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Afghan parliament rejects bilateral agreement with Sweden

Published onsdag 30 november 2016 kl 13.35
Updated onsdag 30 november 2016 kl 16.30
Morgan Johansson: We can still apply the EU-agreement
(2:56 min)
Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson.
Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson. Credit: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The Afghan parliament has rejected the bilateral agreement that would ensure that Afghanistan accepts its nationals, if they are deported from Sweden.

The agreement was signed by the two countries in the beginning of October, and was at the time welcomed by the Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, as something that would be a big help in the process of returning Afghan citizens whose asylum application in Sweden has been turned down.

So far this year, some 700 people have been returned to Afghanistan, after they were denied asylum here, but this number would rise significantly in the future, said Johansson in October.

After a majority in the Afghan parliament voted no to the agreement, Johansson said it is still unclear how this will affect this process.

"It is still too early to judge the importance of this vote. We are contacting the Afghan government as we speak to clarify this question. But even if we are not able to apply any bilateral agreements, we can still apply the agreement between the EU and Afghanistan, the one called "joint way forward". This agreement gives us the same possibilities to carry out returns, as the bilateral agreement would have done," Morgan Johansson told Swedish Radio News on Wednesday.

The Afghan parliament has rejected the bilateral agreement between Sweden and Afghanistan that would ensure that Afghanistan accepts its nationals, if they are deported from Sweden.

The agreement was signed by the two countries in the beginning of October, and was at the time welcomed by the Minister for Justice and Migration Morgan Johansson as something that would significantly help the process of returning Afghan citizens whose asylum application in Sweden has been turned down.

So far this year, some 700 people have been returned to Afghanistan, after they were denied asylum here, but this number would rise significantly in the future, said Johansson in October. In an interview with Swedish Radio News on Wednesday, Johansson said he still does not know how the vote in the Afghan parliament will affect this process.

"It is still too early to judge the importance of this vote. We are contacting the Afghan government as we speak to clarify this question. But even if we are not able to apply any bilateral agreements, we can still apply the agreement between the EU and Afghanistan, the one called "joint way forward". This agreement gives us the same possibilities to carry out returns, as the bilateral agreement would have done," said Johansson.

An overwhelming majority of Afghan MPs voted against the agreement. Radio Sweden's Persian/Dari department spoke to MP Abdul Qayyum Sajadi from the Ghazni province. He said there were mainly two reasons for the strong rejection of the agreement.

"There were many issues regarding the legal basis for the agreement and its relation to the situation Afghanistan is in now. After debating it, we agreed that we cannot adopt the agreement," he says.

For one, the MPs were against people being forcefully returned to Afghanistan, and wanted it to happen voluntarily instead. But also, they objected to Afghanistan being forced to receive people whose identity is unsure, says Abdul Qayyum Sajadi.

"Afghanistan's government has been obliged to arrange with passport and IDs to refugees who don't have any Ids, and cannot prove that they are Afghan citizens," he said.

In Sweden, Integration Minister Morgan Johansson, maintains the agreement is fully in line with international conventions.

"All countries are responsible for its own citizens. You have the right to apply for asylum in another country, and that country is then obliged to process that application, but if it is not successful, then you are obliged to leave the country, and the country of origin is obliged to accept its citizens back," said Morgan Johansson.

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