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Human rights group: Sweden is preventing family reunification

Published torsdag 18 maj kl 09.13
Amnesty lawyer: We can't see any other explanation.
(4:45 min)
Madelaine Seidlitz in front of an Amnesty International sign.
Seidlitz believes that these bureaucratic hurdles are no accident. Credit: Leif R Jansson / TT

Amnesty International has accused Sweden of using bureaucratic hurdles to stop Syrians who have been granted asylum from exercising the right to bring their relatives to the country.

Madelaine Seidlitz , a lawyer for the human rights group, suspects it was no accident that families of Syrians with residency in Sweden are being asked to travel as far as Sudan for a compulsory interview for family reunification. Wait times to schedule an interview can be as long as two years.

"We see this as a way of Sweden trying to reduce the number of persons who come to Sweden on family reunification grounds," said Seidlitz. "We can't see any other explanation and no other explanation is given to us."

In January, Sweden made its embassy in Sudan the seventh country where interviews can be conducted, responding to complaints that Syrians did not have visa-free access to the other six countries and were seldom granted visas.

Seidlitz called on Sweden's Foreign Ministry to offer interviews at its embassy in Lebanon instead, a country that Syrians can more easily travel to.

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