Sweden to deport Afghans despite Amnesty demand
As many as 17 young Afghans who have had their asylum claims rejected are set to be deported by plane to Kabul on Tuesday evening, despite a call from Amnesty International for a moratorium on returns to the country.
A plane chartered by the Swedish Migration Agency was on Tuesday morning at Gothenburg's Landvetter airport, waiting for the rejected asylum seekers scheduled to be deported. This is the third charter plane to Afghanistan this year, and the first since May.
Mustafa Gholami, 19, who Swedish Radio met at an asylum detention centre in Kållered, on the outskirts of Gothenburg, has learnt Swedish, attended school and got a girlfriend since arriving in Sweden in 2013, when he was 15 years old.
"I don't know if I'll still be alive in a few weeks' time," he said.
The Swedish Border Police do not comment on future operations, but a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations said Swedish authorities had provided a list of 17 people set to arrive in Kabul on Wednesday morning.
On Thursday, the human rights group Amnesty International called for countries in Europe to stop returning rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan, saying they face torture, kidnap, and possible death in the ongoing conflict.
"Amnesty International is calling on all European countries to implement a moratorium on returns to Afghanistan until they can take place in safety and dignity," it wrote.
The organisation argues that the returns constitute "refoulement", a principle of international law which forbids the return of refugees to a country where they face persecution.
The Swedish Migration Agency, however, rejected the group's judgement.
"The Migration Agency judges that the security situation in Afghanistan is serious but that it varies between different provinces," the agency said in a written statement to Swedish Radio.
"The conflict has however not reached a level which according to law and common practice necessitates that everyone from a certain land should be allowed to stay," the statement continued.