Country report - Immigration Detention in Sweden: Increasing Restrictions and Deportations, Growing Civil Society Resistance (July 2018)

from Global Detention Project
Published on 26 Jul 2018 View Original


Traditionally, Sweden has been lauded for having more humane detention practices than its Scandinavian neighbours, including Norway and Denmark. Yet, a sharp increase in the number of asylum applications in 2015 (more than 160,000) triggered a shift in both policy and public discourse. In January 2016, the Swedish government introduced new border controls, boosted police forces, and revealed plans to deport up to 80,000 non-citizens who do not qualify for refugee status.

The country also introduced new regulations to reduce the attractiveness of Sweden as a destination country.2 In 2016, for example, Sweden adopted a law providing temporary limitations on residence permits (2016:752) (Lag om tillfälliga begränsningar av möjligheten att få uppehållstillstånd i Sverige) while restricting the right to family reunification.

This restrictive policy environment has proved divisive. While anti-immigrant political parties have gained increasing support, many civil society groups have fervently opposed the harsh treatment of migrants and asylum seekers. The global notoriety garnered by a viral video showing a Swedish student’s successful on-flight protest in July 2018 to keep an Afghani man from being deported to Afghanistan helped draw attention to the polarised environment in Sweden around migration issues, while also