Kamera. Arkivfoto: P4 Västerbotten/Sveriges Radio.
File photo: P4 Västerbotten/Sveriges Radio.

Protest grows against Armenian family’s deportation

A photographer who refused to take passport photos of a toddler is the latest person to join a protest against the Swedish Migration Board’s decision to deny the girl and her family asylum.

The photographer was asked to take pictures of the family’s youngest member, a two-year-old girl, but refused. He thereby joined several politicians, church leaders and NGOs in objecting to the Migration Board’s decision.

The passport photos were to be used in the deportation process, local media reported.

“I don’t want to play a part in her deportation,” the photographer, Martin Karlsson, told local newspaper Piteå-tidningen. “If the Migration Board has made its mind up, then they can take the picture themselves,” Karlsson added.

The girl, who will turn three in March, was born in Sweden to Armenian parents who are suffering from psychological problems and are not well enough to care for her or her two year older brother. The parents and the older child came to Sweden in 2010.

The girl has been living with a foster family  outside Piteå in northern Sweden since she was seven days old. Her brother lives with a foster family in the town of Skellefteå. In Armenia, the two children reportedly risk being placed in orphanages since the parents are unwell. The mother receives psychiatric care in Sweden, having been apathetic for several years.

The Migration Board’s decision to deport the family came just before Easter after their asylum application was denied for the third time. The Board said there is not enough evidence to support the family’s story. The mother claims she and her son were assaulted and threatened in Armenia, while the father claims he was tortured by security services.

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