Government Rejects Criticism of Kosovo Deportations

Sweden’s migration minister Tobias Billström has rejected international criticism of the country’s decision to repatriate Roma refugees to Kosovo.

Following a visit to northern Kosovo last week, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, called for a total halt to the deportations due to inhumane conditions in refugee camps.

However Billström told Swedish Radio news on Thursday that despite the difficult conditions faced by Roma refugees in Eastern Europe, Swedish law did not allow him to interfere with decisions made by the migration ministry, which rule on deportations on a case by case basis.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Sweden repatriates the largest number of refugees to Kosovo, including children from the Roma minority, despite longstanding concerns over human rights violations in the country.