More Iraqis at risk of losing asylum appeals in Sweden

Most of the thousands of Iraqis waiting for asylum in Sweden will likely have their applications rejected because of improved security conditions in the country.

The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) had previously found that 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces had armed conflicts. But a new report indicates that armed conflicts persist in only five provinces, Sveriges Radio reports.

If an area is free from armed conflict, individual asylum seekers must present addition justification in order to be given refugee status.

Migration Board general counsel Mikael Ribbenvik couldn’t provide an estimate as to exactly how many Iraqis stand to lose their asylum claims because of the new findings.

“It’s hard to say, each case is reviewed individually,” he told Sveriges Radio.

The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, has asked western countries to refrain from deporting Iraqis back to their home country, however, because of continued adverse humanitarian conditions.

Ribbenvik added that the Migration Board agrees with UNCHR’s assessment, but pointed out that challenging humanitarian conditions are not sufficient grounds for granting asylum.

“They are two different things, and what we’re assessing now is the security situation; the humanitarian situation is something else entirely,” he said.