Anna-Karin Johansson, Secretary General of the Swedish Afghanistan Committee, Photo: Gilda Hamidi-Nia/Sveriges Radio.
Anna-Karin Johansson, Secretary General of the Swedish Afghanistan Committee, Photo: Gilda Hamidi-Nia/Sveriges Radio.

Fewer unaccompanied children coming as refugees

"Many are still leaving, but moving on has gotten difficult."
1:40 min

The number of unaccompanied children coming as refugees to Sweden has dropped dramatically, especially those from Afghanistan. Swedish Radio News says tougher border checks and the demand for identification are among the main reasons.

Merjem Masio, an analyst at the Swedish Migration Agency, says the biggest drop was between January and February:

“In January some 400 unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan applied for asylum, in February just 60,” she tells Swedish Radio News. She says many young Afghans are affected by the new rules, since they usually don’t have identification documents.

“Many are still leaving Afghanistan,” she says. “But moving on has gotten more difficult or has come to a stop. You can’t get from Greece to Macedonia.”

During the first half of March only 12 unaccompanied children or young people from Afghanistan arrived in Sweden, compared to 70 during the same period last year.

Anna-Karin Johansson, the Secretary General of the Swedish Afghanistan Committee, says she is worried that many young people are getting caught in a sort of limbo in the Greek islands:

“Those children are naturally very vulnerable there,” she tells Swedish Radio News. “They often have few resources and they are alone. Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries, with violence going back more than 35 years. And we see greater insecurity and a dramatically large drop in a belief in the future among the people there during the past year,” she says.

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