Casablanca, Morocco. Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar / AP
Casablanca, Morocco. Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar / AP Credit: Abdeljalil Bounhar

Sweden may pay to repatriate Moroccan youths

"Swedish society was poorly prepared for this group"
1:48 min

The government is prepared to offer financial support to Morocco so it can receive into its care Moroccan minors who are in Sweden without chance for asylum.

Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman told Swedish Radio that the money would help support the children's return.

"I'm not averse to overseeing and offering support to orphanages or care for those children and young people returning to Morocco," said Ygeman.

Asked if that money would be a way to coax Morocco into accepting the kids back, Ygeman answered, "Yes. And above all else it's a way to make sure we don't leave these kids adrift when they return. To make sure they get an orderly reception."

In the effort to repatriate Moroccan minors currently in Sweden, Ygeman said the countries agreed to establish a committee to discuss how young people could be returned. That committee, Ygeman said, would discuss the matter of financial support from Sweden in addition to logistical matters and social concerns regarding the return of the Moroccan minors.

Ygeman said it was too early to say how much money could be involved or what assurances would be demanded for the children's care.

"We'll meet in this committee, and then we will discuss all the issues. But we cannot deport children who have no parents unless there's someone to receive them in the country they're sent to," said Ygeman.

The Ministry of Justice estimates that there are around 800 unaccompanied youths from Morocco and other North African countries, primarily in Stockholm and Gothenburg. So that they are not wandering the streets, Ygeman said that room must be made for them in certain youth accomodations where they would be kept from running away.

"Residences tailored to the group, so that they can get the support and help they need. But also to keep them under lock and key at the location so that they do not disappear and end up on the street and present a danger to themselves and others," said Ygeman.

Sweden does not currently have that accomodation, said Ygeman, because the group presented new challenges to the welfare state.

"I think Swedish society was poorly prepared for this group. The Swedish healthcare and support apparatus has been oriented towards groups of Swedish youths with family and relations here," said Ygeman.

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