Refugee crisis report presented

Refugee crisis report presented

In 2015, almost 163,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden.  80,000 of them arrived in October and November, putting a huge strain on the government authorities and services.  The majority of asylum applications were submitted in Skåne County (54,000 applications), followed by Stockholm County (46,000) and Västra Götaland County (34,000).

On 9 March, a new government report (SOU 2017:12) on Sweden’s handling of the 2015 refugee crisis was presented to the Minister for Home Affairs, Anders Ygeman (S).  On the whole, the report commended the way that Sweden dealt with the refugee crisis and especially  highlighted the important role played by volunteers and civil society groups where civil society groups such as Kontrapunkt which is a Malmö-based grass-roots activist group, Refugees Welcome, churches, and mosques stepped in.” Civil society went to train stations and made a huge effort together with the police. One lesson from the autumn is that civil society and volunteers are quick-footed and important assets,” Gudrun Antemar, the investigator who oversaw the report, said at the press conference.  The report found that the government had good reasons to introduce the temporary border controls, without saying whether they should be kept in place.

The report criticised the government for being unclear about what was expected from authorities such as the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the Migration Agency. In particular, the report highlighted problems in the reception of unaccompanied minors, many of whom faced long waits before they could be registered.  One effect of this was that an unknown number of refugee children were in the country and were placed in homes that had not been properly investigated. 

The full report is available here.

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Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having studied and worked in the field for more than 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012. In addition to working for foreign missions, she has worked in sectors such as NGOs and non-profit organisations (e.g. the Clinton Foundation and the International Red Cross), and television.