Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iraqi refugees putting strain on Sweden

Sweden, which once welcomed Iraqi refugees with open arms, has begun to limit asylum requests, BBC News reported on March 21.

The country is home to more Iraqi refugees than any other European nation. In Soerdertaelje, a small industrial town southwest of Stockholm, about 30 asylum seekers arrive from Iraq each week, according to Anders Lago, the town’s mayor. Forty percent of Soerdertaelje’s population is first and second generation immigrants.

“Matthew,” an Iraq refugee, said that he chose Sweden as a place of asylum because “When you hear that Sweden has fought its last war 400 years ago, there’s no expecting any war. So you feel you can live in safety. You feel more human.”

According to the article, “Witnessing how immigrants are welcomed to a small town like Soedertaelje, it is not hard to see why so many Iraqi asylum seekers have chosen Sweden.”

However, overcrowding has been a consequence of the large influx, with as many as 15 immigrants living in one home. The Swedish government has also begun to take preventive measures to ease the strain.

The article states, “In 2007, Sweden’s Migration Board approved 72% of all Iraqi asylum requests…In January and February of this year, the majority of Iraqi requests for asylum were turned down.”

For the full article, click here.


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