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Long wait for Swedish citizenship for some stateless migrants

Published måndag 17 oktober 2016 kl 10.41
Eziz Abdurahman: Hard to get a visa
(1:10 min)
Applicants who are stateless must nevertheless be able to prove their identity.
Applicants who are stateless must nevertheless be able to prove their identity. Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT, Santi Palacios/AP

Despite a commitment to fighting statelessness, Sweden often fails to grant citizenship to people without a country, because they cannot prove their identity.

Under international law it is illegal to deprive someone of citizenship and make them stateless, but some of the Kurdish migrants who come to Sweden from Syria do not have Syrian citizenship.

As part of a commitment to ending statelessness Sweden offers stateless migrants the chance to apply after four years in the country, instead of five. But Migration Agency statistics for the last five years show that 23 per cent of stateless applicants are rejected, compared to 13 per cent of applicants who already have another citizenship.

Eziz Abdurahman is a Syrian Kurd. He was rejected despite using a driving license from Lebanon and a UN travel document to prove his identity.

Being stateless means trouble when travelling.

"Especially when travelling outside the EU, then it's very hard to get a visa," says Eziz Abdurahman to Radio Sweden.

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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