry (Utrikesdepartementet) has for a long time discouraged people from visiting Syria and is now advising Swedes to leave the country.”

“If the ministry doesn’t deem the country to be safe for Swedes, then why is it acceptable to deport politically active refugees there?” they wrote.

They described it as hypocrisy to stand up for human rights and support cries for democracy on the one hand, and at the same time decline to offer protection to those who have fled a violent regime.

At least 3,500 people according to a new estimate by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 200 of them children, have been killed during the demonstrations in Syria.

“In the light of this it is both surprising and worrying that the Swedish state is pursuing a restrictive asylum policy where politically active people are forcibly deported into the hands of a regime which uses its entire military superiority to strike down a mainly unarmed and peaceful opposition movement,” the Social Democrats wrote.

The website Human Rights 666 reports that threats from Syrian agents were directed at those present Tuesday and trying to prevent the removal of a Syrian asylum seeker and political activist Fars Mahmoud by Sweden. Activist Mikael Johansson, who runs the website, says:

“How can it be that anyone even consider to send an individual back to a country that is exposing dissidents for punishments that we only believe exists in the world of American movies. Fars Mahmoud was active in a Kurdish movement in Syria – an organization that the regime is brutally persecuting. The Party’s spokesman Mashal Tammo was brutally murdered by the regime’s agents in the town Qamishli 7th of October.”

Amongst those present at Stockholm Airport trying to stop the removal of Mahmoud was a local Stockholm city council member.  He confirmed the presence of Syrian Embassy staff working with airport staff and asked that the removal be stopped as a result, but at the time of writing there is no confirmation that it was stopped.

Sweden’s neighbor Norway stopped removing asylum seekers to Syria in April, as have most other European countries.

Human Rights 666 has produced letters to the relevant Swedish authorities to protest the removal of Mahmoud.

 

Related stories:

Gay Syrian Calls for Gays to Join Fight Against Assad

Over 3,000 Syrians — 187 Children — Killed In Protests

Arab League Warns of Catastrophe If Syria Breaks Peace Deal

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Photo credit: ElvertBarnes

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69 comments

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4:03AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:25PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Part 2. The way we as a global community are treating refugees is dispicable. Those of us who are safe and secure and comfortable; who haven't faced torture, imprisonment, death, etc wouldn't treat our animals this way. And those countries allegedly supporting the "good guys" in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East are actively creating more refugees.
My philosophy is "What goes around, comes around." What I do for someone today, someone else, somewhere, some place, some time will return the kindness to me or mine. Its called Karma.

9:16PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

My faith in human nature is being sapped by some of the posts and attitudes illustrated here. Most of us were immigrants at some time or other whether many generations ago or more recently. There weren't as many people on the planet and "nations" were not defined by borders.
Now the world has over 7 billion people and 90 million of them are refugees. Refusing refuge on the basis of religion, skin colour or specious arguments about "anti-social behaviour" or criminal elements is not only uncaring but seems to emanate from self satisfied, jingoistic and sanctimonious segments of society.However well meaning these people are they overlook the wars, violence, poverty, hunger,and suffering that is here and now.

Australia sadly, regardless of its signing of the International Convention on Refugees, has a very poor record on its asylum seekers, particularly those who undertake a potentially deadly journey by boat to get here. It incarcerates people including children, in usually remote detention centres, sometimes for years. Yet these people (yes humans) have committed no crime. Both Amnesty International and the UNHCR have reported adversely on this system of mandatory detention. The mental heath aspects of forced detention are extraordinary and the Government's compensation bill is growing daily as more detainees take their cases to court.
Unfortunately, although there are many people who are fighting for these people, there are others who object to offering refugees any a

8:05AM PST on Nov 13, 2011

This is what happens when you allow people to enter your country because they no longer like theirs and once granted equal rights think its time to convert their newly found home to their beliefs. They did not want them there and now we don't want them here. Just so everyone understands, when I immigrated to this country I left all my old believes behind they don't belong in my newly found home, and now I am a proud American. After having served in the Army I am still willing to die for this country (MY COUNTRY).

5:09PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Sweden has the courage of it's convictions. It is doing what it believes to be best for the country. We have many so called 'refugees' in Australia who are not refugees per se! The bar has been lowered to let all and sundry in and the genuine refugees may very well be sidelined.

10:53AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

To Matilda, William and so many others. There are no statistics in Sweden on how many and what sort of crimes are committed by immigrants, for a very simple reason: Swedish authoroties do not classify after those groups. Statistiska Centralbyran (www.scb.se) collects and produces statistics on basically everything in the country. So far I haven't seen any stats about national origin of prisoners and other sentenced criminals.
As for the article, I can't say if it's true or not, since all refugees are treated on an individual level. Immigrant agencies do not just block certain nationalities from getting asylum. They look into every person's individual circumstances and make their ruling based on that. If this is always a correct asessment? Not likely, because there are cases of individual refugees with legal reasons to stay, that have been denied refugee status.
But also, everyone commenting on this article, remember that the small town of Sodertalje have accepted more refugees from Iraq and Afganistan that USA and UK combined. And who have stirred up the trouble in those countries?
BTW, Sweden is a country of merely 9,400,000 inhabitants. There are several states in the USA with more inhabitants than that.
I also want to remind yall about another problem: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2480/spain-dog-poisoning
Not everything in life and the world are either black or white. There are more than two sides to a story.

3:54AM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Roopak V, where do you get your information on immigrants in countries? You are so wrong. Switzerland has many immigrants. The problems they are having because of so many of them is why they've been in the news the past year with new laws to be able to deport immigrants who commit crimes etc. All European countries take in immigrants. It is EU policy & law.

We live in Spain (as immigrants) where around 10% or more of our population are immigrants. Some of them are very hostile & make it clear they are here to impose their religion on all the rest of us, others have a high number of criminals among them. We can understand Sweden's problem very well.

There are many articles & youtube vids about the immigrants who are draining the welfare systems in Sweden & other EU states, causing soaring sex & hate crimes against the native peoples, setting up their own states within states where they ignore the country's laws they have chosen to live in & committing acts of violence & anti-social behavior that is unacceptable in civilized countries.

More European countries are toughening immigration laws because there are so many uncivilized immigrants from certain countries who refuse to assimilate & only want to impose their own Medieval religious intolerance on the whole population. We've all had enough! They're using our tolerance & freedoms to destroy us.

11:16AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Letter sent.

9:18AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Too bad there isn't more info in this article. It doesn't give the government's side of the story. Sweden is known for its tolerance & has one of the largest immigrant communities in the EU & they have some of the worst problems because of that.

Malmo has been mentioned here. Malmo is near 25% Muslim. They have taken over an entire section of the city, established it as a Muslim zone where natives dare not enter, including the police & firefighters. They have pressured the schools to stop teaching about the holocaust & they have driven virtually all the Jews out of the city with threats & violence - Jews who were given asylum there in WWII to save them from the Nazis.

The Muslims are demanding many things & many are not making any efforts to assimilate, spit on their laws, culture & customs, sexual assaults by Muslim immigrants have risen sharply, as it has in many other EU countries, & people are tired of it. That's why this party was elected - the most conservative party for decades (tho nothing like the conservatives in the US)

It would be nice to know more on the 'why'. There may be good reasons. We shouldn't judge them without more info. The US has no idea what it is like to have as large a Muslim population as there is now in Europe - estimates go as high as 54million. It is like having the Trojan Horse inside of our lands.

12:59AM PST on Nov 11, 2011

Barbara. You really didn't mean to say that, did you. Sorry but the this is a global problem, not one country's problem. If the latter were the case, each country would mind its own business, not interfere in the affairs of others as the US is wont to do eg in Afghanistan and Iraq to name but two. No one would do anything about global problems. It's nice to be insular and parochial but we are one world, one planet and if we are to survive, we had better start sharing and being concerned for one another, particularly for those in need and distress. Don't hide your head in the sand. Don't be "See nothing, hear nothing, say nothing". Tomorrow you may need someone to speak up for you.

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