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Sweden Offers a Home to All Syrian Refugees

Posted by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:13 AM
  • 5 Replies

In Surprisingly Bold Move, Sweden Offers a Home to All Syrian Refugees

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In Surprisingly Bold Move, Sweden Offers a Home to All Syrian Refugees 
© AP

Sweden has just offered a glimpse of light in a somberly dark tunnel for the 2 million Syrian refugees displaced by violence and war. The Swedish government announced on September 3 that it would be granting permanent residency to any Syrian refugee seeking asylum that's already fled to Sweden.

This makes the Scandinavian nation the first and only country in the EU to have this kind of open-door policy for Syrians dealing with one of the worst sectarian bloodshed in modern history.

According to Annie Hoernblad, the spokesperson for the Migration Agency in Sweden, "The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future."

Sweden has already granted permanent residency to half of refugees in the past year while the remaining half received three-year residency permits. This new international agreement means that approximately 8,000 Syrians who had previously received temporary residency permits will now be offered full and permanent residency. All refugees will also be granted the right to bring their families along with them. Although this new decision will only directly affect refugees who've already fled to Sweden, DW reports that newcomers will only also "benefit from the change in policy."

Although many weren't expecting this decision, it's not surprising to anyone who knows anything about Sweden. As Sven Hultberg Carlsson, a Swedish freelance journalist based in New York told PolicyMic, "We have a history of opening our borders during conflicts." Sweden's role in the Iraq war alone is astonishing. "There's a staggering figure showing that a small town in Sweden called Södertälje has accepted more refugees from Iraq than the U.S. and Canada put together." 

This time around looks no different, as 14,700 refugees have entered Sweden since 2012, making it the country accepting the largest amount of asylum seekers (along with Germany). 

Although Sweden's new policy is being hailed by humanitarian and immigrations groups, other countries have been stepping up as well. According to DW, Austria has accepted 200 refugees and Germany has committed to welcome 5,000 displaced Syrians.

Sweden's international agreement is attracting a mixed bag of reactions with some warning that being the first country to open its borders in the EU could mean an influx of refugees that the country can't handle. Others are celebrating Sweden's remarkable longstanding leadership in providing safety for families displaced by war.

Barbara Lochbihler, Green Party representative and a member of the EU parliament's foreign affairs committee says that providing refugees with more than just financial support is not enough. "When a military strike is being discussed, governments have to support Syrians. In light of the tragedy of the century, you can't just hope and feel sorry. You have to help concretely," she told DW.

by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:13 AM
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by Platinum Member on Sep. 13, 2013 at 3:14 AM

Just another reason to love Sweden.

by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 5:35 AM
1 mom liked this

Good for them. 

Alloy of my Syrian friends and aquaitences have brought their families here over the last year. My one friend who was divorced and his ex wife and kids were back in Syria he remarried her to bring them back. All the mosque are also asking people to sponsor a family to bring them over but it's $1500.00 a person so a whole family can get real expensive and that's just to get them here.

Sooner or later the UsA will start bringing them over on refugee status too just like they started doing with the Iraqis starting back in the early 70's.

Allot of my family is here because they were brought here in 73 from Iraq through refugee status. My husband was brought here from a refigee camp in camp in Saudi that was holding Iraqis back in 92 and just last year or the year before they brought hundreds of Chaldeans over from Iraq as refugees.

It would be good if each free country free of violence would bring so many over and get as many as they can out. A single counrty can only bring so many over especially with the econemy because for the first year they get housing, food stamps, a monthly check, and medical until they can find employment and get of their feet.

And Arabs are not lazy they will work 12 to 16 hour shifts 7 days a week for minimum wage and never complain. They don't like to stay on the assistence any longer than they have to. They have to much pride to free load if they don't have to. Before you know it they have saved enough money (because they are cheap) to open their own businesses. My family came here dirt poor after spending their life savings and now they are quite wealthy and between them all they have just about every kind of business you can think of. distribution whare houses. L.A. Insurance companies, liquor stores, electrolsis clinics, smoke shops, cell phone stores, gas stations, and my neice has her own cosmetic line and they started from nothing.

Sorry my spell check is not working so don't mind my bad spelling.

by Gina on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM
I'm so glad that someone is offering them some hope.
by Amanda on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM
I think that is wonderful. :)
by on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:48 PM

i really hope thatm any other countries (our own included ) follow in their footsteps! go sweden :D

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