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Failed asylum-seekers may get welcome in Kabul

Updated lördag 1 juni 2013 kl 17.34
Published lördag 1 juni 2013 kl 12.50
The welcome center would receive child asylum-seekers whom Sweden has turned away. Photos: Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio.

The Swedish Migration Board is negotiating with the Afghan authorities over opening a welcome center in Kabul, where the Board would be able to send unaccompanied youth asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected by the Swedish authority. However, the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden has doubts about the project.

The migration board hopes that the youth would be able to live in the center while waiting to be reunited with their relatives.

"The family could go there, stay with the child, or the child could stay alone. It's a good way to land in the country before travelling on their way," Ulrik Åshuvud from the migration board explains to Swedish Radio News.

Fredrik Malmberg, the ombudsman for children in Sweden, tells news agency TT that he is concerned about children who may have fled from militant, armed groups to which they may have been recruited. "If they flee to a home which is easily identifiable in Kabul, they can become easy victims," says Malmberg.

However, Åshuvud replies that in these cases, children should not be sent back to Afghanistan in the first place.

The welcome center is part of a project that the migration board has been working on for the past couple of years, along with Norway, the U.K., and the Netherlands, as more and more unaccompanied minors seek asylum in Europe.

The idea is that Afghan authorities would run the center with support from international experts.

The migration board is also discussion whether children would be able to be sent to the center after being forcibly deported from Sweden.

The migration board says they will have already researched where the child's parents are, so the intention is for the child to stay at the center for up to a few weeks. However, if no one comes to fetch the child, it is possible that the child will be able to live in the welcome center even until they reach adulthood, says Åshuvud.

The government has tasked the migration board with turning away more unaccompanied youth asylum-seekers who lack grounds for receiving asylum, and Åshuvud believes the welcome center will lead to more children being turned away.

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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