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Sweden inks agreement to send home failed Afghan asylum seekers

Updated torsdag 6 oktober 2016 kl 16.50
Published torsdag 6 oktober 2016 kl 16.07
Sweden reached a deal with Afghanistan that would send failed Afghan asylum seekers back home.
Sweden reached a deal with Afghanistan that would send failed Afghan asylum seekers back home. Credit: Susanne Lindholm/TT, Jon Olav Nesvold/TT, Noorullah Shirzada/TT.

Sweden signed an agreement with the Afghan government on Wednesday allowing it to repatriate failed asylum seekers back to the central Asian nation.

The agreement was finalized last week after negotiations in Kabul and was signed in Brussels on Wednesday during an international aid conference for Afghanistan. Migration Morgan Johansson called it a success for Sweden.

The bilateral repatriation agreement means Afghanistan is obliged to receive its citizens even if the return is done under duress. Similar deals have been signed with Finland and the EU.

Currently, 36,000 Afghans are waiting for a decision on a residence permit in Sweden. So far this year, 700 Afghans have been sent back after being denied a residency permit in Sweden. News agency TT reports most of those have been voluntary, but in some cases the individual is forced back home.

Some rights groups are critical of the agreement, saying it risks sending people back into an increasingly unstable and unsafe country. 

"The developments in Afghanistan are very worrying. It's important that Swedish politicians understand what the situation is like for children there, both when deciding on what support Afghanistan should receive from Sweden, and if Sweden can reject asylum seekers back to the country," Elisabeth Dahlin, secretary general of the Swedish charity Save The Children, said on Monday.

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