”We are really happy, of course, that we can offer 1,900 places again this year,” said Christina Werner, the CEO of the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to TT news agency.
Each year, the Riksdag allocates funding allowing the agency to bring between 1,700 and 1,900 refugees to Sweden under the UN’s quota programme.
Just like the previous two years, the agency will focus mainly on the areas of conflict on the Horn of Africa – but also people who are escaping unrest in north Africa.
The majority are Somalis fleeing to Kenya and Djibouti, but also Eritrean and Ethiopian citizens who are now in Sudan.
Sweden has cooperated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1950 regarding refugee quotas.
This year Sweden allocated 250 places for people who are forced to flee from fast emerging conflicts.
This is a resource that will only be used when necessary, and has come about since the UNHCR increased the need for quick-relief efforts.
350 places were set aside for other emergency measures.
Werner pointed out that Sweden is the biggest recipient of refugees in Europe, and that the refugees are often forced to live for long times under appalling physical conditions and mentally desperate circumstances.
“It is people who have been in refugee camps for more or less long periods of time and who don’t have the chance to get out in any other way,” she said.
In terms of the novelty of the 250 places reserved for those affected by so called ‘flare-up’ conflicts, Werner points out that it allows Sweden flexibility in the areas where the refugees come from.
“We won’t need to be locked to specific locations, but we can act in the areas where UNHCR say are in need of the most help,” she said.