Activists protest against deportation of 50 people to Afghanistan




Roughly 50 people are reportedly scheduled to leave on a flight at 9.40 pm heading to the Afghan capital of Kabul.


The goal of the protest is to show support to the Afghans whose applications for asylum have been rejected, and to draw attention to the deportations in Sweden.


“We want them to feel like they’re not alone,” said Emrika Larsson, speaking to the TT newswire. “With a peaceful demonstration, we want to influence decision-makers. We’re using our right to demonstrate to influence power.”


Police carry out deportations when an application for asylum has been rejected and the person does not leave the country of their own accord. A police spokesperson said she could not confirm or comment on any of the information about the reported plans. 


The spokesperson from the Ung i Sverige network which campaigns against deportations of young refugees, said: “I was just there and met them, it’s both unaccompanied minors and families with children. Over the last few weeks, many of the unaccompanied minors awaiting deportation have tried to contact their families, but haven’t been able to and don’t even know if they’re alive.”


A lawyer for the umbrella group Flyktinggruppernas riksråd (Swedish Network of Refugee Support Groups), Emma Persson, was also critical towards Monday night’s deportation.


“One of [the Afghans] has epilepsy that requires daily care, another has a partner and a child in Sweden. Many of the deportation decisions are build on mistaken age assessments made using a non-scientific method. I also don’t think they’re doing a correct assessment of the safety situation in the country,” she said. 

Activists have been campaigning against the Swedish Migration Agency’s continued deportations of Afghan asylum seekers for over a year, including previous protests at the country’s airports and, in one case, a protester boarding a plane and live-streaming her refusal to disembark until an Afghan citizen was also allowed off.


The Swedish Foreign Office’s official travel advice to residents is to avoid all travel to Afghanistan “due to the security situation”, but the Migration Agency maintains that parts of the country, including its capital Kabul, are safe enough for asylum seekers to be returned there.


A press spokesperson for the Migration Agency stressed that the cases of each of the people with deportation orders had been individually assessed by both the agency and the Migration Court. 


Niclas Ericsson, a communications adviser at the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan based in Kabul, said that the country’s security situation was “very strained”.


“The conflict between the government and the armed opposition groups has intensified since 2016. There are no clear signs that the situation is getting better,” he said.


 





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