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Sweden to Return Refugee Children

Published fredag 11 juni 2010 kl 15.55

Sweden will introduce a new system this summer for returning refugee children who travel to Sweden alone.

Each year hundreds of children travel to Sweden seeking refugee status. Last year alone, more than 2000 refugees under the age of 18 arrived here arrived here from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“We will begin sending cases to our colleagues in Iraq and Afghanistan to see if they can find parents and help to reunite families,” Migration Board general director, Dan Eliasson, told Swedish Radio news.

According to the migration board, a certain number of refugee children want to return to their families.

Others - the 30 percent who are not accepted as refugees - will also be sent back using the new system, where Sweden will contact authorities in Iraq and Afghanistan for help to reunite children with their families.

When asked what guarantees Sweden will get that the children will be properly treated in their home countries, Eliasson said no child will be returned unless Swedish authorities are convinced that there is “good contact with the parents and that we know where the child is going”.

He added that the policy will most likely result in more children being deported.

“Yes, I am totally convinced, that there are children who do not have the right to be in Sweden, who rather than living in uncertain circumstances here would prefer to go home to their parents.”

But what about the children who don’t want to go back to their war torn countries?

Anke Carlsson, responsible for refugee children at the Red Cross in Sweden said that although her organization supports reuniting children with their families, there are hazards.

“We’re talking about countries where there is war and conflict and it is very complex and difficult to asses children’s asylum rights – this should be a priority,” she said.

“We need to ensure the children’s rights are not violated. Can the families protect them from what they fled from in the first place?”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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