In the Diocese of Lund, local priests and deacons are meeting an increasing number of refugees and migrants who have had their applications for asylum rejected. It is at their request that the diocese is now investing SEK 400,000 to provide legal advice to asylum seekers.
"Our priests and deacons are very competent, but they're not lawyers," says Eva-Lotta Grantén, development manager at the Diocese of Lund. "The deacons are being asked these complicated legal questions that are affecting people's lives. So you want to give them advice that's as correct as possible," she says.
The diocese is now teaming up with the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre for the initiative. Lawyers from the centre will provide refugees with legal advice, but also help those working for the diocese to improve their knowledge about asylum issues on a local level.
The Swedish Refugee Advice Centre was founded in 1991 and is run jointly by Amnesty, Save the Children, Caritas and the Swedish Church, among others.
Lund is not alone in its initiative. Similar projects are run by the Swedish church in Stockholm, Lindköping, Skara, Luleå and Gothenburg.