(Source: CD/Håll ihop Sverige, ‘Keep Sweden Together’)

From being a humanitarian superpower, Sweden has now become a brutal country for numerous unaccompanied minors who since 2015 are waiting for justice and a dignified life to start.

Sweden’s asylum policy from the autumn of 2015 entailed major changes in both legislation and government practice. Sweden was one of the countries in the EU that received the most refugees in 2015. In the summer of 2016, a temporary law was passed restricting the right to asylum. In the coming years, several new laws came into force and strangled human rights severely. 

Many of Sweden’s unaccompanied youth, who sought protection from war and persecution, have lived in an inhuman uncertainty about their future since they were welcomed to Sweden five years ago.

During an unacceptable and inhuman waiting period with young lives being put in a limbo, these young people in need of protection have tried to adapt to constantly changing laws and regulations.

Many have committed suicide, or fallen into drug abuse, and/or surrendered to the Swedish sex trade in order to survive. The fear of being sent back to a war-torn country without any connections or future is creating depression and many are already suffering from PTSD.

With all this inhumanity and much more the Swedish campaign Håll ihop Sverige (‘Keep Sweden Together’) with its “ambassadors”, a group of well-known Swedes, lawyers, doctors, artists etc., have decided to file a complaint to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Human Rights Council in Geneva against the government of Sweden for its consistent pattern of gross and reliably attested violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of unaccompanied minors since 2015.

Extracts from the Håll ihop Sverige complaint to the UN

Over 35,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in Sweden in 2015, a stark increase over previous years. Most came from countries where they faced violence and persecution.

The majority are from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and Ethiopia. About half were 15 or younger. These children traveled on their own to Europe or became separated from their families in transit and have often experienced trauma and violence. Human Rights Watch and MSF have since 2016 documented the general lack of psychosocial support for this group in Sweden.

Sweden has severely compromised its commitments to right to asylum, the rights of the child, right to legal certainty and rule of law, right to life where everyone has the right to liberty and security of person for thousands of unaccompanied children arriving in Sweden in 2015.

Håll ihop Sverige requests an “intervention of the United Nations” based on the following facts:

  • Arbitrary age revaluations with unscientific medical assessments resulting in an age increase of children becoming adults overnight and being denied their rights as children… The Swedish Migration Agency’s own quality analysis showed many shortcomings in determining the age of these unaccompanied children.
  • Legally insecure asylum investigations and lock-in in the Swedish Migration Board’s detention center. Swedish lawyers and administrators at the Migration Board lack an ample knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan while handling delicate asylum processes. Making the legal uncertainty a central issue at hand, with no equality before law.
  • The government is not taking the steps it could to provide oversight of the care of the children. No national agency has the responsibility to track guardianship appointments, living arrangements, school enrollment, health screenings, or assessments by social workers. The general health condition is unacceptable, with, PTSD, anxiety, depression, nutritional deficiencies, dental problems, etc.
  • In addition, forced deportations to war-torn countries such as Afghanistan continue, contrary to recommendations from e.g. the UN, International Red Cross and Amnesty International.
  • Several young people have already committed suicide and almost weekly media reports confirm the same. The risk of suicide is tenfold increased as compared to the similar age-group with Swedish residency.
  • Some have become drug addicts or involved in sex trade in order to survive.
  • Hundreds of fairly integrated young people are fleeing Sweden today in the hope of finding a place that gives them protection, for instance to France. This particular youth have finished their high-school education in Sweden but face threat of deportation mainly to Afghanistan. In addition to ruined young human lives, they are separated from their new families in cases where they have been welcomed into Swedish families, school classes and sports associations around Sweden, greatly undermining trust in both authorities and politicians.
  • Inhuman deportations to Afghanistan from Sweden bear witness of disappearances, starvation, involvement in criminality and death. Many of the deported have been forced, where possible, to flee abroad again. According to the Swedish Migration Board, the number of people with deportation decisions who actually traveled to Afghanistan during 2017- April 2019 was 1,063. In November 2019, the border police stated that there were over 7,000 people in Sweden, including 1,000 children, who had current deportation decisions to Afghanistan, and that the police had difficulty in enforcing all deportation decisions. The Swedish government in its statements acknowledges the human rights situation in Afghanistan to be very difficult.

More news on Novena from Sweden:

10,000 Swedes demand permanent residency permits for unaccompanied migrant children


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.