Sweden grants blanket asylum to Syrian refugees

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

Afp September 03, 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.


Abdul Halid | 7 years ago | Reply

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 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.

Nebras | 7 years ago | Reply

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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