Sweden grants blanket asylum to Syrian refugees

By AFP
Published: September 3, 2013

File photo of Syrian refugees. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

SWEDEN: Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.

“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokesperson for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.

“The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.”

The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.

Until now, Sweden could only house refugees temporarily for three years, after each individual case was evaluated by the state.

The agency expects that the “vast majority of Syrian nationals who today have provisional status will apply for permanent status,” said Hoernblad.

Those granted permanent status will also be allowed to bring their families to Sweden.

The move came as the United Nations said the number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria had passed two million, which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, called “the great tragedy of this century”.

Since 2012, Sweden has taken in some 14,700 asylum seekers from Syria.

Swedish Migration Minister Tobias Billstroem called on other countries to recognise their duty to help the Syrian people.

“No other conflict on earth today is as terrible as the long and bloody conflict in Syria. That should make many politicians, inside and outside the EU, think about our responsibilities,” he told the Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet.

In 2012, Sweden received a total of 44,000 asylum requests, a 48-percent increase and the highest number since 1992, at the time of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

The figure included around 8,000 requests from Syrians.

Reader Comments (38)

  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 3, 2013 - 11:01PM

    Great peoples of sweden may god bless u.

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  • M. Emad
    Sep 3, 2013 - 11:48PM

    This blanket asylum granting will further instabilize Sweden and Swedish society.

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  • Observer
    Sep 3, 2013 - 11:53PM

    Why are not the fellow Muslim countries offering asylum to their Muslim brothers from Syria?

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  • xyz
    Sep 4, 2013 - 2:32AM

    Muslim countries will always cry foul on european union but will never allow muslim victims such assylum oh infact saudi is appreciating us attack on syria

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  • Californian Desi
    Sep 4, 2013 - 4:28AM

    Sweden is doomed.

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  • Insaan
    Sep 4, 2013 - 5:34AM

    “All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokesperson for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.

    That way Sweden can have its own Syria in another 50 years. In few years these people will be demanding “Sharia” in Sweden. These people should have been offered Asylum by Muslim countries.

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  • Joey
    Sep 4, 2013 - 9:00AM

    @xyz:
    Turkey is working on issuing work permits to Syrian refugees. Although not permanent residency, it is still a significant step, when you consider there are over 400,000+ Syrian refugees in Turkey. This compared to about 15,000 asylum grants being issued is a far more direct impact on Turkey. It’s great what Sweden is doing and I glad it was the first nation to do so, but to make it sound like Muslim countries aren’t doing their part isn’t just. Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and taking on a huge responsibility when it comes to the refugees.

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  • GhostRider
    Sep 4, 2013 - 9:04AM

    Sweden is an example of how civilized soceities behave…nations running on petro dollars need to learn some manners and civilization from Sweden

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  • Jj
    Sep 4, 2013 - 10:13AM

    I’m an American. Can I apply?

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  • beancrock
    Sep 4, 2013 - 10:50AM

    People should look at Burma if they think Syria refugees have it so bad.

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  • Daniel
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:11AM

    Sigh.. why… I just don’t see why they would do something like this. We have enough refugees already. Worst part is that when they come here they don’t adapt, they live their old life in our society, unwilling to learn our customs and language. They don’t teach their kids Swedish, they teach them their own language.

    Thumbs down.

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  • Huss D
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:25AM

    Taking some weight off our shoulders (Jordan), but I think the last thing Sweden needs is more Muslims.

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  • Korrina
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:31AM

    This is wonderful. The Swedish people should be proud. If only Australia could take a page from your book. Those who say that Syria’s Islamic neighbours are doing nothing should do some research, many neighbouring countries are also accepting refugees. And those who say that Sweden will be in the same situation as Syria because of this are idiots. Do you really think the Syrian people asked for this?

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  • Sean Drill
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:46AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Ironically, Sweden is one of the most Atheistic countries in the world. But I am sure they will appreciate the sentiment :)

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  • Lee Comp
    Sep 4, 2013 - 3:38PM

    This is an AWFUL decision by Swedish politicians. I wonder how many Swedish people would approve such a disastrous decision. Shame shame shame

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  • Fred
    Sep 4, 2013 - 3:38PM

    I’ve been to Syria. They’re Muslim in the same way the Spanish are Catholic, ie. mostly by tradition. They’ll make a fine addition to the Swedish population, as long as they’re not allowed to all move to the same place (that’s how ghettos are made).

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  • mlinko
    Sep 4, 2013 - 4:24PM

    This is the dumbest move I ever saw.

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  • Andy
    Sep 4, 2013 - 4:29PM

    Sweden – congratulations. You have proven to eradicate your heritage by doing such.
    Best regards, Funland.

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  • Peter
    Sep 4, 2013 - 5:04PM

    This was the last draw. Im fleeing this country

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  • Tr
    Sep 4, 2013 - 5:06PM

    Much respect to Sweden. This is what world leaders such as the US and UK should be doing. Sure, it’ll be tough to accommodate so many people, but the fact that Sweden is willing to face that problem in order to save lives says a lot about its principles.

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  • Made in Sweden
    Sep 4, 2013 - 6:37PM

    @Daniel:
    That’s a common and rather stupid generalization. Most immigrants I’ve met definitely try to learn the language, it wouldn’t make sense for them not to if they’re going to live here, but it is a rather difficult language to learn. As for the customs, why is that even relevant? If you moved to a Muslim country, would you start observing Ramadan? We shouldn’t expect them to become like us, we should just expect them to respect our traditions, just like we should respect theirs.

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  • Joey
    Sep 4, 2013 - 9:36PM

    @Insaan:

    Please research before you make a statement like that, compared to 15 thousand Syria refugees(non combatants, not affiliated with extremists) the almost 2 million that Muslim countries have accepted has been a huge strain on their economies and is commendable, all in all just good news, the extremists won’t move to Syria, a western state they hate

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  • Johan
    Sep 4, 2013 - 10:41PM

    Don’t let the racist comments fool you. Sweds in general support the decision to welcome syrian refugees to our country! It’s just a loud rightwing minority who is afraid of It’s own shadow.

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  • Singh
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:23PM

    Oh my my, I did not know that so many Swedish people read ET. Wow.

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  • Observer
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:53PM

    Sweden has one of the most generous welfare policies in the West. Even before the Syria thing, a whole lot of people from Muslim countries, especially from Pakistan, have immigrated legally and illegally to Sweden. Already, there has been a lot of social unrest and untoward communal clashes in Sweden.

    Sweden is going to be the next Greece that is going to go broke. You can’t have a policy of “full pay without work” welfare policy that is sustainable in the long run.

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  • Rahaf
    Sep 5, 2013 - 12:32AM

    I am from Syria. This is the most generous thing any ppl might do ever. Not like the Americans who jst seek wars!
    I am considering leaving the country if america invaded us . Why the great usa won’t do the same since they r horribly feeling bad about us ???????????

    We wish Sweden long and happy days.

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  • Justin
    Sep 5, 2013 - 1:13AM

    This will not bold well for Sweden in the future. I know this might be inhumane, but I would suggest Sweden stop now while they are ahead, this will cause more damage in the future financially and socially, just my two cents.

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  • Observer
    Sep 5, 2013 - 2:28AM

    @Joey:

    “compared to 15 thousand Syria refugees(non combatants, not affiliated with extremists) the almost 2 million that Muslim countries have accepted has been a huge strain on their economies and is commendable,”

    You are comparing apples with bitter melon. Any refugees the Muslim countries “accept” are those who cross over the border. The host Muslim countries put them in a tent refugee camp and make them live in miserable conditions. They are not given citizenship or good welfare. After the conflict is over, they are forced to go back to their own countries.

    Has Pakistan accepted the half a million Behari Muslim Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh in squalid refugee camps for 42 years? How many Muslim countries have offered asylum to the Rohingya Muslims?

    Compare that with what Sweden and Western countries do. They offer citizenship, decent accommodation, free heathcare, free quality food, education and other expensive welfare benefits. In fact, the welfare benefits are so good, many asylum grantees don’t take any initiatives to stand on their own legs, financially burdening the host country in the process.

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  • hasan
    Sep 5, 2013 - 5:12AM

    @Korrina:
    Sorry? Australia is a predominantly Christian country that has warmly welcomed tens of thousands of Muslim refugees! How about Muslim countries opening the doors to such refugees? Then again Muslim refugees DON’T want refuge in a Muslim country do they!!!

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  • Sarah
    Sep 5, 2013 - 5:13AM

    Turkey is doing this out of political motivation. The AKP is looking to fast-track Syrian refugees in exchange for votes. FACT. They are excluding Syrian Kurds from this process and continue to violate basic human rights for the 20 million Kurds currently living in Turkey. I don’t think praising them does anyone any good. They are exploiting these people it’s sickening and sad. @Joey:

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  • Pakistani Ostrich
    Sep 5, 2013 - 5:33AM

    After hearing of Sweden granting asylum to Syrians, I and most of my countrymen wish they were syrians!

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  • Insaan
    Sep 5, 2013 - 6:57AM

    @Jj: Go to Pakistan. I am sure you will be able to get a Syrian passport there.Recommend

  • Omer
    Sep 5, 2013 - 9:27PM

    @Pakistani Ostrich: LOL..!!

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  • Will
    Sep 6, 2013 - 5:47PM

    Sweden has the second highest number of rapes in the world, after South Africa. Guess who are committing such crimes? Muslim immigrants make up 5% of Swedish population but are responsible for 77.6% of rapes.

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  • Sep 12, 2013 - 1:54PM

    Great peoples of sweden may god bless u. & it possible to go for adaptaton. from these countries like turkey,lebenon,sweden etc. plz advice for u r local.Recommend

  • sg
    Sep 13, 2013 - 3:53AM

    That should make many politicians, inside and outside the EU, think about our responsibilities”

    Who do you work for ? Your responsibilities are to your own country. Sweden already has the highest number of rapes per capita in the western world, I guess you want more.Recommend

  • Nebras
    Sep 24, 2013 - 2:29AM

    That’s a responsible and generous approach. In general you all should know Syria itself received several hundred thousands of Christian Armenians fleeing violence about 100 years ago, Besides many refugee waves from neighbor countries later all of them became citizens.
    Long long live Sweden !

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  • Abdul Halid
    Oct 26, 2013 - 2:44PM

    It’s a bit of a myth that all asylum seekers are granted asylum in Sweden. In 2012 43,887 refugees were successfully granted asylum in Sweden, a huge increase from the year before (40% according to http://www.seekasylumsweden.info – a website which allows asylum seekers to apply for an assessment before traveling to Sweden) but a huge number of people are not granted asylum because they don’t meet the criteria strict. There needs to be well founded reasons that you can prove to fear persecution due to race, nationality, gender, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation or affiliation to a particular social group. So a lot of people still get turned away because they aren’t able to meet this criteria.

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