Social Democrats leader Mona Sahlin

Sahlin "Ashamed" Over Sick Refugee Kids

Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin says she's ashamed at the way her former government treated the so-called "apathetic children".

Sahlin was a minister around 2005, when, according to a new book, the Social Democratic government tried to discredit the parents of the children, claiming the children's illness was fake.

Speaking to Swedish Radio on Saturday, current party leader Sahlin said:

"I can feel a great sense of shame at how our movement reacted. It's not a part of Swedish refugee policy I'm proud of. We have to learn from what happened then, and make sure it doesn't happen again. We can't claim to put the interests of the child first and then deal with the issue the way we did back then. That we let ourselves get into a discussion as to whether the children were manipulated and poisoned by their parents."

The "apathetic children" were refugees suffering from pervasive refusal syndrome, which left some 100 children distant and bed-ridden in an almost vegetative state. Ministers at the time questioned whether the symptoms were real, or just a way for the families to stay in Sweden.

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